Digital fundraising tools and techniques for charities

First things first, this is NOT just about your website. Your website has a key role to play, but digital giving can be done at an in-person event, via an advert, through social media, on your website but in all sorts of other ways too - I’m going to go through some of the key tools charities to increase your Digital giving...
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First things first, this is NOT just about your website.

Your website has a key role to play, but digital giving can be done at an in-person event, via an advert, through social media, on your website but in all sorts of other ways too – I’m going to go through some of the key tools charities to increase your Digital giving…

There are loads of great tools out there – I’ve chosen some tools that are low cost and low involvement (for the most part) that most people here should be able to access and use without any huge investment of money and relatively low investment of time…

The ever changing world of technology

We’ve recently gone through the most rapid technological change in decades.

Covid is said to have crammed 10-15 years of technology advancement and implementation into the space of 18-24 month

That also applies, by the bucket load, to tech in general.

Tech itself probably hasn’t experience such a huge change, but utilisation of the tech that is out there has accelerated at an astonishing rate.

As always, there are threats and opportunities associated with technological advances, but for charities the opportunities are so far superior to any threats, that it’s a font of opportunity for us to capitalise on.

Charity trends

Less cash

Possibly the biggest impact on digital giving (and giving in general) is the least digital thing of all…. Cash.

More and more businesses are switching to cashless. That trend is only going to keep accelerating, there’s no doubt about that. Even at your in-person events, it’s important not to rely solely on physical cash donations.

Pre-pandemic – 51% of donations were physical. At the height of COVID, this dropped to under 10% and it hasn’t recovered to anything close yet

Now we need to make sure that digital giving can fill the gap

Generational changes
Millenials & Gen X are leading the way in donations, giving more frequently to charities, and with more variety (although maybe not yet able to give in the monetary amounts that older generations do and have done).

They’re the most digitally savvy, so its important you have a strategy for them, especially Gen-z, as they’re hugely overlooked in the charity sector

Gift Aid

A huge perk of digital giving is that gift aid is much easier to acquire – a simple tick of a box. There’s been a 20%+ increase in gift aid donations from 2018 – 2022 and that’;’s likely to continue

The Digital Divide

There is some evidence starting to come to light that shows a divide in digital capabilities of larger charities vs smaller ones, which probably isn’t a huge surprise

Technology costs, knowledge gaps and lack of resources are some key issues for smaller charities. Over 60% say they couldn’t conduct online fundraising at the moment, due to one, or all of those reasons.

Individuality

Everyone is different, we know that.

So it’s really important that we cater for every kind of person in our digital giving charity.

Ask yourself the question;

You want to contact a company for an update on an order, or to complain about something – what method of contact do you prefer?

Phone, email, website form, website chat

If you ask 10 different people, there’ll be a split across all of those different methods.

We all like to interact and engage in different ways, and that’s not different for your supporters. It’s important we give people options so they’re more likely to give 

Text

Text is a really simple and easy tool – 2 of the key players in the game are Donr and Donate.

Donr sells itself as easy to use, and no fuss, which we’re big fans of.

You can set up key words that your supporters text to a shortcode mobile number, and that’s it – you’re all set to receive donations via text.

It’s gift aid ready, and there are no ’processing fees’. 

Donr take 5% of the donated amount.

So a £10 donation, with gift aid, will mean a £12 donation being received by your charity. (50p service fee taken by Donr)

Donate operates in a very similar way, with a 45p charge.

QR Codes

If you’d spoken with me about QR codes a few years ago, I’d have told you to pop them in the bin.

But now, with most smartphones able to automatically scan a QR code direct from the camera app, they’re a fantastic tool for all your marketing material.

QR codes are a unique code that, when scanned, take the user to a pre-determined page.

BOPP allows you to create a QR code that takes users directly to a payment page to make their donation

They charge 5-50p per transaction, but it’s free to sign up and use, with no upfront costs

Digital giving (classic)

3rd party giving has been around for yonks, and for good reason – it’s low cost, low technical requirements and low time requirements.

Most offer simple URL codes so it’s easy to connect to your website…

CAF Donate

CAF is really simple and easy to set up – you create and set up your account, then you can create a simple URL link with your charity logo on and set amounts to collect donations…

You can then link this through your website (or QR code) to take and process donations to your charity.

You can set up one off or monthly donations, claim gift aid and they will even process phone and postal donations.

As with most platforms – they charge processing fees of 2-3.6%

Just Giving

Works similarly the CAF and It comes with a boatload of trust and public awareness. That comes at a price – there’s a monthly subscription cost PLUS processing and transaction fees.

Digital Giving – Newcomers

There are lots of new solutions that have started to pop up over last few years, disrupting the more established platforms and making use of more modern technologies and supporter behaviours.

TOUCAN

Toucan shot to fame on Dragons Den in 2022, winning around Stephen Bartlett and is set to make big waves in the charity sector.

It allows the user to set a monthly donation amount you wish to donate to charity. The user can then select the charities it wants to be benefactors of that amount.

E.g. £25 / month, split across 5 charities, but with different % amounts to each charity.

You can register your charity for free on the Toucan website.

There are no fees at all and the charity will receive 100% of donations (plus gift aid) made to them.

ENTHUSE

Enthuse is a bit more involved than many of those I’ve talked about today, offering a more complete digital giving solution that is customisable, allowing you to create donation pages, events pages, as well as fundraising campaigns.

Their pricing strategy is a little different too – they charge monthly subscriptions costs, but 0% processing / transaction fees.

Subscriptions costs start at £19.99 to c. £70 for off the shelf solutions, as well as offering a bespoke service.

Enthuse also create really interesting and useful quarterly insight reports on Donor behaviour and charity sector insight which are worth signing up to, regardless.

Facebook (I refuse to put a link in here!)

Better the devil you know maybe…

Facebook launched it’s fundraising platform last year, which allows charities to create a fundraiser directly through Facebook, or via Network for Good or Paypal.

It’s free and there are no fees at all

Crowdfunder

Crowdfunder is a great platform that allows you to setup and run fundraising campaign. There are lots of nice little extras including access to matched funding through their network of trusts and public bodies.

You can also incentivise donations, as a crowdfunding business can do.

£5 donation – receive a personalised thank you email

£10 donation – receive a thank you certificate

£25 donations – Receive a certificate and limited edition pin badge 

£100 donations – join us for a tour of our facitilies etc…

So you can increase the amount of donations received by offering something in return.

Crowdfunder works best for specific fundraisers like a new piece of equipment, or funding a new programme, building, or treatment as you can make it campaignable and emotive…

Tap to Donate

Tap to donate isn’t brand new, but it’s a technology still in its infancy and under utilised..

You purchase a mobile card machine-like device, that you can install on a plinth, or take around with you to events. 

It’s great in high footfall areas and encourages people to donate by tapping their card to give a pre-determined amount.

It’s a great bit of kit and can make in-person events really successful, as well as negating the need for cash, which we’ve already highlighted is dwindling somewhat…

Summary

Digital giving is about using technology to its potential to generate funds for your charity.

We do this by making it as easy as possible for people to give, regardless of their preferred method of doing so, or how they are interacting with our charity.

In person, online, one their commute, while they’re scrolling social media, or ever watching TV.

The question we have to ask is – are we making it possible for every potential supported to give their money to us? 

Digital giving, done right, means the answer to that question can be yes, without huge demands on time, knowledge or money.

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