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Online Fundraising: It’s Not About the Money! (Part 4) – Finally IT IS About the Money

In the past blog series I talked about how online fundraising is about engagement, new donor acquisition and pipeline build up, and also a generational pre-requisite.  Well, finally, in this last part of the series, I talk about the money!

Restricted Funds Aren’t that Bad

Time and time again, when talking to not-for-profits, restricted funds are often compared to unrestricted funds like they have the plague. There is certainly less flexibility, but the nice thing about restricted funds that are directed toward a particular project, for example, is that they are clearly defined for their purpose.  Having a finite boundary around use can help you and your organization stay disciplined about what certain funds go toward.

This sets up a “soft-ball” pitch for knocking your donor stewardship out of the park.  For example, if you raise $10K through a very specific crowdfunding campaign supporting a specific capital improvement effort, the story you tell about the progress you make is really easy.  You have a project, you make progress on that project, and you can provide updates as a way to engage your supporters.

Supporters love this because they can see tangible results from the money they gave.  And if they see that, they are likely to give again because they know their contributions make things happen.  It goes without saying that online fundraising campaigns are perfect for these types of efforts.

Use it for Budgeting

Outlining several very specific online fundraising campaigns at the beginning of the year can help you line up portions of your yearly budget and can really help you jumpstart planning your overall budget.

There are certainly more general operational aspects to planning your budget, but often your supporters don’t necessarily identify with that.  It’s commonly seen as overhead, not necessarily impacting the mission of your organization directly.

If you can show several different budget line items that tie back to specific projects, which are backed by robust online fundraising campaigns and stewardship to support them, you will see better response and involvement from your supporters.

Check out our annual fundraising plan.

Hey, You Never Know

While most online donations are of smaller amounts, the occasional larger donation still comes through.  At GiveGab, we’ve seen 2.6% of our online donations at values over $500, and because we cap our platform fee at $20, there are incentives for donors to give more online, including racking up those credit card points.  But more importantly, our simple online donation form helps to spur monthly recurring donations, which makes for great ongoing giving, but also helps you identify who really cares about your organization and wants to make a continuous impact.  Those who are interested in recurring donations are great pipeline fillers for your nonprofit and candidates for eventual major gifts… so keep them in your sights!

Pennies Add Up

With development teams putting so much effort into cultivating relationships for major gifts, the small amounts that online donors bring often go unnoticed.  But those small amounts add up, especially with volume and given that the best giving platforms are easy and low cost to set up and get going with, your internal return is higher.  Additionally, your expansion of reach and the viral nature of online networks that are often leveraged by these platforms help drive volume on smaller amounts.  Beyond that, the venue that an online fundraising platform provides helps to capture a lot of donors that probably would not have even taken the time to respond to a direct mail campaign and fill out that check or send in cash.  For many who like to give online, the cost of inconvenience to donate through offline methods in response to a solicitation is almost outweighed by the cash out of pocket to the organization, and that’s lost revenue.


From this 4-part blog series, it was my goal to share the full spectrum of what online fundraising really is:

  1. It’s engagement with your community and potential supporters;
  2. It’s new donor acquisition;
  3. It’s a generational prerequisite; and finally…
  4. It’s totally about the money!!

To put it succinctly, online fundraising is the ultimate all-in-one tool for modern nonprofit success.  This ranges from the success of your relationships with donors to the success with your overall fundraising efforts.

Happy Online Fundraising 🙂