Although the Internet is such an integral part of our lives, fundraisers tend to live in the analogue world of posters, flyers and door-to-door sales. Although these methods still have merit, promoting your fundraiser online could significantly boost your success. After all, the first rule of marketing is to be where your customers are, and your customers are online.
Whether you’re a scout group, school group, booster club or any other nonprofit, here are the tools we’ve found most useful for promoting fundraisers online.
A website will serve as your fundraiser’s digital headquarters. It will be a useful resource for people who want to learn more about your group, but most importantly, it makes it easy for people to support your cause financially. Having a website also allows you to promote your fundraiser on social media simply by sharing a link.
With platforms like Squarespace and Wordpress, you can build website in minutes, without needing to know how to write code. It’s also easy to add an online donation page or shop where people can place and pay for their orders.
At Sherwood Forest Farms, we make it even easier for our groups to create a dedicated website for their fundraiser—no additional software needed. We give each group access to a free, customizable mini-site with all the tools they need to take and track orders online. Integrated with Paypal, these mini-sites make it easy for your customers to purchase their evergreens in just a few clicks.
To launch your mini-site:
It may seem obvious, but social networks like Facebook and Instagram are a highly effective way to engage your audience and promote your cause. Although widely used by individuals and businesses across the globe, these social sites are too often ignored by nonprofits that tend to favour traditional marketing tactics.
In the months leading up to your fundraiser, work on building up a following on Facebook and Instagram. Post interesting, visual content on a regular basis, sharing news, photos, videos and stories that resonate with your target audience. This way, when fundraising season comes along, you’ll already have an active, engaged community that’s invested in the success of your group and happy to support your cause.
If a picture’s worth 1,000 words, then a video is worth 10,000. Video has always been a powerful way to get your message across quickly, and today’s audiences don’t like to waste time. PowToon makes it easy to create short and engaging animated videos that promote your fundraiser. And did we mention it’s free?
It takes a few minutes to get a handle on how PowToon works, but once you feel your way around the site, you can produce a catchy video in under an hour. Here’s an example we put together in just twenty minutes.
Social media scheduling tools like Buffer and Hootsuite help automate the posting process, saving you time and making it easier to manage responses. Instead of posting each individual tweet or Facebook update in real-time, you submit the content you’d like to share upfront and allow the software to post them for you. You can schedule posts to go out at times when your followers are most active online.
By using Buffer or Hootsuite to promote your fundraiser, you’ll post more often and reach more potential supporters. With Buffer, you can even view how successful your posts have been by seeing how many people clicked on the link you shared.
It’s likely that you already use email to communicate with your group members, as well as your community of supporters. Make your email correspondence flashier, easier and more engaging with Mailchimp, a tool for creating branded email newsletters.
Mailchimp is free for up to 12,000 emails, sent to as many as 2,000 subscribers. It comes with simple templates that you can adjust with your group’s colors, logo and images. Sending a few newsletters throughout fundraising season will be an effective way to remind people to open their wallets and support your cause.
Canva, Easel.ly and Word Swag are just a few of the many tools that allow you to create eye-catching images and graphics to share on social media. Research shows that social media posts with images perform much better than those without a visual component. Sharing images with your social media updates is another way to inspire your followers to get involved with your fundraiser.
Like most social media tools, these image-creators are a primarily free service, with the option to pay for ‘premium’ elements. There are plenty of free images and design elements to choose from, such as the one above that we made using Canva.