How to Boost Online Donations with Any Holiday

Holidays have everybody in good spirits. And how could you not have heightened spirits when you have time off of work and you get to relax and spend time with family and friends? It’s the prime time to reach out to new donors, or even to reconnect with those who have donated in the past. Especially for online giving.

Since it’s on the horizon, we’ll use Memorial Day as an example. However, you can apply the same concept to any holiday. With a little creativity, you can think up ways to launch a fundraising campaign around any occasion. Here’s how.

Why Online Donations Are Great During Holidays

  • People have time off to devote to what they love (we’re talking about your organization here!)
  • There’s an increased mood for giving around holidays (most notably winter holidays of goodwill, but can also be increased giving during any holidays)
  • People are around their family and friends, catching up on new developments or interests. If you take the proper marketing techniques during the holidays, you could be on the forefront of their minds as they gab about what’s new in their lives. The holidays have easy sharing power.

So, how do you get started?

1. What’s the holiday’s purpose? Ask yourself, what’s the main reason for the holiday? Then, how can you tie your mission into whatever’s going on? Sometimes you may not be able to find a correlation between your organization and the meaning of the holiday, but you could still play off of traditions to connect.

Example: Memorial Day was created to remember those who have lost their lives serving in the armed forces. If your nonprofit works with Veterans or somehow ties into the military, this holiday was made for you.

Have a Memorial Day parade? Perfect. Join in and hand out stickers, magnets or pens that direct people to your organization’s website. If the site is designed correctly, they’ll be driven directly to a page that allows them to donate.

If you don’t have a correlation with the military or memorial day in any way, there are still ways to put your online giving into motion. Go to plan B. What else does Memorial Day signal? For many, it’s the unofficial start to summer and a time to enjoy outdoor barbecues or picnics. Voila, you’ve found an angle that any organization can use, and everyone can relate to.

2. And now for the fun and creative part of online giving. Create a campaign. It could be a simple picture and slogan, it could be a particular story that you want to highlight or anything few and far between. Get creative here, and make sure to tie in the theme.

Example: Since my organization doesn’t have a direct correlation with Memorial Day, I’m going to try to relate to the unofficial start of summer. Let’s say my organization is an animal shelter. We’re going to use pictures of our animals who need adopted with the words, “Grilling out this Memorial Day? Is something missing from your backyard barbecue? As summer kicks off, more pets than ever need shelter just like Buddy the dog. Read more of his story by visiting our website XXXXX.”

I know what you’re thinking. “But Lyndsey, you didn’t even ask for a donation!” True, but we did get their attention with a cute photo of Buddy the dog and asked them to check out our site to read more about him. Once again, it’s all about getting people to your website and seeing that donate button. Give them a reason to donate, don’t just ask.

3. Now, it’s time to spread the word. You need to plant the seed in order for online donations to grow. In other words, it’s time to create the buzz. You could do this through multiple channels.

Example: My campaign with Buddy the dog can be utilized in multiple online channels. I can send out the story and pictures in my newsletter to peak Memorial Day interest, I can make posts via social media, I could have volunteers help spread the word and much more. Do anything and everything to create a buzz around your campaign.

4. Remember that consistency is key. Simply throwing up a campaign at the last minute before the holiday won’t give your organization effective results. Like all good things, planning is key. Consider an editorial calendar to plan for each holiday and how you’ll get the word out.

Example: I will make sure to follow up with any questions, comments or posts about my campaign on social media. Also, I will make sure to do more than just send out one email campaign close to the date. I will plan ahead.

5. Make it private. No matter what time of year the online giving occurs, people want to know that their information is protected and secure. If constituents can’t find the proper authentication, they won’t donate.

Example: For the Memorial Day campaign, our organization will make sure to highlight the privacy policy when giving online donations. It will be front and center when people go to our site to click ‘Donate’ so that no donors will be turned away.

Also, I will make sure that my organization is verified through a site like Guidestar.

Now, you’re ready to get out there and start creating. Remember that each holiday brings an opportunity for your organization to increase online donations. 

nonprofit culture

Lyndsey Hrabik

Lyndsey is a former editor for Nonprofit Hub and Nonprofit Hub Magazine. She now serves as a guest contributor, writing on topics such as social media, technology, marketing and starting a nonprofit.

September 10, 2016

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