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Digital Fundraising

Digital fundraising is simply fundraising online using digital technology. Alongside traditional fundraising, digital techniques should now be part of your fundraising strategy.

90% of adults in the UK are internet users and 80% have a smartphone which they use to browse the internet. We spend an average of 24 hours per week online, using a mobile for phone calls is only considered important by 75% of smartphone users, compared to 92% who consider web browsing to be more important. This is an audience of 48 million people to whom you can tell the story of your organisation and ask for support.

These statistics should convince even the most sceptical and techno-phobic trustees that your organisation need a digital fundraising option. There a number of online channels you can use to fundraise:

  • Website – your website is a window to your organisation and should set out your cause and impact. The site should have a clear donate button and allow donors to easily and securely make donations.
  • Giving Platforms – depending on your website traffic and finances you can choose from a number of different options – have a look the options
  • Social Media – use your social media platforms to promote your organisation, tell stories of your beneficiaries and ask for donations. Facebook and Instagram now allow donations to be made directly to UK charities without fees.
  • Donate As You Spend – There are a number of different schemes – Amazon Smile and Give As You Live are just 2 ways for your supporters to raise funds for your charity through everyday online shopping

On Monday 21st October, I’ll be running a free Digital Fundraising workshop in Camberley – open to voluntary organisations, covering the subject in greater detail and offering ideas and information on adding digital to your fundraising strategy.

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Training for Charities and Voluntary Organisations in Surrey

Learn new skills to improve your charity knowledge this autumn at training and workshop events covering a wide range of subjects:

  • Working with your Trustees – As a chair a big responsibility is finding and managing good trustees. It is not made easier by the fact most trustees are typically volunteers and have limited time and varied backgrounds. So why not come along to the launch of the working with trustees series where you can meet other chairs and learn good tips and tricks – Tuesday 24/9/19, 6pm-8pm, EC4V, London, £40 or free to AoC members, contact events@associationofchairs.org.uk
  • Trustees Duties and Responsibilities – Do you think your trustees understand their responsibilities or if you are a trustee are you confident with what is expected of you? During the seminar there will be a practical look at what it takes to be an effective trustee – 8/10/19, 4:30pm-6:30pm, Guildford Harbour Terrace GU1 3DA, Free, contact gordonreid@barlowrobbins.com, 01483464224
  • Recruiting Trustees – The focus of this trustee event is Recruiting Trustees. It will be an opportunity for the trustees of local nonprofits to share issues and successes and to hear about best practice in recruiting trustees https://voluntarysupport.org.uk/event/recruiting-trustees-event/
  • Grant and Trust Application Writing – One day free fundraising course for non profit organisations in Surrey concentrates on structuring and composing applications for grants and trusts (national and local) https://voluntarysupport.org.uk/event/application-writing-for-grants-and-trusts/
  • Social Media and Website Training – One day free social media and web training workshop for not for profit organisations in Surrey led by colleagues at Surrey County Council https://voluntarysupport.org.uk/event/website-and-social-media-workshop/
  • Volunteering and the Law – This workshop will provide an opportunity to learn about or refresh your knowledge on volunteering and the law. It is designed as an overview of the current legislation relating to volunteers https://voluntarysupport.org.uk/event/volunteering-and-the-law/
  • Digital Fundraising – One day free fundraising course for non profit organisations concentrates on the increasing importance of using digital in all it’s forms to raise funds for your charity https://voluntarysupport.org.uk/event/digital-fundraising-training/
  • Successful Volunteer Management – One day free course covering the basics for developing a successful volunteer programme, including interaction and practical activities to allow participants to practice the skills needed to manage volunteers https://voluntarysupport.org.uk/event/successful-volunteer-management/

Sign up using the hyperlinks or contact details and we look forward to seeing you there!

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New Term – New Tricks

NCVO announced this week that 36% of voluntary sector employers believe their staff are missing digital skills. This skills gap is a serious strategic weakness when we should be using technology to raise funds, increase cause awareness and reduce costs by working more efficiently.

