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Key questions for getting the most out of sites offering multiple ways of giving or fundraising

Melanie May | 22 August 2023 | News

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We ask what charities need to consider to get the most out of a site that offers more than one way of fundraising or giving – and get 3 charities to share their experiences and tips.

Text giving, raffles, lotteries, affiliate programmes, event fundraising, and more – they’re all valuable ways for nonprofits to raise extra income. And, aiming to make these a smoother experience for charity and supporter alike, are sites that offer more than one of these methods of giving or fundraising.

A big benefit of using an ‘all-in-one’ site is the multiple options it provides, allowing for easier reporting and optimisation of fundraising.

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Keith Williams, COO / CMO at Funraisin says:

“You can start by thinking about the ideas, user optimisations, and outcomes first rather than fit them into the parameters of the old platform you may be using, as an all-in-one platform unlocks many more options.”

Using a site with multiple options can also help charities learn more about their supporters, adds Chester Mojay-Sinclare, CEO and Founder, Enthuse. Having everything on one platform provides a wealth of information that can be easily brought together, and used both to better support people and target them more relevantly he says, adding:

“To get the full picture, using multiple solutions is the best way to go. This will give charities a clear idea of how, when and why their supporters are interacting with them, so that one-off donors can turn into repeat givers and even fundraisers.”

But with multiple opportunities on offer, how do you ensure you’re making the right choices for your charity and then getting the most out of what these sites have to offer? There are a number of things to consider, not least what solutions best suit your cause and purpose, so here are a few quick tips – followed by some charity case studies.

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Is it a good fit?

Every fundraising solution has its strengths and downsides, so look at everything a site has to offer and if there are various fundraising options, explore them all to see if they will benefit your cause.

Do you need a solution that fits a certain environment for example, such as outside or at events, something for occasional or ongoing use? Or fundraising methods that work in the background with the minimum of input from you?

William Makower, Founder and Trustee, National Funding Scheme says:

“Digital provides a wealth of options for fundraising from the immediacy of text to the simplicity of contactless and the breadth of online offerings. However, each type of fundraising has its own positioning, benefit and downsides and these need to be carefully considered. In a room full of people for example, text fundraising is best whilst outside a mainline station, 4G contactless devices are most convenient.”

Do the options available suit your supporters?

Just as important as what suits your requirements of course will be what meets your supporters’ needs and preferences. And how to ensure they get the same great experience, however they choose to support you.

Brad French, Head of Innovation at Donr advises:

“Consider exactly who will be donating to your campaign and how they will do it. Ask yourself questions like… How much is a typical supporter likely to donate? Are they tech savvy? What device are they likely to be using? From here, you can decide which fundraising solution is likely to perform best for your campaign.”

And do they allow for a great supporter experience?

Providing a great experience for supporters also includes making it easy for them to donate.

Give as you Live Director, Annabelle Risdon says:

“Ensure that supporters can donate when and how they wish, so having a donate button on the website, QR Codes on printed materials, and links in emails and other easy-to-find spots are key.”

Where relevant, Alex Coleridge, Co-founder of GiveStar also advises giving supporters control over their fundraising, saying:

The most successful charities give their communities access to the platform and let them get creative. There is a tonne of tools to allow charities to monitor fundraising, without needing to micromanage.”

What support is available?

As well as providing different fundraising and giving solutions, ‘one-stop’ sites generally offer a range of support to help charities get the most out of them, which is definitely something to check out and take advantage of. Sites that offer multiple options will be able to advise on what will work for a charity or campaign’s specific requirements, and will have the expertise to help you get the most out of what’s available.

Luisa Gatward, Head of Operations, TheGivingMachine says:

“It is easier to work with one provider offering different services/products than different providers – this way you can build stronger relationships. Find out how you can work well together. Sites like ours want to help causes make a difference so taking the time to find this out helps.

 

“Find out too what else the site may be able to offer, such as tech advice. Advice like this may not be signposted on the website but often sites like ours have “Tech Wizards” who will often be happy to offer some technical advice to smaller causes who may have a question.”

This is likely to extend to free marketing tools adds Risdon, and these can prove very handy. “Utilise those provided as they save time and a lot of money in graphic design fees, and most sites provide ready-made shareable content,” she says.

Sharing more advice and inspiration, three charities talk about their own experiences of going all-in-one.

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3 charity case studies

RNLI

Ben Kay, Product Owner (Fundraising and Marketing), RNLI

RNLI has just gone live with its first Funraisin campaign – it is rolling out a series of targeted campaigns and always on DIY fundraising products that supporters can use. As well as the centrally planned and managed fundraising products, RNLI is also looking to use it for broader event management – it has thousands of supporter and volunteer led activities every year that help raise essential funds so the charity can save lives at sea.

What was behind your decision to go all in one?

“By consolidating to a single event fundraising platform primarily we were looking to improve the supporter experience. Before we had one platform to sell/manage ticketing, then signposting to another platform for creation of donation and sponsorship pages, and finally we would build a resources section on rnli.org with all the associated fundraising materials.

 

“While we are very fortunate to have passionate supporters who love fundraising for us, this was not a great supporter experience and led to issues around drop off in the handoff from one platform to the other and reduction in campaign engagement. Therefore we believed this negatively impacted fundraising activities and campaign performance.

