The key to growing your nonprofit’s online revenue doesn’t lie in new online fundraising tools. Because people give to people – not to the latest CRM, email marketing platform, or social media listening tool.
What I’m not going to do in this post is give you a list of all the slick donation page tools out there (although if you need a great one, you should check out Raise Donors).
I am going to give you 6 unexpected online fundraising tools that you can use to build a donor-focused and humanized online fundraising strategy – without forcing you to spend a ton of money.
These 6 tools will help you implement new strategies that connect with donors on a personal level even when they’re just browsing your website.
Here are the 6 unexpected online fundraising tools:
- Google Analytics (OK, this one might be expected. But it’s critical.)
Rather than just give you the name of a tool and a quick review, I’m going to give of how each one ties into an online fundraising growth strategy.
Let’s dive in.
(P.S. Huge shout-out to the NextAfter CTO for putting this list together. You can hear him break down each tool in a free webinar on 6 online fundraising hacks here. )
If you work in online fundraising, you should know about Google Analytics. It’s not designed specifically for nonprofits, but honestly, none of the platforms in this post are designed specifically to be “online fundraising tools.”
You likely already have Google Analytics set up on your website. But the big question is…do you have it set up correctly?
Actually, there are lots of important questions to ask here.
- Do you have it set up correctly?
- Are you tracking your campaigns using UTMs?
- Are you structuring your UTMs correctly?
- Are you utilizing goals to track conversions?
- Do you have ecommerce tracking turned on so you can track what fundraising efforts lead to real donations and revenue?
If the answer to any of these questions is “No,” you might want to dive into an online course we’re launching on Google Analytics for Nonprofits in April 2020. (More info to come soon).
If you think you’re all set with your Google Analytics set up, let’s talk about some ways you can actually use your analytics data to drive your strategy.
Using Google Analytics to find Unexpected Content
One tested and proven strategy to acquire new online donors is to use advertise an “email offer” that leads to a landing page, that leads to an instant donation page. You can dig into that strategy in depth in this free webinar called Cracking the Code of Facebook Fundraising.
Google Analytics can help you discover what content your website traffic (and potential donors) may be interested in.
For example, in Google Analytics, you can enable Google Search Console which will allow you to see what Google search queries are driving traffic to your website. Often times might find that there are topics driving traffic to you that you didn’t expect.
In this particular case, this organization (a Catholic missionary group) found that 10 of their top search keywords were related to “Novena” – a type of devotional prayer.
They took this unexpected discovery, created an eBook related to “novenas”, and plugged it right into their online donor acquisition strategy.
This newfound email offer generated new email signups, and also led to more people becoming new donors right away.
If you’re not already, start using Google Analytics for free here »
If you just go to rev.com and check out their services, you might not see how it relates to online fundraising right away. But the truth is that many major organizations are using Rev and tools like it to make their online fundraising efforts faster, more efficient, and more cost effective.
Rev provides transcription, captioning, and subtitles services. Just upload audio files like a podcast or link your latest video and they’ll have your file transcribes/captioned – often in less than 24 hours.
Now how in the world does this relate to online fundraising? I’m glad you asked.
Using Rev to streamline the creation of new content
One of the biggest bottlenecks in an online fundraising program is having the time and bandwidth to create new content like blogs, articles, eBooks, etc.
But good quality content is critical to growing and cultivating new and long-term donor relationships. Content is the primary way that we can keep donors in the loop about what type of impact they’re making through their support.
Here are 3 ways you can use Rev to streamline your content creation…
Turn an existing podcast into a blog post. If you have podcasts, radio broadcast, or even recorded meetings where you’re talking about your organizations impact – you can turn these into great blog content with ease.
Upload your audio recording to Rev, get a transcription back, and make a few edits. This will save you tons of writing time and give you a new piece of cultivating content to share with your donors.
Write the raw copy for an eBook by transcribing a presentation.
eBooks are one of the best tools that fundraisers have to acquire new emails that lead to new donors. They help potential donors learn more about your organizations, experience your impact, and they require an email to download.
But the hardest part of getting an eBook created is writing the content. On the other hand, you can fairly easily whip together a presentation – like you might for a board member or major donor – and record yourself presenting on a topic related to your organization.
Rev will help you transcribe your audio, and within 24 hours, you have all the copy you need to put your next email acquisition offer together.
Have you seen any of our nonprofit research studies? Every single one of them has used Rev to get the basis for the copy.
Get your videos “social media ready” by adding captions.
“As much as 85 percent of video views happen with the sound off.” – Digiday
Most people are consuming video-based content on social media – like Facebook, Instagram, etc. – with the sound off. That makes captioning all the more important and critical to delivering your message effectively.
Here’s a screenshot from a video I made for an ad just a little bit ago promoting a webinar. Knowing most people watch video with the sound off, I added some captions to make sure people could read what I was saying.
Again, Rev makes this super easy so you can make all your videos mobile friendly and engaging for social media viewers.
Check out how Rev can help you start creating more new content here »
Rev will help you turn existing broadcasts, presentations, podcasts, etc. into usable copy. But if you need an editor or a designer to help bring your content to life, Fiverr has got your back.
While there are lots of benefits to insourcing editors and designers, most editing and design work for online fundraising is quick and simple jobs that can be outsourced to anyone with basic editing experience or proficiency in photoshop.
Fiverr is a go-to online fundraising tool for us at NextAfter (and a bunch of other nonprofit fundraisers) for projects like:
- Laying out copy for an eBook
- Proofreading your blog posts and articles
- Whipping up some social media graphics to promote a post
- Designing ad creative for your latest email acquisition offer
Honestly, you can find someone to help you with pretty much any project on Fiverr. And the prices are nearly impossible to beat.
