Online Fundraising Best Practices Guide

Posted on: May 10, 2021

Social media platforms, and this past year of social distancing, have changed the landscape of how we interact with each other.

Although, gratefully, the pandemic will be coming to an end, the way that nonprofits engage in fundraising is forever changed, and that is for the better.

While online fundraising had been a “thing” pre-pandemic, this past year has taught us that online fundraising for nonprofits is efficient, effective, and a mainstay in a nonprofits arsenal.

We have put together some best practices for nonprofit online fundraising that will help you to maximize your impact and help you champion your cause.

Don’t Go It Alone: Use A Professional Software Program

It is essential that the giving process be simple and straightforward. Potential donors can be dissuaded from giving if your platform is not uncomplicated and the method for giving is not easy. 

An online fundraising campaign can fail before it begins if you don’t have the right management software tools. The process has to provide donors with an on-the-spot option to contribute and provide them with an immediate donation receipt and thank you. 

Using a program like FundEasy | Total event management and peer-to-peer fundraising eliminates the hassle. It streamlines the process for both you and your donors with a professional and efficient operation.

Make Your Online Messages About Them, Not Your Organization

This might sound counterintuitive because you seek support for your cause, but you need to have a message that resonates personally with potential donors, making the cause about them. 

Whenever you can, focus on your supporters and advocates. Be sure to post stories and testimonials from your supporters, as this helps others to form a point of reference and make a connection to your cause.

Keep Your Email Fundraising List Current

There are those who think that email is a fast-disappearing application that is not worth pursuing. Nothing could be further from the truth. 

The number of email users worldwide continues to grow year after year. In the United States alone, over 52% of people were checking personal emails during work hours in 2019

Back in 2018, CNBC found that millennials are spending hours on their email every day — more than any other generation surveyed. That holds true today. The power of email, and its ability to connect with potential donors, should not be underestimated. 

Personalize your emails as much as possible and use the auto-populate feature provided by your email program. Your nonprofit website and event registration should feature an email opt-in, and regular emails about the impact of donations will keep your donors engaged and inspired.

As The Saying Goes, A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Vision trumps all other senses. Although we humans have five senses, almost 50% of our brains are involved in visual processing. We are really incredible at remembering pictures. And with the introduction of a color picture, a person’s willingness to read content will increase by 80%. 

Not only that, but an image paired with information is retained at a 65% higher rate than mere text. The picture that you include with your online fundraising campaign should be relevant to the cause and be high-quality. 

Try to stay away from photos that have a “shock” factor. They may be powerful, but the average person will respond and continue interacting when the image appeals to their heart.

Include a Compelling Reason “Why”

The average person who visits your website or gets a fundraising email will understand that it takes money to run any organization, nonprofit or otherwise. You need to help potential donors understand why they should donate to your nonprofit.

For example, this simple, straightforward appeal from Orbis gives you all you need to know:

Orbis International. Changing the way the world sees.

Why donate to Orbis International?

We are an international nonprofit that brings people together to fight avoidable blindness.

With our network of partners, we mentor, train, and inspire local teams to fight blindness in their communities.

We believe that no one should live a life of unnecessary blindness simply because of where they were born.

You can be part of the solution. Give to Orbis’s #SeeHerPotential Campaign. Let’s close the blindness gender gap because a brighter future for women is a brighter future for the planet!

You may never have heard of Orbis nonprofit before, but after reading the above message and seeing the picture of a child that has been helped because of donations, you now know all you need to know.

The message was clear and concise. They stated their mission, what they do to achieve it and how you can be part of the solution.

So don’t forget to give your potential donors a compelling and powerful reason “why.”

Offer A Transaction Fee Option To Your Online Fundraising

In the US: the most popular payment method in 2020 was to use a credit or debit card. Most people don’t think twice about using their cards for donations. 

It is simple and easy for the donor, but they are not always aware that it costs the nonprofit a transaction fee and eats into the donor’s donation every time a credit card is used. 

When your nonprofit donation forms allow the donor to cover the transaction fee, as the FundEasy platform does, it can be a significant boost for your nonprofit. 

Over half of donors choose to cover transaction fees, which can be a real saving for your nonprofit.

Final Thoughts

Nonprofits seek to change the world for the better. To do so, nonprofits themselves need to change with the times, and using best practices with your online fundraising is a great place to start.

Technology has provided the ability to be more efficient and given nonprofits an unparalleled opportunity to reach like-minded people.

Please feel free to contact us @MinistrySync on Instagram or Facebook or email us at, and let us know if you’d like to learn more about our event planning tools, FundEasy or AttendEasy.

Also, if you haven’t joined already, we have an exclusive Facebook Group just for our Ministry Sync customers! If you are a current customer and would like to join,go here to learn more and request to be added!

Crystal Hoag
Crystal Hoag

This article was inspired by our customers and written to encourage your fundraising efforts. Although we work with ministries and events daily, our team members are not Event Consultants. We encourage you to consult with your event consultant, executive team, and/or affiliate organization before making any major changes to your events. 

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