All posts by Aspire Contributor

Go Virtual With These 5 Online-Friendly Fundraisers

Virtual fundraisers have grown in popularity over the last few years for both nonprofits and donors alike. These low-cost fundraisers save you money, increase your ROI, and expand your donor base. Your supporters will be excited for more opportunities to participate in events and contribute to your cause. 

Whether you’re hosting a virtual or hybrid event, online-friendly fundraisers are a lucrative, creative way to raise more for your organization. Here are a few fundraising ideas to get you started: 

  1. Read-a-Thon 
  2. Peer-to-Peer Fundraising 
  3. Social Media Challenges
  4. Matching Gifts 
  5. Text-to-Give 

Before embarking on an extensive online fundraising campaign, set goals for your nonprofit. Consider what your target fundraising amount is, what your audience will learn about your organization through the campaign, and how you can create a positive, memorable experience. Let’s dive into five online fundraisers for your nonprofit!

1. Read-a-Thon 

Read-a-thons are an excellent avenue for an online educational fundraiser. If your organization is education based or partners with a school, a read-a-thon can help increase literacy among your students while also raising money for your cause. 

Read-a-thons are fully online, and raise funds by having students reach out to friends and family for a flat-rate donation. Then, students will read as much as they can over a specific period of time. 

To take your read-a-thon online, you can use an online platform, such as Read-a-thons web-based software, to help students, parents, and teachers stay organized. Students will use the platform to log their reading time after every, so family and friends can see updates on their progress, which can inspire secondary donations. 

Students, parents, teachers, or supervisors can all access Read-a-thon’s school fundraising software to update student reading times, making this online fundraiser suitable for all ages of students. 

To encourage students to participate, you can also offer select prizes based on how much students read or raised. Select the top readers and top fundraisers from each class for special prizes, and offer something smaller for other students to encourage full participation. 

2. Peer-to-Peer Fundraising 

Peer-to-peer fundraising, also referred to as P2P fundraising by industry experts, is a classic way to encourage your supporters to help with fundraising and expand your reach to new donors. Get in touch with your supporters and offer them the opportunity to raise money for your nonprofit as volunteer fundraisers. 

Your ideal volunteers are heavily engaged supporters who would be excited to share their involvement with your nonprofit online and can easily speak to the strengths of your organization. Once you’ve recruited your volunteers, host training sessions to support your volunteers with talking points about your peer-to-peer fundraising goal, mission, and campaign message. 

Help your volunteers create their own fundraising pages to share with their friends, family, and personal networks. Encourage them to set a personal fundraising goal for themselves and to reach out to their networks for donations. Some peer-to-peer campaigns even set deadlines for when funds have to be collected to inspire potential donors to act quickly to join the cause.

Here are some channels your volunteers can use to share their fundraising pages: 

  • Social media 
  • Email
  • Personal Text Messages
  • Personal blogs

Your supporters are foundational to your nonprofit, so peer-to-peer fundraising is the perfect way to use their personal experiences to help inform and inspire new donors. 

3. Social Media Challenges 

Social media challenges are a simple way to get a variety of donors involved in your fundraising, spread your message widely, and build your organization’s community. Everyone knows the viral ALS ice bucket challenge because it was memorable and raised awareness for the cause for everyone who completed or watched someone else complete the challenge. 

Take to your nonprofit’s social media profiles and encourage your supporters to create videos, images, and messages about your challenge to share with their networks. Here are some details to include in your social media challenges: 

  • Your organization’s mission 
  • Your goal for the fundraiser 
  • How the challenge works 
  • How to donate 

After posting your social media challenges, be sure to ask your staff, board members, volunteers, and followers to engage with the post and complete the challenge to help start building momentum. Use the challenge as an opportunity to build a stronger community by inspiring your followers to participate. 

4. Matching Gifts

A matching gifts campaign can help supplement other fundraisers and provide continued support long after its initial launch. With a matching gifts campaign, you can increase the revenue from donations already being made without asking your donors to give more! 

Many companies offer matching gifts opportunities for their employees. If their employees make a charitable contribution to a registered nonprofit, and submits an application to the company, the company may match a certain percentage of the gift made. Some companies match up to 100% or even double the amount of an employee’s donation. 

Encourage your donors to check their matching gift eligibility on your website’s donation page. You can also promote your matching gifts campaign through social media and newsletters to inspire donors to check their eligibility and company policies. Some companies will match a gift months to a year after it’s been made, meaning if you start promoting now, you might start earning extra donations immediately. 

5. Text-to-Give 

Text-to-give fundraisers utilizes one of the best ways to reach donors on-the-go, mobile messaging. Like other online fundraisers, you can promote it on your social media pages, website, and newsletter to get supporters excited about your cause. 

For a smooth campaign, you can use a text-to-give software that allows you to customize your campaign. Snowball’s text-to-give fundraising guide outlines how to optimize the experience for your nonprofit and your supporters: 

  • Use memorable keywords. Have donors text a short keyword related to your mission to your organization’s number. Long keywords are easy to misenter and can be difficult to remember. For example, READ is far easier to type than, SUPPORTOURSCHOOLREADATHON.
  • Use a peer-to-peer campaign. As part of your peer-to-peer campaign, have your volunteers share your donation number with their friends and family to give them another way to donate and spread the reach of your campaign. 
  • Use simple messaging. People who prefer texts likely also prefer brevity when it comes to messages. Be clear and concise in your text message response and on your donation page

Texting is a way to casually connect with donors who may be overwhelmed by your volunteer programs or website. Start a text-to-give campaign to offer donors a simple way to contribute to your cause. 

Fundraising is all about earning the revenue you need to keep your cause going while spreading the word about your organization, your mission, and your ongoing work. Whether it’s online or in-person, fundraisers are an opportunity to educate your supporters and inspire them to join your cause. Use your branding, powerful language, and online marketing materials to ensure your online fundraising success.

About the Author

Howard Gottlieb

Howard Gottlieb has been a serial entrepreneur for more than 35 years. His latest venture, Read-a-thon, is a novel school fundraising concept that truly shifts the paradigm when it matters most. Read-a-thon replaces in-person bake sales, magazine drives and the like with a contactless method of raising much needed cash, one that can be used both in real classrooms and virtual learning spaces. The real bonus? It promotes literacy and gets kids excited about picking up a book.

8 Critical Questions to Ask During a Nonprofit Re-Brand

Reflect – Rethink – Rebrand on wooden blocks. Business and inspiration concept

When you think of branding, you might envision corporations branding their products with a logo or a catchy slogan at the end of a commercial. Yes, these are all examples of branding, but they’re only half of the picture. The concept of brand recognition isn’t exclusive to for-profit entities. In fact, your nonprofit should have its own brand identity that shapes your community-building interactions. 

If you’re new to branding, you might have some questions about how to go through the process, from shaping your story to personalizing your social media profiles. Don’t worry, this is a good thing! Here are some questions to ask and answer throughout the nonprofit branding process so you can ensure you have all your bases covered. Let’s get started!

1. What is nonprofit branding?

Nonprofit branding is what distinctly sets you apart from other nonprofits in the space, attracting supporters that resonate with your specific identity. The branding process entails creating a strong public-facing persona for your nonprofit through design and messaging. It’s far more than just your website design or your marketing materials. Essentially, it’s the who, what, and why your nonprofit presents to your community. 

2. What’s our current branding strategy?

Every rebranding strategy needs a baseline to build off of. Take some time to assess your current nonprofit branding strategy, focusing on elements such as your mission statement, messaging, online presence, and visual elements (logo, colors, and font). Then, decide which elements you want to keep and which ones aren’t working as well for your organization so you know where to begin. 

3. Why are we rebranding?

Once you’ve thoroughly analyzed your current brand status, it’s time to tackle a different question: why will a rebrand benefit our organization? Here are some common reasons nonprofits decide to rebrand that might resonate with your organization:

  • To add cohesion to your identity
  • To appeal to a new audience
  • To level up to industry standards
  • To compete with the opposition
  • To accommodate new products or mission
  • To make your brand complement your advertising or outreach strategy

Your rebranding is a large undertaking, so understanding exactly what your goals are is essential for staying focused.

4. What’s our new brand vision?

If you don’t know exactly what you want your new brand to look like, never fear! There are many ways to be inspired by the world around you. Here are some ways to come up with a few ideas:

  • Take inspiration from many organizations in the space, both for- and nonprofit. 
  • Ask your nonprofit colleagues for advice.
  • Consider which tactics have worked for you in the past that you want to keep.
  • Ask your current supporters and board members what they’d like to see change.

The sheer amount of branding possibilities can make the process feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Use the resources around you to jumpstart your creative process!

5. When do we want our rollout finished?

Once you set your goals based on who you’re trying to reach with your brand, you should pick a target completion date for your rebrand. Setting a completion date for your rebrand from the very beginning is crucial to prioritize only your most important updates. Be sure to set reasonable goals based on your timeframe. For example, a simple logo rebrand won’t take as long as a comprehensive website rebrand. 

Your timeframe also determines the scope of your campaign. If you only have a month, it probably isn’t feasible to undertake a holistic campaign that would normally take six months to execute. Understand that a comprehensive, high-quality strategy can’t be rolled out overnight, so you should prioritize the work that needs to be done.

6. How does my story fit in?

You can shape your brand identity in many ways, but the most important is by strategically telling your story. 

Every nonprofit is built on a good story. If you present yours compellingly, people will naturally gravitate toward you to learn more about it. So, figuring out your storytelling strategy is a crucial part of your branding process. Keep in mind are Getting Attention’s elements to consider while crafting your story:

  • Understand your audience. The very first step might seem obvious to you, but its importance can’t be overstated. Start your storytelling process off on the right foot by firmly grasping your audience’s characteristics and what they respond best to. For example, if your supporters are mostly older, saturating your story with new slang that they don’t know isn’t the best idea. To learn more about your unique audience members, examine your performance analytics, such as content performance and engagement by demographic, and adapt your ideas from there. 
  • Activate empathy in your audience. Humans are emotional beings! You should leverage this trait by including emotionally compelling media in your story. For instance, if you’re creating a tab on your website dedicated to storytelling, include photos and videos. This media transcends language, conveying emotion to an even broader audience than your written segments can. 
  • Highlight specific goals. Broadly, you should show a connection between your mission statement, vision statement, and your story. You can also use your story to emphasize a wide range of performance indicators, such as money raised or membership growth rate. 

At the end of the day, you know your story better than anyone else, so brainstorm with your team to determine the most effective storytelling method. It’ll introduce you to many new audiences that care about your mission.

7. How will we plan our rebranding campaign?

You should spend ample time preparing in advance so that your rebranding journey is as smooth as possible. Moreover, you should use several materials to center your thinking, such as:

  • A brand style guide. This is where you can let your creativity take control to determine your artistic branding. Include your logo, colors, and fonts for all of your materials. Be as detailed as possible by including your brand color hex codes and examples of your graphics. Keep it consistent across all of your platforms and deliverables so your viewers correctly associate you with your brand.
  • A digital strategy plan. The new normal for making your organization visible is by promoting it over the internet. So, if you haven’t invested in your digital presence yet, it’s time to get started! In this guide, you’ll lay out your trajectory for all things digital outreach. For example, you might discuss redesigning your website or launching new social media profiles to reach new audiences. 
  • A language and tone guide. Your language choices and tone throughout your written materials should be consistent. Your tone determines the feeling you want your audience to associate with your brand. To help define your tone and brand personality, brainstorm a list of tone adjectives to characterize your organization and brand.  
  • A data collection method. As with any significant change, you want to monitor your progress over time so you know what you need to change. You should plan how you’ll measure success throughout the rebranding process. How will your key performance indicators (KPIs) change with your new brand? You might keep track of metrics such as your social media engagement and share of voice, blog post engagement, and other awareness-related KPIs to monitor the response to your rebrand. 
  • A call-to-action plan. Throughout your written materials, you should include calls-to-action (CTAs) to prompt your audience to complete certain activities. These should be structured around achieving your predetermined goals. For example, you might include specific guidelines for your website call-to-action buttons or how you’ll draw email recipients to your website using CTAs. 

