A Digital Fundraiser or Digital Fundraising Officer is tasked with planning and implementing a charity’s digital fundraising activities. This will cover at least the charity’s website and email communications, but in many cases will extend to include social media fundraising, mobile fundraising and other digital applications.
Not all charities employer a Digital Fundraiser. Many smaller and medium sized charities will simply add digital fundraising to an existing fundraising staff member’s job description and responsibility. This if not at all surprising given the large number of smaller charities which employ no more than one fundraiser.
Indeed, this approach is sound given that digital channels are not something additional or extra to more traditional communications and marketing channels such as print, direct marketing, TV and radio. Digital, whether it be email, Facebook or SMS texts, are part of the majority of people’s lives in the UK. The real skill for fundraisers therefore lies in understanding and executing an integrated campaign.
Nevertheless, Digital Fundraisers are employed by the larger charities, given their more sophisticated or extensive use of some or all digital media. The first recruitment adverts for Digital Fundraisers appeared around 2002-2003, although they were then more likely to be called ‘Online fundraisers’ or ‘Efundraising officers’.
For more information on which jobs are available at this time, please call 0845 094 8033 or go to www.edigitalfundraisers.co.uk
Digital fundraising elements
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– Email marketing
– Website campaigns
– Peer to peer fundraising
– Social media
– Events fundraising
– Online auctions
– Online charity shop
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Digital fundraiser activities
A digital fundraiser will usually have to manage a range of digital channels. She will also have to create or edit copy for some or all of these channels, and be able to guide or train colleagues in how to write for digital channels.
As well as monitoring and controlling a budget and tracking fundraising income and expenditure, digital fundraisers will almost always have to manage external agencies. This will range from the hosting and development company for the charity’s website, through to a third-party email marketing service. Some will have multiple agencies to manage, from website developers and designers to data specialists, mobile campaign managers, search engine optimisation specialists, and those offering a range of third-party online fundraising platforms and tools.
At the very least, a digital fundraiser will need to select or manage a third-party online donation service that handles debit and credit card donations, and offers individual supporters the facility to create their own fundraising page for their own events on behalf of the charity.
Digital fundraisers arguably face more new opportunities than other fundraisers. There are a remarkable variety of online fundraising channels and methods on offer, with many more being announced. Digital fundraisers need to assess these opportunities and select and test the small number that look like they might meet the needs of their charity.
They will also likely monitor the digital activities of their peers and competitor charities. The online fundraising sector sees new developments almost weekly. While it is essential to focus on reliable sources of income, digital fundraisers need to be able to react quickly to genuine opportunities and emulate successes they come across.
After initially focusing on the web and email, a great deal of online fundraising now focuses on the opportunities presented by social media sites and tools like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. A digital fundraiser must have good experience of using some of these channels, and understand how they can enhance a charity’s fundraising and other marketing activities.
Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp.