Yesterday, we covered eight tips to optimize your offline fundraising campaigns. Today, we’ll cover online giving. As a reminder, online giving in this context covers email campaigns and giving opportunities on your website. Let’s dive in!

Ten ways to optimize online campaigns

The rule here is the same; the first hurdle in any appeal is getting someone to read it. Many of the tips we covered in offline campaign techniques will be similar for online campaigns. Make sure you are covering all of these tips in your online giving as well as those covered in the last blog post:

  • De-duplicate emails – Just as impersonal and annoying as it is to get duplicate letters, it is also annoying to get duplicate emails. Make sure you aren’t emailing someone multiple times (maybe the same email address is listed under two family members) – this is especially important to do before you send out segmented emails. You don’t want the same person getting two different asks for the same thing.
  • Check salutations again – However names are listed in your database, that is how they will show up in your email if you’re using merge fields.
  • Verify email addresses  Verify email is another inexpensive Data Service that will check email address accounts and verify if they are still good, or have been closed. And if you’re missing emails addresses run an Email Append data service to find emails.

Additionally, make sure you are trying out these tips:

For email campaigns

Links, Personalize and format

Similar to a paper appeal, write to your audience and personalize the message wherever possible. Put the ask at the top of the message and include a big button or link at the top to donate online or renew. Your email program should be able to include personal fields in the subject line and body. Additionally, you should be able to set personalized ask amounts.

Subject Line and time of day to send – Test, test, test

An A/B testing feature will help you choose the best version of your emails to send out. Your comprehensive email results page will give you open rates and times. Use your A/B test analytics as a guide when choosing the time of day to send your appeal and what subject lines have worked best in the past.

Keep it short and mobile-friendly!

Nearly 50% of all emails these days are opened on a mobile device. Don’t force the person to scroll and scroll, this way and that – lest their thumb gets cramped and you miss getting the donation. If they have a frustrating time just reading your emails, chances are they may assume giving online will be just as frustrating an experience.

Speaking of giving online…

For online donation forms

Online donation form

Keep your donation form simple. If it is long and cumbersome, people will be less likely to complete the donation. Capture only the most important information. You can learn more about your donor when you follow up with a thank you call or email.

Suggest giving levels

Provide suggested giving levels with a short sentence on how that gift will impact your organization. An open ended donation amount might entice someone to give you $20, but if they know a $30 donation will feed a family of 4 for a week, it makes their gift more personal – emotional connections can lead people to give more.

Suggest recurring donations

This is a big one. Remember to include an option for a monthly/recurring donation. I am much more likely to give you a donation each month if I can complete a form one time and opt for a monthly credit card charge or ACH, rather than trying to remember to go online and make a donation each month, or be hounded every month with asks.

And finally…


Get your Donate button, icon or link in the header of your website, so it appears on every page. At the very least, make sure it is easy to find at the top of your Home page. This might be an obvious tip, but you’d be surprised by how many Donate buttons are shy and hiding, lost at the bottom of the webpage or in too much busy content.

Give these a try! Incorporating all or just a few of these tips will help you optimize your year end fundraising.

What techniques have you used to optimize your online giving? We’d love to hear them in the comments!