Keeping organized is the key to a successful rebranding campaign, so stay on top of the planning process!

8. Who will help us with our nonprofit rebrand?

There’s no doubt that refreshing your brand can be a daunting task. If you want further support, consider working with a nonprofit branding agency. According to Fifty & Fifty, they’ll provide numerous services such as: 

  • Graphic design
  • Web design
  • Online ad campaign design
  • Social media content production
  • Search engine optimization

Experts in branding know what makes donors tick and new visitors click. They’ll be able to guide you and transform your brand into one that donors and prospects love. Plus, they provide in-depth KPI analysis and insights so you know what’s working and what should change. Working with a nonprofit branding agency is a great way to kick off your rebranding efforts to impress your community.

Keeping your brand up to date is a large undertaking, but is incredibly important for your nonprofit to appear fresh and in touch with your community. You don’t have to go through it alone, either; nonprofit branding agencies and your connections in the field will help motivate you throughout the process. Ultimately, your prospective supporters might know who you are, but your new branding will center your why for all to see.

About the Author

Javan Van Gronigen
Creative Director | Founder

As Founder and Creative Director of Fifty & Fifty, Javan is the tip of the proverbial spear. Javan started his digital design career 20 years ago as Art Director for what is now one of the world’s largest digital agencies (Mirum, a JWT Company). He then moved on to Invisible Children where he was responsible for managing the team and all digital assets through the entire historic Kony 2012 campaign. At Fifty & Fifty, Javan has participated in and led every project, including 300+ websites, campaigns, and brands.

8 Dos and Don’ts of Building a Nonprofit Volunteer Program

Three volunteers help clean up the beach

To build a volunteer program that supporters want to get involved with, you need to focus on each part of the program, from your recruitment strategy to your branding approach

Looking for tips on how to make your program as effective as possible? Good news: There are tried-and-true best practices you can follow. Let’s take a look at what to do and what not to do when creating your nonprofit’s volunteer program. 

Do: Create a targeted recruitment strategy. 

A targeted recruitment strategy increases your marketing team’s return on investment (ROI) because you’ll connect with audience members who are most likely to be interested in your volunteer program rather than casting a wide net and hoping to engage one or two volunteers. 

Reach out to people who have already expressed interest in your organization and may be the right fit for your volunteer program. These individuals may include: 

  • Lapsed volunteers
  • Social media followers
  • Email subscribers
  • Past event attendees
  • Donors

After you identify these individuals, send them messages that resonate with their interests. For instance, you might send your lapsed volunteers a message saying “We miss you! Want to get involved in the work we’re doing today? Here are a few upcoming activities that we think are the right fit for you.” You can also create social media posts highlighting your program’s opportunities and benefits to give followers a sense of how they can and why they should participate. 

Finding new volunteers is similar to reaching out to new donors. Both processes require connecting with your prospective supporters and highlighting the aspects of your organization that will appeal to them the most. 

You can even use the same tools, such as your donor management software, to engage volunteers. Your donor management software or donor database should contain information about not only your donors, but also your past event attendees, lapsed volunteers, and other individuals who have engaged with your nonprofit over the years. This tool will help you collect contact information for prospective volunteers and create communication strategies to reach out to them. 

Don’t: Neglect volunteer safety. 

Safety should be your number one priority when planning your volunteer opportunities. Consider things like this when choosing how your volunteers can help you carry out your mission: 

  • Physical safety: Although it may seem obvious, it’s worth the reminder: The activities you plan should be safe to do. If there is a risk of injury—like when building a house for a family in need—provide a thorough training process so all volunteers feel comfortable using your equipment or carrying out specific responsibilities. You should also have them read, agree to, and sign waivers to highlight the potential risks of volunteer activities and protect your organization from liability. 
  • Cybersecurity: If you offer online registration tools and/or virtual volunteer opportunities, keep volunteers’ personal information safe through airtight cybersecurity practices. These practices include requiring complex passwords for your online registration system, such as using a mix of character types and requiring that the password have a minimum number of characters. If you accept credit card information from volunteers, your payment system should be PCI compliant. That means it should align with established security standards. 

Poor security practices, whether in-person or virtual, can leave a lasting negative impression on your volunteers and expose them to unnecessary risk. On the other hand, emphasizing safety measures will provide volunteers with an experience that builds their trust in your nonprofit. 

Do: Consider volunteers’ interests and preferences.

Your volunteers likely have a wide range of life experiences and skills. That’s why you should offer a variety of volunteer opportunities. 

According to Double the Donation’s volunteer management guide, volunteering can take many forms, including:

  • Event volunteering
  • Skilled volunteering (including providing specific services like PR assistance, legal guidance, or accounting support) 
  • Administrative work
  • Advocacy

Conduct surveys to gather information about the types of volunteer opportunities that supporters are most interested in, whether it’s the ones listed above or opportunities unique to your organization’s work. Then, assign the volunteers to the opportunities you know they would be best suited to do. 

Don’t: Bore your volunteers. 

Your volunteer opportunities should be closely tied to and help make an impact on your organization’s overall mission. By involving volunteers in hands-on projects that directly support your goals, they’ll be more engaged and fulfilled. 

For example, if your nonprofit runs a community kitchen for people in need, assign your volunteers different prep tasks so they know they’ve helped put food on the proverbial table. If your organization is an animal shelter, allow volunteers to walk and bathe pets and introduce people to them at adoption events. 

Even when you’re completing routine tasks like stapling pamphlets or sorting canned foods, make your volunteer opportunities more engaging by adding a fun twist. You might play upbeat music or challenge volunteers to sort as many cans as possible, then give a prize to the winning team or individual. 

Do: Brand your volunteer program. 

Your nonprofit’s brand gives audience members an idea of your mission, purpose, and message. Branding your volunteer program can play a similar role in introducing these new opportunities to supporters. 