There are 5 main digital skills identified as essential for organisations to participate in and contribute to the digital world:

  • communication
  • handling information and content
  • transacting
  • problem solving
  • being safe and legal online

Lloyds Bank Charity Digital Index found that 48% of charities do not have all five digital skills and ‘problem solving’ is the area with the greatest gap. Only 64% of charities are using digital tools and online resources to solve problems, online feedback to improve services, and analytics to optimise websites performance.

To improve your skills we have 2 events in October. On 2/10/19, in the lecture theatre above Weybridge Library, colleagues from Surrey County Council are offering a social media and website workshop with sessions covering:

  • Social Media and Marketing – How should I use Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and everything else?
  • Running a website – Where do I start, what should I think about
  • Web/Content writing – Why should I write differently online?
  • Our website is live, what now?
  • How do I measure who is visiting my website? What do they look at? What do they like or dislike? When should I make changes?

There will be an open panel discussion with all presenters for submitted questions or questions from the floor. Tickets available on Eventbrite.

I’ll be running a Digital Fundraising course on the 22nd October, a free one day course for non profit organisations concentrating on the increasing importance of using digital in all it’s forms to raise funds for your charity. I’m also available one to one for any digital or social media enquiries you have – if I don’t know the answer I’ll find out! Email me at suzie@voluntarysupport.org.uk

There is some good news – although there is still room for improvement, the resourcefulness of UK charity sector seems to paying off with the digital capability of UK charities has almost doubled since 2014!

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Fundraise with Instagram

Last week Instagram announced that eligible UK charities and supporters can now raise money for their charity on Instagram using donation stickers. The great news is that like Facebook, 100% of the money raised using the Instagram donation sticker goes to your organisation.

To be eligible to receive donations through donation stickers your UK registered charity must:

  1. Register with Facebook to use its charitable giving tools (to use donation stickers your charity must be approved to accept Facebook payments)
  2. Link your Instagram profile to your organisations Facebook page
  3. Convert your Instagram profile to a business profile

Once you’ve completed these steps, your organisation’s Instagram account is eligible to be fundraised for on Instagram Stories.

Now you can create your own Instagram photos/stories about your cause and add a donate sticker for your charity. You can also ask your supporters to do the same on their Instagram stories and photos to raise money for you.

It’s a straightforward process:

  1. Take a photo or video using your Instagram account
  2. Tap the sticker icon in the top of phone screen

  1. Selection the DONATION sticker from the options

  1. Select your charity from the list displayed
  2. Tap Send to and then Share with your friends

Facebook has made suggestions on best practices for using Instagram donate stickers:

Kick start your donation story with photos and video of what your cause is and why it matters and what the donations will help to accomplish. Use the creative tools to make it visual and post donate sticker in lots of stories for exposure. Keep people up to date with your campaign with milestones and achievements. Finally, use the highlight feature to pin your story to your profile so that your supporters have access to your donation story for more than 24 hours.

For those of you new to Instagram here’s a couple of links to help you get started:

How to get started on Instagram

Creating an Instagram story

 

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Make Your Website Work

This week I’ve been catching up with some of the groups that attended our Digital Fundraising course a couple of months ago. It’s been interesting to see their progress and how they’re putting lessons of the course into practice. It has highlighted the importance of getting your website in order as a first priority.

Your website should be the centre of your communications. Everything you do and believe in should be reflected in the content of your website. Your mission should come across clearly on every page, so that visitors can gain a strong understanding of who you are and what you do.

The goal for your charity website is to rank well in an internet search and to appear on the first search page to allow potential supporters and donors to find you easily.

This is called website optimisation, and a well optimized website will:

  • Broaden your reach –the public needs to be able to find you online to allow you to raise awareness of your work and get support.
  • Engage new and existing donors – the easier your website is to use, the easier it will be to inspire people to give money.
  • Expand your database of supporters – an optimised website will efficiently capture your visitors’ information and create a database of people interested in your cause. An up to date email list is an asset when it’s time to request donations and publicise an event.
  • Attract new volunteers – websites are the perfect tool for peer to peer information sharing. Your supporters sharing your news with their friends gives you access to a whole new audience of potential volunteers and donors.

So, now you know what the benefits are how can you optimise your website to achieve some of the above?

  • Use keywords and phrases in your content to reflect your work which are possible search terms visitors might use to find you.
  • Make your website engaging – give visitors a reason to keep coming back. The more often your website is viewed the higher the search engine ranks you will climb. Make it obvious what you do, what you need volunteers for and what a donation will mean to your beneficiaries.
  • Make your site easy to navigate – don’t have too many menu options and make their titles a call to action – volunteer, donate, support us, get involved, contact us etc. Your policies and privacy statements should not be main menu options!
  • Create entertaining and informative content – change it regularly, especially if you are fundraising – fresh content is the best way to encourage people to visit your website again and again. Use images, good news stories and positivity to attract and retain your audience.
  • Optimize for mobile – google penalises websites which don’t display well on mobiles or tablets. In 2017 21% of all online donations were made on a mobile.
  • Get active on social media – use social media to drive traffic back to your website and further broaden your reach. Install social sharing tools on your website to allow visitors to share with their networks and friends.
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Is Twitter a Good Tool for Nonprofits?

Twitter has around 330 million monthly active users – that’s a huge audience for your charity so how can you make it work for you?

We are always looking for new ways to use social media to extend our reach and tell our stories. Twitter is a great platform for attracting an audience quickly, allowing you to publicise volunteer roles and direct donors and supporters to your website. It’s also great for starting conversations and establishing your expertise.

To be successful on Twitter your charity needs to be doing several things in the right way.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Content – Don’t just tweet for the sake of it. To stand out from the Twitter crowd make your posts unique to your organisation and what your audience is interested in. Ask questions to promote engagement and use images/videos that are relevant and will appeal. Make your tweets human by telling your story and the stories of your beneficiaries and volunteers.
  • Who to follow – Follow influencers in your own area such as local government, councillors and other charities (local and national) Note who they follow and the hashtags they use in their tweets.
  • Use Hashtags # to reach a targeted audience. The biggest benefit of using twitter is the ability to put hashtags # in your posts allowing you to broadcast to people interested in specific topics. If you’re not sure which hashtags to include, look at the tags in tweets of other charities or use a tool like ingramer which gives a list of relevant hashtags for keywords/images. Twitter also shows trending hashtags for particular events or awareness days. Be careful to search a hashtag in the twitter search box before using it to avoid embarrassment.
  • Get attention with Mentions @ – When you mention another Twitter account in one of your tweets they’ll get a notification and if your tweet is interesting or beneficial to them they may retweet your post or mention you back.
  • Focus on getting retweeted – 78% of engagement with your tweets will be through retweets so make your tweets ‘retweetable’ by inserting links to posts and articles on your website and to interesting content from other sources. Retweet content from partnership organisations that you respect and value to encourage them to retweet yours.
  • Use Visuals – Images are more impactful than words and also not included in the Twitter word count! Make your Twitter image the correct size 506×253 pixels and use a tool like canva to create a single image with your message. Canva allows you to export your created image in the right size to each of your social media platforms.
  • Use tools to simplify media management – We use Hootsuite to manage our social media outputs but there are others like TweetDeck or Buffer
  • Analyse your twitter performance – Twitter have a great analytics tool that shows your performance over the last 28 days. It gives top tweets, mentions, retweets, new followers and many many more statistics and graphs, but even using the most basic stats will inform your future content and improve your tweeting.

Remember that Twitter is a place to connect and have meaningful conversations. Think about what your audience wants to know, not what you want them to know. Use visuals and humour, even if your cause is serious. If you’d like help with anything social media related please contact us info@voluntarysupport.org.uk and follow us on @volsupportns

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