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Using online fundraising to build capacity

When it comes to your online fundraising strategy, you likely dedicate most of your efforts toward soliciting one-time donations. These are, after all, among the easiest of donation type to acquire.
In this article we show you how shifting to online fundraising builds the capacity you're looking for.
While there are certainly urgent mission needs that arise that require an unexpected and critical call-to-action sent to your donors, fundraising consistently "on the fly," or for one-time gifts, isn't a sustainable way to build capacity and lasting support for your cause. And, unfortunately, it can suggest to some donors that your organization doesn't know how to steward its resources well.
"I hear what you're saying and I definitely want to find better ways to fundraise....but what's the solution??"
Well, since you're already asking donors for donations, we recommend taking the same amount of effort and energy you're already investing and putting it into an ask that gets you a better ROI in the long run. It only takes a simple switch — start asking your donors to give a small monthly gift instead!
"That sounds great (and also scary)....so how do I start??"
We thought you'd never ask! 😃

Here's what you'll need:

A Goal 🏁

Goals should be specific, measurable, and achievable!

Ask yourself, how many monthly donors do you want to acquire by a specific time? Do you want, for example, 20 new donors in the next 60 days? Start with big goals and work your way back to smaller, tangible monthly or weekly goals.

The Basics 🔢

    1. Program Name
      Give your monthly giving program a fun name like "Hunger Heroes" or "Game Changers." People love to feel that they're a part of a special group or team. And they are! They're working with you to forward a common cause.

    2. Donation Amounts
      Decide if you want donors to give ANY amount, tiered amounts, or minimums. If you're just getting started, we recommend donors be encouraged to give ANY amount. You'd be surprised how many folks who don't even know you that well would sign up to give monthly if it was a small enough amount — like $5.

    3. Perks
      Decide what, if any, perks or benefits monthly donors might receive in return for donating. This could be "A free T-shirt for the first 10 monthly donors," or "You'll receive exclusive "behind the scenes" text message updates of how your gift is making a difference!"

A Compelling Call-to-Action 🎯

A compelling call to action will cut through the noise and inspire donors to give to your cause. When coming up with your call-to-action ask yourself what the money is going to be used for. What program or service will it contribute to and how can this impact be communicated to the potential donor? If you're having trouble figuring out how to talk to your donors check out our recent post on how to improve your copy.

Communication Channel(s) & Timeline 🎙️

We live in a digital world, right? I mean you're probably not reading this in a printed book and, if you are, please let us know.

We strongly recommend you communicate with your donors about giving opportunities through email and at least one social media platform, such as Facebook. 

Since a monthly ask often requires donors to give it a little more thought than a one-time "impulse" gift with no commitment, it's important to share frequently (at least once or twice a week) about your monthly giving program. As my high school history teacher used to say, "repetition is the cornerstone of education." She was right!

The Right Tool(s) 🛠️

After you've done the hard work of convincing your donors to support you in this more sustainable way, you need a practical tool that can keep up and do the heavy lifting for you! 💪

You want one that's easy to use for your donors, is mobile-friendly, defaults the giving option to monthly, automatically prompts one-time donors to become monthly donors without you having to even ask, and one that will help you thank your donors immediately without you having to lift a finger.

"Where oh where can I find such a magical tool?" you ask?

Ahem...Harness has you covered! 🙌

You may also like: Online Fundraising and Tools that help you get the job done

A Stewardship Plan 👫

Once donors commit to that monthly gift, we want to make sure they feel EXTRA seen. Show your appreciation them and shown the impact of their gift!

This is where Harness' customizable automatic text messages that instantly notify and thank your donor in a more personal, human way come in. They help communicate to a donor how their gift has truly made a difference — making them smile and inspiring them to stay connected & give again!

"Okay...I think I've got it! Can you show me how an organization has done this?"
"I'm excited! What if I need a few more helpful tips to get this off the ground?"
Look at you! Awesome! 😎

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