Your volunteer program’s brand should be a variation of your organization’s primary brand, using some of the same elements so supporters understand that the two are related. As you design the program’s brand, you might use the secondary colors in your brand color palette or a variation of your main logo. 

Make the program distinct from your nonprofit’s other activities by giving it a unique name. For instance, if your volunteer program is focused on local tree conversation, you might call volunteers “Tree Defenders” or “The Tree Team.” 

Branding your nonprofit’s volunteer program helps you increase program awareness. It can also give your volunteers a sense of community, especially when you offer them branded merchandise like matching t-shirts.  

Don’t: Pigeonhole volunteers.

You may find yourself only sending information about upcoming volunteer opportunities to your growing volunteer pool. However, volunteers might be interested in supporting your nonprofit in other ways as well.

Promoting those other opportunities will help your volunteers become even more invested in your mission and inspire them to have a greater impact. Volunteers may also be interested in:

By sending your volunteers information about different ways to engage with your organization, you can appeal to their desire to get more involved. Highlight these opportunities using your social media posts and emails.

Do: Ask volunteers for feedback. 

Build your volunteer program with volunteers’ preferences in mind every step of the way. If you’re uncertain about what your volunteers think, just ask!

Show volunteers that you care about listening to and implementing their feedback by sending them a post-volunteer event survey. Ask questions such as:

  • On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate the volunteer experience? 
  • Did you feel the training process adequately prepared you for the experience? 
  • Would you participate in our program again? Why or why not?
  • Would you recommend our volunteer program to a family member or friend? 

Use volunteers’ responses to adjust your program strategy and let volunteers know how you’re incorporating their feedback. For example, send an email summarizing three to four key trends that emerged from a recent batch of surveys and how your organization plans to adjust your upcoming opportunities accordingly.

Don’t: Forget to show appreciation.

Just as you steward your donors, you must also actively build relationships with volunteers to retain them for the long haul. An effective volunteer stewardship strategy starts with showing your appreciation for your volunteers. 

Here are a few volunteer appreciation ideas to incorporate into your program: 

  • Send thank you emails after each opportunity summarizing what your volunteers accomplished and how they helped your mission.
  • Highlight volunteers’ accomplishments on social media and via your email newsletters. 
  • Send volunteers thank you gifts, such as free merchandise or gift cards. 

Expressing gratitude for volunteers is crucial for improving your volunteer retention rate. This will help you increase your ROI when it comes to finding new long-term volunteers and expanding the program in the future.  

By following these tips, you should be able to build a strong, sustainable volunteer program that engages supporters and helps your organization work more efficiently toward its mission. 

About the Author

Jay Love
Co-Founder and current Chief Relationship Officer at Bloomerang

He has served this sector for 33 years and is considered the most well-known senior statesman whose advice is sought constantly.

Prior to Bloomerang, he was the CEO and Co-Founder of eTapestry for 11 years, which at the time was the leading SaaS technology company serving the charity sector. Jay and his team grew the company to more than 10,000 nonprofit clients, charting a decade of record growth.

He is a graduate of Butler University with a B.S. in Business Administration. Over the years, he has given more than 2,500 speeches around the world for the charity sector and is often the voice of new technology for fundraisers.

Connecting Mission-Driven Boards to Donors: Why It Matters

Your donors and your board members might seem like completely disconnected groups in your organization. While your board is a small but powerful team that steers the direction of your organization, your donors are a vast collection of individuals that pitch in to empower your fundraising campaigns and keep your organization afloat.

However, your board members and your donors are actually two sides of the same coin. In particular, both groups help propel your mission forward, represent your values, and raise awareness for your cause. But if that’s the case, then why do these groups tend to rarely work together? 

Encouraging a sustainable relationship between your board members and your donors is an excellent way to boost engagement and improve your public image. Donors want to feel more involved with your organization, and a connection with your board members offers them a glimpse into the inner workings of your organization. Similarly, it’s helpful for board members to get to know your donor base and understand how to work together. 

Overall, establishing some familiarity between your board members and your donors has several key benefits, including: 

Fortunately for many causes, the framework to make these relationships possible is already in place. All you need to do is to extend the invitation. You might be surprised to learn that your board members and donors are eager to get to know one another. 

Plus, connecting your board members with your donors might help to increase overall board engagement and could raise more donations, which will benefit your organization as a whole.

Establishing a strong community. 

No matter the size of your nonprofit, building a community within your organization is important. A strong community means that your supporters are more likely to spread the word about your mission, keep one another informed about updates, and attend upcoming events. 

Establishing a sense of community among your board and then a separate community among your donors has its own benefits. A united board is more productive and more comfortable sharing new ideas, while effectively engaging donors and creating meaningful donor relationships increases the chance of these supporters becoming major contributors. 

If a strong community already brings several assets to your board and your donors, a connection between the two groups would bring even greater advantages to your organization. Here are some ways to establish a better relationship between your board members and your donors: 

  • Dinner parties: If your board members and some donors have briefly met before, consider inviting them to a dinner party at your facility. They can get to know each other in a relaxed atmosphere. 
  • Mixers: Want to get lots of donors to interact with your board members? A mixer can be an effective way to kickstart the relationship between interested donors and your board members. 
  • Outdoor activities: Especially if your organization is nature-focused, an outdoor activity or event, such as hiking or a picnic, is a cost-effective and fun way to engage your board members and your donors. 
  • Volunteer events: Several of your donors or board members might already volunteer with your organization, but hosting a specific volunteer day or weekend for donors and board members will give both groups the chance to meet and chat, all while furthering your cause.
  • Team building exercises: Organizing a team-building activity is a great way to reinforce the idea that your board members and your donors are working toward the same goal. Try an escape room, an obstacle course, or a scavenger hunt to encourage your board members and your donors to work together. 

Creating a community among your board members and your donors requires time and effort, but with so many long-term benefits for fundraising, donor retention, and board engagement, the extra work is well worth it. 

Encouraging deeper involvement. 

