When it comes to running a powerhouse digital campaign, what’s the opposite of a tech startup? A non-profit. 

Here at Pacific Campaign House, we work with a number of both c(3) and c(4) non-profits of all shapes and sizes. Some of our non-profits are research foundations who help patients with life-threatening diseases and some are c(3) institutions who have been fighting for causes like LGBTQ equality and environmental protection for decades. But when we started with each of these organizations they all had one thing in common: 

The non-profits were decades behind the curve when it came to maximizing their online impact.  

From archaic email CRMs to ineffective donation platforms, non-profits aren’t just losing ground when it comes to having an impact, they’re also leaving dollars on the table. 

If you’re reading this article, it’s probably because you’re looking for a way to update your organization’s digital footprint and might have heard one of the following from upper management or your Executive Director:

  • “This is how we’ve always done it.”
  • “If we change our strategy now, our long-time donors and supporters will leave us.”
  • “We can’t afford to make such drastic changes.”

The problem with continuing to do things “how they’ve always been done” is that in an increasingly digital world, if your organization continues living in the analog era the very existence of your organization could be at stake. 

The Future Charity report revealed that 57% of charity employees surveyed believed that a lack of embracing new technology is one of the biggest hindrances to the sector’s development.” – The Drum Network

Below are three quick fixes to help move your non-profit’s digital program out of 2003 and into 2019.

1. Your digital assets must be mobile-first: 

We run a lot of ads — and we mean a lot. Six-figure ad campaigns are just another Wednesday for the ads team here at PCH. And with the ads we run, we track where people are consuming them the most. It’s hopefully not a surprise, but we’ve found up to 97% of digital ads are seen on mobile.

And it’s not just ads people are consuming on mobile — they’re also visiting websites, donating, and sharing content through their phone.

That means your organization better have mobile responsive:

  • Website (including social media-optimized image meta tags)
  • Donation pages
  • Emails

2. Your fundraising platform should be free, customizable, and of course, mobile optimized:

If your organization or non-profit isn’t capitalizing on online fundraising, you’re leaving millions of dollars on the table (literally).

From 2012 to 2017, online charitable giving grew from $19.2 billion to $31 billion and 54% of donors worldwide prefer to give online — compared to just 11% for direct mail (the second highest preference). 

But while most organizations have an online fundraising platform in 2019 (we really hope you do), many of the most-used platforms are no longer the most effective. 

Take for example Network for Good (donation platform specifically designed for non-profits), that has a minimum $10 donation limit. If $10 is the smallest donor amount you’re willing to receive, you’re leaving all the $1, $3, and $5 donors out in the cold.

That’s why we advise our clients to look for 3 things when choosing an online fundraising platform:

  • No per-donation fees or donation minimums. From charging monthly rates to tacking on $.25 in addition to a percentage per donation, don’t give your donations to vendors. Keep it where it’ll do the most good: in your organization. 
  • The platform is constantly testing and updating its user interface. If an online donation platform isn’t optimizing and refining their UX, you’re already falling behind the competition. 
  • A fast-responding customer service team for both your organization and for your donors. If a donor accidentally gives $1,000 instead of $100, having the peace of mind that the platform’s team will quickly make the adjustment for the donor means less of a headache for you, and more staff time dedicated to the important things: raising revenue. 

With all that said, what’s our suggestion? AB Charities. Not only do they check all the boxes above, they’ve also helped groups raise over $3 billion online. 

3. Think beyond Facebook for your ad placements:

Yes, Facebook has made it practically seamless for organizations to set up fundraisers, boost their posts, and increase page “likes” — but if you’re only focused on Facebook, you’re missing the forest through the trees. 

And speaking of trees, if you’re an environmental group, post stunning earth-porn images alongside an ask for the reader to give $5 to buy a tree to stop deforestation. 

Look to Reddit and Quora for untapped ad platforms. Both have massive audiences (Reddit has over 330 million users and Quora has 678.8 million users), and both will serve ads for considerably cheaper than Facebook. 

So there you have it — if you’re a non-profit trying to transition into the digital era or if you’re just looking to update your online assets, get ahead of your competition by ensuring everything is mobile-responsive, using a digital-forward fundraising platform, and thinking outside the box when it comes to digital advertising. 

Think your non-profit might need a digital refresh? Click here and let’s find time to talk >>