IDEAS | BLOG

7 Tips To Enhance Your Fundraising with Your Digital Ecosystem

Digital fundraising is increasingly important as people are spending more and more time online. Even major donors are becoming multi-channel donors as they engage with your organization through digital experiences. As donations are increasingly being made online, it’s important to learn how to use your digital ecosystem to get a leg-up on funding your mission.

Your digital ecosystem is comprised of the tools, people and processes within your organization. It is key to having visibility on a variety of platforms, while also maintaining flexibility and working cohesively at all levels. If you took a step back and looked at all the various digital tools and programs your organization uses to manage its day-to-day operations, you would likely be surprised by (a) just how many tools you are actually using, and (b) how many of them are not connected to one another. When it comes to fundraising, the more information you can gather about how, why and when your supporters choose (or choose not) to donate, the better you’ll be placed to improve how you implement your fundraising strategy.

Here are seven tips to help you improve your fundraising efforts by using everything your digital ecosystem has to offer: 

1. Focus on quality not quantity 

Start with what and where your organization does well. What topics can you speak to most effectively as a thought leader? Which digital channels get you the most traction? Create valuable content and share it on the platforms that give the best return, i.e., if a particular social platform is not bringing you traffic or donations, invest your time elsewhere. Discover what you do best, and then do it better. 

2. Ask your donors what you can do better

A little audience research can go a long way. Use surveys or conduct interviews with your donors, or ideal prospects, on a continuous basis to gain insight on what your donors want and where your organization can improve. Don’t rely on your own assumptions or analytics data alone. Getting direct feedback from your target audience can give you incredible insights you would not have considered otherwise with a relatively small investment of time.

3. Borrow tricks from your marketing colleagues 

There are a number of easy ways to use trusted marketing tactics to better reach your audience. Visual storytelling, influencer engagement, and marketing automations are just a few effective strategies to increase donor engagement. Carve out some time to meet with your marketing and communications teams regularly to see how your approaches can help each other out.

4. Build stakeholder buy-in across your organization

Digital tools and systems often touch different teams/departments and can require investments that need to be discussed at a higher level. Make sure that you’re making the case for investment to your entire executive team or board. The tools that you are interested in using for fundraising may connect with those used by your financial or IT teams. Bring them into conversations early so that they are included in the strategies going forward.

5. Choose open and extensible systems and platforms 

Consider whether your data is portable, meaning, are you able to export data for analysis in other systems and move the data to other platforms as needed? Be sure to evaluate any existing integrations that may be available and keep this in consideration when evaluating licensing and overall costs.  It’s also important to make sure there is a robust and modern API available so that you can accommodate new integrations should new applications be introduced into your digital ecosystem in the future. 

6. Invest in training and staff

The tools within your digital ecosystem play an important role, however, it’s your people and the processes you put in place that make your ecosystem truly thrive. You can’t grow your organization unless you invest in getting your team the regular training they need, and refining your processes over time. You want your team excited about the prospect of working with new tools, developing new skills, and gaining confidence in the important fundraising work they are doing. 

7. Plan for governance and maintenance 

Similar to investing in people and processes, the most successful organizations fundraising today are those who take the time to maintain and update their data and tools. Establish a plan to regularly review the systems you are using, and empower a group of individuals across teams or departments to be responsible for making sure that your governance plan is being implemented and followed. Pro tip: develop a change-management plan in case of emergency, so you’re never reliant on one person to do certain jobs. 

Successful fundraising requires engagement from your entire organization and digital systems and strategies that extend beyond just the fundraising department. As you work to optimize your fundraising strategy, a focus on how your digital ecosystem can help will not only help you to increase donations, but also to help your organization as a whole be more connected, more efficient and more successful overall.