Stronger bonds across different sections of your organization can encourage your supporters to attend a wider variety of events. For example, if your donors have had positive experiences with your board members and with your volunteers, they will likely want to attend events with both groups. 

By building a stronger community between your board members and your donors, you can simultaneously encourage both groups to get more involved. For this reason, connecting these two groups is crucial for sustainable participation. 

Additionally, you could design programs specifically aimed at creating opportunities for donors and board members to work together. Some collaboration ideas include: 

  • Partner programs between donors and board members: For your local donors, design a partner program where you pair a donor and a board member together. The partners could brainstorm ideas for an upcoming event or lead a volunteer training program. 
  • Donor input at board meetings: Create an online feedback form where donors can contribute ideas for your organization to further its cause, and then set aside some time at each board meeting to discuss donors’ ideas. Record your discussion in your board’s minutes and make them publicly available to show donors that you’re acting on their ideas. 
  • Matching gift program: According to 360MatchPro’s matching gift statistics page, more than 18 million people work for companies with matching gift programs. This is a great opportunity for your donors and board members to collaborate and research potential match opportunities, especially if many of your board members and donors happen to work for the same company. 

Maintaining board and donor engagement is one of the most challenging aspects of running a mission-driven organization. But by facilitating a working relationship between your board members and your donors with plenty of involvement opportunities, you can effectively engage both groups at once. 

Building an open line of communication. 

Connecting your board members with your donors also opens an essential line of communication between the individuals who steer your organization and the individuals who make those strategic plans possible.

As your board works on your organization’s long-term goals, they should be interested in your donors’ preferred direction for the future of your organization. Similarly, your donors want to know how their contributions are being used to forward your mission, and sharing this impact can play an important role in enhancing your donor communications

There are several ways that you could open the line of communication between your board members and your donors. You can: 

  • Publish your board meeting minutes: Most often, your board members will discuss how to allocate donations, and donors have a right to know this information. Consider publishing a public-facing version of your minutes for your donors to review. This Boardable guide to board meeting minutes can help you record efficient and comprehensive notes that cover all the necessary details your supporters need to know. 
  • Host Q&A sessions: Invested donors would be delighted to have an evening to ask board members all of their questions about how your organization works and how you’re achieving your mission. 
  • Involve donors in the board member selection process: It can be hard to determine if a prospective board member is the right person for your organization. Getting some input from donors can help you decide who to involve while simultaneously allowing your donors to play a bigger role in your organization.

Bridging the communication gap between donors and board members can clear up any points of confusion and make it easier to plan for big-picture changes that appeal to all parties. That way, everyone will be on the same page about how to move forward and will appreciate knowing their opinions matter.

Increasing transparency.

Fraud and corruption risk don’t only impact for-profit organizations — they’re a threat to the mission-driven world as well. With this in mind, it’s understandable that your donors will want to know how their money is being spent. 

Donors might feel more trusting of your organization if they feel connected to your board members. If you’re transparent about your onboarding process for new members, how your board meetings are run, and what tasks your board handles, your donors will have a better sense of your board’s purpose and your organization’s goals. 

Another way to increase transparency between your board and your donors is to publish the results of all voting items after a meeting. This way, your donors can understand what decisions were made and how this will impact your strategy moving forward. 

Overall, the more transparency you can offer your donors, the better. Not only does increasing your board’s transparency reduce the distance between board members and donors, but it also ensures that you’re managing your organization honestly and ethically.

Adding a more personal touch. 

Because donors naturally outnumber your board members, your donors might feel as though their voices aren’t being heard by your organization’s leaders. When it comes to building lasting relationships with your supporters, you want to show your donors that they are invaluable to your organization. 

For this reason, connecting your donors with board members can add a personal touch to the way that you conduct your supporter relations. As you probably know, personalizing your outreach materials and segmenting your donors often leads to higher response, conversion, and retention rates. 

So, if personalization can enhance your fundraising and outreach efforts so significantly, why not apply the same personal approach to relationship-building? With these strategies, you can potentially create lasting connections for years to come. 

To take a personalized approach to the donor experience, designate a point of contact or two for donors to reach out to with feedback or suggestions. Donors will feel as though they have a direct line for sharing their suggestions. For larger donor bases, you might consider only sharing the contact information with major donors, because an influx of emails or calls can easily overwhelm your board members. 

Your board members can also get involved with other aspects of interacting with donors. For instance, they might personally reach out to request donations or say thank you to those who have recently given to deepen those connections even further. No matter your approach, connecting your donors with your board members will naturally personalize each donor’s experience.

Connecting your board members with your donors is a great way to grow your organization’s community, encourage more people to get involved, and give your donors insight into the inner workings of your organization. Although it might take some extra effort to forge these connections, they can propel your organization’s work forward. 

Author: Jeb Banner is the founder and CEO of Boardable, a board management software provider for mission-driven boards. He is also the founder of two nonprofits, The Speak Easy and Musical Family Tree, as well as a board member of United Way of Central Indiana and ProAct. Jeb is based in Indianapolis, Indiana.

4 Ways to Boost Your Volunteer Program’s Brand Recognition

What is your volunteer program’s brand? Or, maybe a better question, does your volunteer program have a brand, to begin with?

Your volunteer program’s brand encompasses your logo, brand colors, fonts, and the tone and message you’re trying to convey to your audience. When these elements are streamlined and cohesive, your brand becomes a powerful marketing tool for appealing to and recruiting new volunteers to help your cause. 

If you’re looking for creative ways to engage volunteers and increase your program’s brand recognition, you’re in the right place! We’ll review these four tips for boosting your volunteer program’s brand awareness: 

  1. Create a brand style guide. 
  2. Develop your brand’s personality.
  3. Design branded merchandise.
  4. Use uniform branding across marketing platforms.

Ready to improve your volunteer engagement strategy with greater brand awareness? Let’s dive in. 

1. Create a brand style guide. 

It’s vital to document all of your brand elements in a written style guide. This guide should consist of all of the defined elements that your team will need while creating any communications on behalf of your organization. Your brand style guide is a crucial guiding resource for creating digital and print marketing materials. 