If you’re hesitant to outsource an important project, hire two people to work on it to get two different concepts. You’ll still come in way under the cost of most design agencies out there.
Check out what you can outsource through Fiverr here »
Unbounce can serve you in two super critical areas where you might normally have to seek out a web developer. We use Unbounce for our own marketing at NextAfter, we use it in fundraising programs with virtually every organization we work with. And we recommend to EVERYONE because it’s that important.
Here are the two components that make Unbounce an essential online fundraising tool…
Unbounce will help you build landing pages without a developer
In my own experience at a nonprofit, web developer time was super hard to come by. And from most folks I talk to, that seems to be a common experience. Maybe you don’t even have a web developer at your organization.
But you need landing pages for your online fundraising efforts. In particular, if you have an email offer like a quiz, petition, eBook download, or even newsletter signup – you need a landing page where someone can learn more and sign up.
Unbounce lets you cut out the need for a web developer, and design email acquisition landing pages yourself. You get full design flexibility, it integrates with most major email marketing platforms out there, and you can a/b test different designs with ease to see what’s most effective.
If you want a quick example of this tool in action, our webinar registration page is built entirely in Unbounce.
Unbounce will help you acquire email addresses across your website (again, without a developer)
One of the best features of Unbounce is their sticky bars and pop-ups. They call them “Convertables.”
That’s because they’re super easy to implement tools that help you convert your website traffic into email addresses that you can begin to cultivate.
All you have to do is install a little snippet of code, and you can start showing off your latest and greatest email offer (eBook, newsletter, etc) to people all over your website.
You can show these “convertables” to everyone, or you can get specific and target particular locations, people who engage on specific pages, visitors that stay on a page for a certain length of time, etc.
Here’s a screenshot of what the editor looks like to create these different pop-ups and sticky bars:
Again, you can do this without needing a developer to code some fancy little email capture tool for you. Just use the built-in design and form tools right in Unbounce.
Unbounce sticky bars could boost revenue on your mobile donation page
Here’s a bonus idea for you. In a recent experiment, CaringBridge testing using a stick bar on their donation page to reinforce why someone should donate.
The original page was just the standard donation page. But they designed two different variations of the page that each used a sticky bar to re-iterate the importance of donating.
Treatment 2 led to a 13% increase in donations on mobile devices because it helped mobile users quickly and clearly see what type of an impact their donation would have.
You can sign up for Unbounce and try out in your online fundraising here »
All these other online fundraising tools are helping you actually create something new – determining new content opportunities, transcribing audio to help write copy, getting things designed, and building pages/ads.
Once you have these different tools, offers, and ads in place – you’re far from finished with your campaign. Everything can be optimized, and Google Optimize is there to help you figure out how to optimize your results.
There’s no excuse for not signing up for Google Optimize – it’s free!
Once you have it set up, you can run an A/B test on any page your website – including your homepage, landing pages, articles, and even your donation page.
An a/b test you can easily run using Google Optimize
If you’re not sure what exactly Google Optimize can do for you, let me give you an example.
Illinois Policy Institute ran a very simple experiment on their donation page. They wondered if they could increase donor conversion by adding more copy explaining why someone should give.
The original page had one small line of copy saying “Together, we’re writing the next chapter of Illinois’ comeback story.”
They created a variation of the page that 4 paragraphs of copy explaining the problem they were trying to solve and how a donation would make an impact.
This test could be set up with ease in Google Optimize. You don’t have to touch a line of code – just click to edit the copy, paste in your new copy, and turn on your test.
Google Optimize will send 50% of your traffic the original page, and 50% of the traffic to the new page. You can monitor the results along the way, and it will alert you when you have a winner.
This organization saw a 150% increase in donations just by adding some copy.
What do you think? Can you justify using a free tool in order to see a potential 150% increase in donations? I would imagine so.
You can get a free Google Optimize account here »
SlyBroadcast is the best most unknown online fundraising tool out there. Like most of these tools, it’s not designed specifically for nonprofits and fundraising.
While it’s not specifically designed for nonprofits, it is designed to help you connect with people – which is what fundraising is all about.
SlyBroadcast helps make it possible for you to connect with your whole donor file over the phone.
That sounds impossible, but it’s pretty sly in the way it works. Get it? SLY-broadcast?
Robo-callers and recorded messages played over a phone call are super annoying ad likely do more harm than good. But SlyBroadcast lets you record a personal message and slip into the voicemail box.
This means you can send out a thank you message to all of your donors via voicemail after they give. On their phone, it looks they have a missed call, and they’ll see your message in their voicemail.
In most cases, this can prompt them to give you a call back when they have a quick second to say hello and chat.
This type of strategy will help you do 2 things…
- You get to leave a positive, personal impression on each one of your donors.
- You don’t have to spend every waking moment of your day making phone calls.
Sign up for SlyBroadcast here » And if you use the referral code 15724f100, you’ll get 100 free messages.
What other online fundraising tools do you use?
None of the tools I’ve listed above have asked to be featured in this blog. No one is paying me to mention them.
These are just great tools the we swear by, and I really think you should try out in our own fundraising programs. Used with the right strategy, these can help you manage your time better, improve efficiency, and grow your revenue.
But I’m always curious…are there tools you’re using in your own fundraising efforts that people should know about?
Share your favorite unexpected online fundraising tools in the comments. I’d love to hear what you’re using and how you’re using it.