Boosting Online Fundraising

Wed, 02/17/2016 - 1:18pm -- Jvillage

In the non-profit and synagogue world, philanthropy and member engagement are the keys to success.

Securing enough donations is not an easy task, especially in this challenging economy. If your website does not support online fundraising activities, you should remedy this ASAP. It’s integral that your members have easy ways to donate and support your organization. Below are some tips for increasing online fundraising:

1) Make sure your homepage offers a clear call to action. Ways to give should be the most prominent section(s) of your website. Make sure your message is loud and clear, easy to read, and realistic. A specific goal (such as a Kitchen Renovation) is helpful for your congregants, especially if you update your progress daily. Be very aware of your donate buttons and make them large, colorful, and easy to find on your website. Temple Aliyah and Merrick Jewish Centre have their donation page embedded on their website to make it easy for their members to donate without needing to login to a different website. We suggest that you place your donate button "above the fold"-- or at the top of a webpage so it can be seen without someone needing to scroll down the page.

2) "Brand" your campaign or create a memorable fundraising tagline. Research shows that asking more than once is best practice. It’s okay to ask for donations in your weekly emails or emailed yahrzeit notifications. Also, have you ensured that your donation form allows for a monthly or annual gift? You may also try to add incentive to increase donations. Do you have a member who could donate some beautiful artwork to the synagogue if your congregation raises a certain amount? We like the “We Want to Say Chai” campaign that Jvillage Network member Congregation Rodeph Sholom is currently using.

3) Simplify it. And then spread the message! Your e-mails have a few seconds to speak to your members. Keep the message short -- under 500 words -- and make it direct. Just make the ask and express how much your organization needs the reader's donation. Don't bury the ask and be sure link to the donation page multiple times, early, middle, and at the end of the text.

4) Cover your social media bases. Post fundraising asks on Facebook and twitter multiple times. EJewish Philanthropy suggests launching a series of messages. Maybe keep a blog of the donations coming in & share progress.

5) Test your online donation process. Make sure your donation form is easy to use (the less clicks, the better) and in working order.. Have a friend go through the process of making a donation on your website. Ask for their feedback on what they found challenging about the process, so you can be sure that your potential donors have no problem using the forms. Also, be sure the forms are mobile-friendly.

6) Encourage your members to give by explaining what their gifts will do. Creating a "Why Donate?" page is an appealing way to encourage your donors to give more. Personal stories are important. Can your Rabbi explain how much your synagogue is relying on donations? Can a staff member speak to how more donations can lead to more robust programming? Can you share a meaningful quote from one of your members about why he or she makes a gift? Jvillage Network client Temple Sinai shares some great content on why they need donations,

7) Don't forget to thank your members! It’s crucial to thank your members that continue to sustain your organization. Be sure that each donation, no matter how small, is acknowledged.

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