Your brand style guide should include specifications for your brand’s:

  • Logo – Include several logo variations, such as black and white versions or other color options.
  • Colors – Note your brand colors with their hex codes and label primary and secondary colors.
  • Fonts – List all of your approved fonts, when each font should be used, and specify the guidelines for using bold, italics, and different font sizes.
  • Tone/message – Provide information on the tone of your volunteer program’s brand by mentioning the types of words your team members should use and when or avoid communications and describe your brand’s personality.

Remember to make your volunteer program style guide easily accessible once completed. Send it out to your full team, and let them know who to contact if they have any questions or concerns. This ensures that everyone is aligned with your brand guidelines!

2. Develop your brand’s personality.

Beyond the visual elements, one of the most impactful elements of your brand strategy is your brand’s personality, tone, and message. These elements convey your program’s beliefs and values and form a strong impression in audience members’ minds.

Your brand’s story and personality are crucial factors that will help you get the attention of your target audience. A brand personality refers to the human characteristics that are associated with a brand. For example, a friendly brand will use more of an informal tone and warm, inviting colors.

Getting Attention’s nonprofit branding guide describes these main elements of developing your brand’s message:

  • Connect with your audience using a message that compels them to act.
  • Make interacting with your brand a rewarding experience for volunteers.
  • Include calls to action to encourage prospective volunteers to join your organization.
  • Create a memorable message using emotion and tangible rewards. 

When you develop your brand’s personality, it allows you to determine how you will choose other brand elements, such as colors and fonts. These help craft a well-rounded sensory experience for your target audience.

3. Design branded merchandise.

Creating branded merchandise turns your volunteers into walking advertisements for your program. When they wear or use your merchandise in public, they help spread awareness of your logo, colors, and other brand elements. These also make great gifts to show gratitude to your helpful volunteer team!

Consider creating branded merchandise such as:

  • T-shirts – This is a great way to promote your volunteer program to a larger audience. Use a t-shirt design platform to develop your custom t-shirts. Remember to brand your t-shirts with your organization’s logo and colors.
  • Mugs – Designing mugs with your organization’s logo along with your volunteers’ names reminds them of your organization each time they enjoy a drink! Plus, your logo won’t wear away over time.
  • Tote bags – Tote bags can be used over and over again, at the grocery store, department stores, or just for general storage. Consider offering a sustainable tote bag designed for every age and brand it with your company’s colors and logo.
  • Sweatshirts – Who doesn’t love comfy sweatshirts? This will not only make a great gift for your volunteers but will easily help get your organization’s name across when your volunteers wear it.

Make things fun by asking your volunteers to participate in a design competition. Ask volunteers to submit design ideas and allow them to vote on their favorites using a poll system. This is a great way to get all your volunteers engaged and feel a part of your nonprofit.

4. Use uniform branding across marketing platforms.

Now that you’ve got a better understanding of your brand’s elements and personality, it’s time to get your strategy up and running. As InitLive’s volunteer management guide explains, effective volunteer recruitment requires a multi-channel marketing approach. To keep your brand consistent and raise awareness, we recommend keeping your branding elements uniform across platforms.

These platforms include your:

  • Volunteer management app – This will help you improve your communications with your team by sending alert notifications to everyone all at once. Your volunteer management app can be branded with your logo, colors, and fonts to help reinforce brand recognition and offer volunteers a professional, uniform experience. 
  • Social media profiles – Social media is one of the most effective ways to reach a large audience all at once! Create fun and engaging posts and stories to attract your viewers. This is the perfect way to tell a story about what your organization is all about.
  • Printed materials, such as flyers and direct mail advertisements – This is the time to use your graphic design skills and create exciting flyers and other marketing materials to get your name and brand across! Post these in high-traffic areas where your target market is most likely to see them.

Every marketing message that is created on behalf of your volunteer program is an opportunity to inspire and bring in new people to support your cause. This is why it’s crucial to ensure that all of your materials and communications promote a consistent and cohesive brand story.

Exceptional branding is critical to help you raise awareness of your volunteer program. Now that you’ve learned several ways to boost your program’s brand recognition, it’s time to start planning accordingly and put it into action! Whether you want to attract new volunteers or remind your organization’s existing volunteers why they dedicate their time to your organization, investing in a well-thought-out brand will set your program up for success!

About the Author

Shreya Tragad

Shreya is a creative content creator focusing on delivering information about the importance of volunteerism for nonprofit organizations. She is passionate about creating engaging content, writing, and graphic design to help viewers easily retain information. You can find her work at or on Linkedin and Twitter.

How to Multiply Your Reach With Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Digital tools have enabled nonprofits to expand their reach further than they could through traditional means. Whenever your nonprofit posts on social media, texts and emails supporters, or hosts virtual events, you’re taking steps to build your network and attract more attention to your cause. One of your best assets for online outreach may be a little less obvious: your supporters. 

Each of your supporters has a personal network that extends beyond your nonprofit. Many of your supporters’ friends and family may also be interested in supporting your nonprofit, and you can get in touch with them through a peer-to-peer campaign. Plus, with a peer-to-peer campaign, new supporters will be more inclined to give to someone they know personally than to your nonprofit performing cold outreach. 

Peer-to-peer campaigns have several moving parts, and helping your volunteer fundraisers find success requires a combination of careful strategy and the right software tools. To help your nonprofit maximize its reach through your peer-to-peer campaigns, this article will explore how to:

  1. Provide your volunteers with resources. 
  2. Onboard your volunteer fundraisers. 
  3. Invest in peer-to-peer software. 
  4. Follow up with new donor contacts. 

These tips can be used for all types of peer-to-peer campaigns, whether you’re fundraising, launching a nonprofit advocacy campaign, or promoting an event. No matter which type you’re hosting, be sure to support and thank your volunteers throughout the entire campaign to solidify their connection to your cause and potentially earn a long-term volunteer. 

1. Provide your volunteers with resources. 

Donors are motivated to give for a variety of reasons, and many of them choose to support causes that they or their friends and family have a personal connection with. In fact, according to 360MatchPro’s fundraising statistics, Millennials are far more likely to support and engage with causes if their peers already are. 

