SHORT AND SMART - Digital lessons to take to heart

publication date: May 2, 2011

Digital fundraising specialist Claire Kerr of Artez Interactive offers these five takeaways from April's Nonprofit Technology Conference 2011 held in Toronto.

Relax your social media expectations

Just 0.4% of charities told a recent survey by Blackbaud and Common Knowledge that they were raising more than $100,000 on Facebook, the social network that has so far performed best at fundraising. Most organizations either didn't fundraise at all, or raised less than $1,000. While you may want to continue your social media efforts towards engaging supporters and motivating advocates, stop comparing yourself to the tiny number of outliers that are actually making Facebook fundraising work. It's not the norm.

Offer monthly giving to online donors

Another tech survey, this one by Network for Good, discovered that charities with a monthly giving option on their donation pages found 30% of their volume consisted of recurring gifts. This is digital fundraising that works!

Segment your data

Use your segmentation tactics for email communications as well as direct mail. You don't want to send a $500 donor to a landing page where the choices start at $25.

Send an email December 31st

In the US, the highest volume of online giving occurs during the last two days of the year. Leverage the immediacy of online giving by continuing to ask right up to New Year's Eve.

Use mobile channels carefully

It's a real struggle to raise significant funds from micro-gifts, the usual donation choice for SMS giving. Instead, use mobile-optimized websites and donation forms to raise larger gifts outside the usual text-to-donate channel. And start thinking about QR codes (scannable images that take a smartphone user to a website, dial a number or send a text message) and how you might use them.

Claire Kerr is digital philanthropy director at Artez Interactive. Read the full article on her blog at

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