What's Working for Online Fundraising in 2018 - Crowdskout Blog

Crowdskout Conversations Recap: What’s Working for Online Fundraising in 2018

Alex Tracy
Alex Tracy

It’s 2018, and we’re in the age where small-dollar donors reached through online fundraising channels are increasingly influential for campaigns. Gone are the days where campaigns rely almost exclusively on big-dollar donors that they’d schmooze over steak dinners. During the last presidential campaign cycle, 64 percent of contributions to the Trump campaign was raised from donors who gave less than $200. Campaigns now need to think small in order to win big in online fundraising.

This was the theme of the second breakfast in our Crowdskout Conversations series where we discussed the current online fundraising landscape with industry experts Patrick Frank, Director of Political Outreach for ActBlue and Gerrit Lansing, Co-founder of Revv. Moderated by our Chief Strategy Officer, Lucy Caldwell, here are some key takeaways from the discussion:

Reach donors where they are (online)

Nowadays, we often know much more about our online communities on social media than we do with our physical neighborhood communities. Smart campaigns are treating digital marketing like traditional engagement, acknowledging that online audiences are just as important (if not more) to engage as those offline. Online fundraising platforms like ActBlue and Revv are great tools to reach and continue to engage these increasingly influential online small-dollar donors – a group that often becomes repeat donors. During the 2016 election cycle, Bernie Sanders’ campaign urged supporters to pledge just $10, $20 or $50, eventually raising $8 million from those donations by the next day.      

Keep messaging as authentic as possible

Online fundraising is a high-volume game, and your potential supporters are undoubtedly receiving multiple messages a day in their inboxes and news feeds. Authenticity can make you stand out, so when you’re crafting your messaging, remember that even if the conversation is happening online, you’re still talking to an actual person behind the screen. Take a step back from your message and make sure it’s conversational, as if you’re talking to a friend or colleague. With big events happening on a regular basis that your supporters are passionate about, it’s a great opportunity to activate them when they’re feeling most inspired to take action.

Get your supporters involved

Make sure you’re communicating to supports exactly how their contributions will help your organization or campaign. What initiatives will be furthered through this donation and how will the funds be used? Your potential donors will appreciate the inside story on how their money is moving the cause forward. Small-dollar donors should also know that their recurring donations help with campaign budgeting, so have a conversation with them about the wins they are helping to power.

Reduce the barrier to entry

One key to increasing donations is making it as easy as possible to complete the transaction. Both ActBlue and Revv reduce friction between initial interest and actual donation through one-click donations. For a lot of us, having to dig up our credit cards is enough to prevent us from completing an online transaction, including donating. If credit card information is saved in the system and donors just need to click one button to donate, you’re reducing the barrier to entry for participation, and the chances of completing the transaction go up significantly.

This event is part of our Crowdskout Conversations breakfast series that highlights the hot topics, innovative strategies, and data-driven tactics that are relevant and useful for cause-driven organizations like you. Our first Crowdskout Conversations event, Data Strategies from Both Sides of the Aisle, focused on the data-driven tactics for campaigns up and down the ticket, as well as for large-scale party operations.

We also launched a webinar series that tackles a variety of topics relating to campaigns and advocacy, including fundraising, audience targeting, data management, volunteer engagement, and more. 

Stay tuned for more information about future Crowdskout Conversations events and webinars – we’d love for you to join the conversation! If you’d like to stay in the loop about our events and programming, shoot us a note at hello@crowdskout.com – we hope you’ll join us soon.