Of course, many nonprofits already know that peer-to-peer fundraisers work, as 360MatchPro also reports that 39% of nonprofits use a peer-to-peer fundraising platform. However, knowing your nonprofit should host a peer-to-peer campaign and knowing what resources your volunteers will need during your campaign are two different things. 

To help support your volunteers, be sure to provide them with:

  • Fundraising pages. Peer-to-peer campaigns work because the donors this fundraiser attracts have personal relationships with your volunteers. You can make the most of these connections by allowing donors to give to specific volunteers through customizable fundraising pages. Encourage your volunteers to make these pages their own with photos, their stories, and other personal details. 
  • Information and statistics. Your volunteer fundraisers believe in your cause, but many of them might need a little help pitching your nonprofit to others. Provide your volunteers with stories and statistics about your cause that they can share while campaigning on your behalf. 
  • Outreach strategies. What is the most effective way to reach potential donors? Chances are that few of your volunteers are fundraising professionals, and your nonprofit can help them answer this question by providing advice on how to best reach donors. For instance, some nonprofits implement peer-to-peer texting strategies to take advantage of high text message open rates. 

By providing volunteers with resources, you will improve their ability to fundraise on your behalf and also create a better experience for them. Remember that peer-to-peer campaigns are also an opportunity to engage volunteers and build stronger relationships with them that can secure their future support.

2. Onboard your volunteer fundraisers. 

While your volunteers could theoretically jump straight into fundraising after they’re recruited, doing so will likely lead to a confused and uncoordinated campaign. Be sure to set up an onboarding process and have your volunteers complete it before giving them the go-ahead to start fundraising. 

For most nonprofits, the onboarding process will likely include sending volunteers several helpful documents they can refer to throughout your peer-to-peer campaign and arranging a meeting to touch base with all volunteers and answer questions. During your onboarding process, make sure you cover the following steps:

  • Teach them how to use software tools. As mentioned, providing your volunteers with personal fundraising pages can help them gather more support. To help them make the most of these pages, spend time teaching them how to customize their page and share templates they can use to get started. 
  • Go over branding guidelines. While you should encourage each of your volunteers to share their own stories and personal relationship with your nonprofit, you’ll also want to provide them with information about your nonprofit branding strategy. For example, you might share specific phrases they should use when discussing your nonprofit, promotional images they can share and other general advice for how to properly represent your organization.
  • Connect them with their manager and other volunteers. Throughout your peer-to-peer campaign, there might be times when your volunteers will need help. Make sure they know who your volunteer manager is and how they can get in touch with them. Additionally, encourage your volunteers to get to know one another so they can support each others’ campaigns. 

During the onboarding process, you should also discuss your peer-to-peer campaign’s general strategy to make sure your volunteers and your nonprofit are on the same page. This might include when they should launch their campaigns, what social media platforms they should use, and what your campaign’s overall goal is.

3. Invest in peer-to-peer software.

Online peer-to-peer campaigns rely on software to function, and the platform your nonprofit chooses will shape your campaign’s fundraising strategy. There are many different peer-to-peer fundraising solutions available, each focusing on a different aspect of peer-to-peer campaigns. When assessing solutions, look for the following features:

  • Fundraising pages. Customizable fundraising pages should be one of your top priorities to help your volunteers put a personal touch on their campaign. Be sure the solution you choose has user-friendly customization tools so your volunteers can easily edit their pages. 
  • Reporting and analytics tools. Your peer-to-peer campaign will generate a lot of data from both your volunteers and new donors. Ensure your peer-to-peer software solution has real-time reporting and allows you to create custom reports and segment your supporters based on key metrics. 
  • Event management features. If you’re planning to run an event alongside your peer-to-peer campaign, consider choosing a solution with event management tools. These can include event registration pages and communication tools, so you can quickly send out event invitations to donors your volunteers connect with during your campaign. 

If you invest in a new peer-to-peer solution, be sure to give your team time to familiarize themselves with your software. This way they will be able to better help your volunteers learn how to use key features and can provide assistance if they run into any technical issues. 

4. Follow up with new donor contacts. 

Many donors who give during peer-to-peer fundraisers tend to only give one-time gifts, as they donated to support their friend or family member and are less familiar with your nonprofit. However, with the right data management and communication strategies, your nonprofit can increase your ability to retain even these donors. 

During your campaign, you will collect basic information about these donors, such as their contact information, the size of their gift, and that they have a connection to one of your volunteers. This information might seem limited, but it can still be useful for your outreach efforts. Salsa’s guide to smart engagement technology provides insight into how your data can help your communication strategy, especially for automated messages:

  • When to communicate. When should you get in touch with your new supporters? While you should send a thank you message immediately after your donors’ first gift, when should you next get in touch with them? Run A/B tests to find both how frequently and the best times of day to send messages. For example, you might find that emails tend to see higher response rates in the middle of the day around lunchtime, whereas social media posts do better in the evening. 
  • How to communicate. What channels should you use to message your supporters? During a peer-to-peer campaign, if your volunteers primarily used Facebook to perform their outreach, your nonprofit might receive higher engagement rates if you send Facebook messages rather than emails to these donors. 
  • What to communicate. Tailor each message to its recipient. This means including personal details, such as addressing each supporter by their preferred name and referencing their participation in your peer-to-peer campaign. Additionally, when it is time to make another donation request, try basing the amount you ask for on the donors’ previous gift. 

Additionally, be sure to also follow up with your volunteers after your peer-to-peer campaign. Thank them for all of their hard work, and consider other appreciation activities, such as hosting events or sending small gifts like your nonprofit’s merchandise, to help build long-term relationships that can come in handy during your next peer-to-peer fundraiser. 

Peer-to-peer fundraisers can be complicated campaigns with several moving parts. But with the right management strategies, your nonprofit has the potential to expand your outreach far beyond your current supporter network. Be sure to provide your volunteers with the tools they need and take the steps to make sure you stay in touch with them. Good luck!

