Online marketing and fundraising

There is now a range of facilities for collecting donations online.  You may want to investigate how these facilities manage or link in to Gift Aid processing.  (Just a few examples are shown below.)

  • bmycharity Various online fundraising/donation services
  • NEW: BT MyDonate - free service for UK charities
  • Charities Aid Foundation can collect donations over the internet
  • Charity Choice is an online directory. It is working with Cooperative Bank to provide a free online donation facility for registered charities.
  • Charity Technology Trust charity payment services and email marketing
  • Baigent Digital one-off card/debit donations, regular monthly giving, membership services and e-commerce.
  • WorkWithUs can be used by any UK charity
  • JustGiving can be used by individuals as well as groups.
  • Virgin Money Giving aimed at charities and individual fundraisers
  • Localgiving.com for all community groups, even if they're not registered charities and you can search by postcode.

Raising money through online shopping:

Vouchers4charity. Gift vouchers/greetings cards can be bought online, with 3% of voucher value donated to charity.

Can social media help with fundraising?

Myspace, Facebook, Twitter and Bebo, to name but a few, represent a significant culture trend over the last few years: people are staying in touch with wider and wider social circles and they’re doing it through social media sites. 

Many businesses and charities already have a presence on such sites, to keep in touch with donors, customers and stakeholders.  Why? Because it’s fast, you can get instant responses and feedback from those who subscribe to your page. This could be a response to a fundraising appeal, suggestions on areas for improvement, what they think about a recent national policy change or your local project. That is a very useful tool for marketing and fundraising.

The most powerful impact of social media is the widespread impact it can have.  When people sign up to your group, all of their friends can see that they have done it and they instantly hear about your group too, hence groups can build quickly, especially if their friends have similar views.  Social media is a very useful way of promoting a fundraising campaign and keeping in touch with donors: the ability to communicate quickly and upload photographs can make for a powerful campaign.

Is there a good place to start?

If you’ve got a website, then all the services above are possible. But having a donation button is not enough: it needs to be backed up by a marketing campaign and/or some relationship with your donors. If you’ve never really used this method, then it can be quite a long haul to get from zero donations to it becoming a significant income stream. Regular communication is an absolute must and this can be very costly for a small charity.

Your group should start by asking:

  • Who are your members / stakeholders? Could they become donors or are they your service users?
  • Who could you target as possible donors?
  • What resources would it require?
  • Is it worth it? Are there other benefits?

Do you need a lot of resources or computer skills to do this?

You don’t need to be an expert but you do need to know how to edit your website and add buttons to it.  However, the skills are relatively basic and there are also lots of instructions available on the internet on how to do this, if you’re prepared to have a go.  If you’re not good with IT, then you could find a volunteer to help.

The bfunded conference in April 2011, What next for fundraising? included online marketing and fundraising – the presentations are available here:

How we did it – Raising funds using digital and social media – download presentation
Sara Atkinson, Chief Executive Officer, Haworth Cat Rescue (now Yorkshire Cat Rescue)

Getting started in social media – download presentation
Albert Freeman, DIVA Bradford

Handouts also available to download from the social media workshop:

How to start your own site hosted at WordPressdownload handout
Using Facebook safelydownload handout
Guide to Twitterdownload handout
Learning to blogdownload handout


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