Digital Fundraising…How Do I Love Thee?


I give Digital Fundraising a hard time.

I’ve called on-line “snake-oil”.  Jen Love and I made the case at IoF’s Fundraising Convention that most, if not all, of your donors are too old for digital (blog post coming soon). I think every conference and most charities are wasting a disproportionate amount of time on digital. And I’m on a mission to destroy chat bots.

But do I mean it?

Well…like everything it’s not so black and white. Digital can be amazing when it doesn’t try to replace or replicate the human touch…but instead when it makes the delivery of that human touch more efficient. The truth is there’s a place for digital in my heart and a place for digital in your fundraising mix. Maybe there’s room for the two in your life?

So here’s my love letter to digital fundraising…

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

  1. It makes giving really easy.
    Once you don’t confuse the method and the motivator you realise that digital makes donating really, really convenient. Paypal, Facebook Donate, and on-line fundraising sites are some of the ways we can allow our donors to give in one or two clicks. Sure, it’s not the reason they’re giving…but it’s one more way to do it and the easier it is the more likely they’ll follow through.
  2. LinkedIn has actually revolutionised networking
    When people say their digital product has revolutionised fundraising they’re usually selling some stupid shit. But LinkedIn has revolutionised fundraising. It makes research easy, it makes contact easy, it makes stewardship easy. If you’re not on LinkedIn and using it every day to progress your fundraising and your career then you’re missing out.
  3. Facebook is great for events
    Event invites, participant recruitment and spreading the word is definitely one of the few perks of Facebook. And beyond that, feeding back gratitude and images and video and results of your events is pretty damn easy. When you see fundraisers integrating it with the real world it becomes a thing of beauty.
  4. Buffer the Time-waster Slayer
    Scheduled posts and repeating content allows you to have a pretty decent social media presence in less than an hour a week. Thank you Buffer!
  5. Digital Makes Learning Free
    Resources like Irish Charity Lab, Third Sector PR & Comms network and Fundraising Chat on Facebook are invaluable. A place to ask questions and immediately get answers from some of the best fundraisers in the world.
  6. On-line is great for testing before you move off-line
    Put up a different story from your organisation every day. The one that gets the best result is probably the one you post out to your real-world mailing list. Simple as.
  7. Digital Makes Us Brave
    I talk about picking up the phone and face-to-face asks all the time. But the truth is it’s scary. Yes you need to do it…but while you’re working up the courage there is still a place for those safer on-line messages. You don’t feel like you’re leaving your most vulnerable self exposed.That cheeky little private message can lead to some of the most scarily beautiful real-world human interactions you can ever imagine…they’ll break your heart.

1 reply added

  1. Bruce Clark 13th July 2017 Reply

    Not sure how reliable online is for testing before you move off-line, especially if your off-line target audience is much older. But certainly worth testing.

    Interested in hearing of anywhere that’s getting digital to work for acquiring regular donors – I’ve heard of some promising results, but haven’t seen concrete examples of how it delivers significant volumes.

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