 

“Secondly, we have a big focus on data quality. Funraisin has really strong controls at the point of data capture in the registration forms, and a good reporting and API for us to use in order to import participants and donors into our CRM. Before we had significant issues with different levels of data quality across the separate platforms. Finally, a single supporter experience gives us a unified view of the performance analytics for a given campaign. We can see where we have engagement or conversion issues and are able to optimise the registration, content and ongoing email comms.”

What benefits/advantages are you seeing – or do you expect to see?

“The marketing, fundraising and data teams are all really happy with the first campaign that we have rolled out. We are looking forward to building out more fundraising campaigns and product on the platform and ultimately creating a fundraising hub – where supporters can find all sorts of different ways that can fundraise for us.  There are many features on the platform that we have not touched yet, but are looking forward to testing.”

Any learnings you can share for other charities?

“As a charity we have a lot of process and complexity behind the scenes but we should not allow that to impact the fundraiser or supporter experience. We know that each supporter has their own relationship with us. There is obviously a balance between overwhelming them with all the different ways that they could potentially support us, while also giving people the tools to fundraise for us no matter what they want to do. This includes optimising the registration process, the ongoing engagement and nudges to enhance their donations and chances of success for a given challenge or event. By being supporter centric and keeping a keen eye on the performance and optimising a campaign or type of fundraising, we believe everybody wins.”


Shelter

Lindsay Tilston Jones, Senior Community Fundraising Area Manager (North), Shelter

Shelter has been working with GiveStar for two years, using microsites, QR codes, contactless, and ticketing services, and has been able to organise multiple regional challenge events all linking to the same microsite and registration page. This enables community teams to direct fundraisers to one place whilst being able to report on engagement, fundraising and manage participants across different teams.

 What was behind your decision to go all-in-one?

“We chose all in one for our tap on phone because it made sense, there are clips that can be used on phones (any phone) and apps. Meaning we can give our fundraisers and volunteers more autonomy and we can accept donations anywhere. They are easy to use, affordable. Customer service is great and we can set up as many campaigns as we need so we can track income live. This then informed our decision to work with GiveStar on microsites and events. We can track, set up, adapt, personalise, get everything we need, looking great and has many sharing options without a huge price tag or commitment.”

What benefits/advantages are you seeing – or do you expect to see?

“GiveStar works well for us for collections, at events and now pre-event. It saves us so much time as we can pass the easy tech to our volunteers with no problems. We have seen an uplift in average gift at collections due to people not running out of cash. So far we have raised about £60,000 in 12 months with not a lot of activity.

 

“It is part of our future planning. We now have tap-on phone at the forefront of all our collections and events and we use microsites in our event planning and are looking into more options all the time.”

Any learnings you can share for other charities?

“Make sure you are using everything on offer, be it badges, user journeys, toggling, URLs and so on.”

What you see as the pros and cons of separate platforms and all in ones?

“For us, ease of use, adaptability, of course price and our ease of getting stuff done quickly and professionally that made it a great choice. It has meant we have been able to get things done quickly which can be a challenge in a larger charity (or indeed any). The challenge for us just now is seeing how we integrate the microsites with our main website but that will happen.”


Aspens

Ruth Campbell, Marketing and Communications Manager, Aspens

Aspens is a charity that provides care and support to people on the autism spectrum and with learning disabilities and their families across the South-East. It has a wide range of services based in different locations across Kent, Sussex, Bexley and Surrey, and also runs online workshops and events that are open regionally and nationally. It uses Enthuse’s fundraising platform to provide people with a range of ways to support it.

What was behind your decision to go all-in-one?

“We wanted a platform that would enable our audience to engage with us and support us in a variety of ways. What appealed to us about Enthuse was that it would allow our supporters to donate to an appeal page, become a regular giver, make one off donations, sign up for in-person and virtual events and set up their own individual or team fundraisers.”

What benefits/advantages you’re seeing from doing this?

“The simplicity of having everything on one platform is great, we love the fact that the supporter journey is built through the ability to create automated personalised emails and that the data captured when people sign up to events, set up a fundraiser or donate enables us to grow our supporter base. The reporting facility is also very helpful.”

Any learnings you can share for other charities?

“It is good to consider your audience and the ways you can engage with your supporters using the different methods available on the platform. For example for our Christmas appeal we ran an online quiz night in conjunction with an online raffle and an appeals page. This enabled people to choose how they wanted to support our appeal, either by joining us for the event, buying raffle tickets or leaving a donation – or perhaps all three! You can also think about how different campaigns you are running through the year lend themselves to different types of fundraising. For example for our Autism Acceptance Week ’10 for 10’ campaign we set our supporters the challenge of setting up their own fundraisers completing 10 of their chosen activity.”

What you see as the pros and cons of separate platforms, and all in ones?

“For our needs, the all in one platform provides us with a facility that can be used by many different parts of our organisation. We are an extremely diverse organisation that is constantly looking for ways to engage with our entire community, Enthuse provides us with this ability whilst only having to provide training on the one platform which is then easily managed by the Fundraising Team.”

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