About the Author

Craig Grella

Craig Grella is a Content Marketer at Bonterra, the leader in social good technology. Bonterra enables and elevates the hardworking people at organizations that do social good by bringing together best-in-class tools and technology. In his role, Craig serves thousands of nonprofits and advocacy organizations across the U.S.

Craig focuses on digital strategy using email marketing, online advertising campaigns, SMS campaigns, CRM management, reporting/analytics for KPIs, and more. He’s also the founder of Think Big Campaigns, a full-service consulting firm that specializes in political consulting, digital organizing, and issue advocacy.

Why Should You Choose Online Waivers? 4 Main Reasons

As fundraising and event software continue to rapidly evolve and improve, your nonprofit has probably gathered a small arsenal of important digital tools and resources to boost your operations. After all, different event software solutions not only allow you to remotely engage with your supporters, but they can also help you process data more efficiently and give you a leg up as you try to reach new audiences from all over the world.

However, among the different event tools you’ve gathered over the past few years, there’s one powerful piece of software that you may have overlooked: online waivers. 

Legally and safety-wise, liability waivers are already a crucial event management tool. But by investing in a dedicated online waiver solution, you can make the most of this seemingly innocuous part of the event check-in process, maximize event success, and improve your supporter relationships.

In particular, we’ll cover the following major benefits of using online waiver software, as well as features to look out for:

  1. Convenient event registration processes
  2. Data-driven supporter insights
  3. Increased personalization efforts
  4. Future event planning assistance

No matter if you’re hosting a fitness-filled 5K or an elegant gala, online liability waivers can have a significant impact on the quality of your activities, management abilities, and future event communications.

Let’s dive in.

One of the most well-known benefits of the online waiver is its convenience, both for event participants and your nonprofit’s staff. By removing traditional concerns tied to liability waivers— such as storage, organization, retrieval, and security—you can streamline the signing process and create a safer, more efficient environment for all parties involved. 

In particular, online waivers can boost convenience and simplify the event check-in process by:

  • Providing secure cloud storage. Instead of having a huge closet with filing cabinets full of untouched paper forms, you can keep all your waiver information safe and secure in an online database. Waiver information can even be pulled in seconds if you need a particular form.
  • Allowing off-site signing. With an online waiver provider like Smartwaiver, participants can sign their liability waivers before even arriving for an event, thus skipping the lines on arrival and ensuring an easy, stress-free adventure. 
  • Integrating with marketing materials. Your online waiver can easily be embedded into your own website and/or online registration form for further accessibility and security. Some participants may not feel comfortable inputting their personal details and contact information in an unknown web form, but this way, they never have to leave your trusted domain to do so.

If your nonprofit has yet to make the switch to online event waiver software, now is the perfect time to do so. Take this as an opportunity to research further benefits and start building the foundation that will make event registration as seamless and as comfortable as possible for your donors, advocates, and loyal supporters.

If your nonprofit is already a proud user of online liability waivers, now is an opportune moment to use previously collected data to improve your engagement and donor stewardship strategies. 

Your staff can easily sort through, analyze, and make the most of the donor data from all the online waivers in your database. After all, one of the greatest benefits of online waivers is the ease of collection of useful data, so don’t let this resource go to waste. 

Using your data for marketing purposes is one of the smartest moves you can make, as attendee data can help you to build more effective outreach campaigns as you try to engage, retain, and acquire more support.

Here are some key data points that can be extracted from your online waivers (and some examples of what you can do with them!): 

  • Age: Find out what age group the majority of your supporters fall into. If your audience tends to skew younger, you may want to strengthen your online marketing practices, while an older audience may prefer traditional advertising efforts, such as direct mail. 
  • Gender: Do your events tend to cater to a predominantly male audience or are your activities composed of mostly female participants? Maybe your nonprofit appeals equally to all people, and that should be highlighted in your outreach efforts.
  • Location: Make note of whether the majority of participants come from around the same area as your nonprofit, or whether you have a good portion of tourists or other visitors partaking in the events. Then you’ll know how, when, and where to focus your marketing.
  • History: Take a look at whether your participants tend to return after their original experience with your nonprofit. If you have plenty of first-time visitors but few follow-ups, you may want to adjust your guest communication strategy to draw in repeat attendees.
  • Referral: In addition to basic contact information, consider asking participants where they heard about your nonprofit (online, word-of-mouth, advertisement, etc.). This is a great way to recognize the impact of various strategies and/or communication channels.

When you analyze and better understand the demographics and lifestyle trends of your current supporters, you’ll have a better idea of how to target those same supporters and others just like them. For more information, check out this AccuData guide to effective data marketing. Learn more about the type of data your team should be tracking so you can create a plan for successful growth.

In addition to any other marketing and communications strategies you may implement, one particular aspect to keep in mind is personalization for each supporter. 

Instead of sending out blanket, over-generalized event emails to your supporters, consider taking a more individualized approach. As you may have already encountered by personalizing your fundraising appeals and other donor outreach methods, personalization can have a powerful positive impact on your supporters, their view of your organization, and their likelihood of engaging with you in the future.

When you deal more personally with your supporters, you can create strengthened donor, volunteer, and attendee relationships that will last far longer than any single event. This is what makes it so important to extract online waiver data and infuse it into your event invitations, updates, and thank-you messages after the fact, strengthening your donor communications.

If you use your online waiver software correctly, you can easily find event attendees’ history with your nonprofit—such as what activities they’ve participated in, whether they’re a repeat customer, and how long it’s been since they’ve visited. Let them know you look forward to seeing them in the future, and consider offering perks like discounts, event merchandise, and other incentives to reconnect with your organization.

Finally, it’s important that your supporters have something to look forward to, especially as you try to steward newer supporters into lifetime donors and advocates of your nonprofit. Start planning events to boost excitement and build on the momentum you’ve gained from your previous events.

Thanks to the internet and other online tools, you can start to drum up interest well before the time of an event. With online waiver software, you can let eager participants sign weeks– or even months— ahead of time.

Additionally, you can effectively use donor data you’ve collected from previous event waivers to jumpstart your planning. Use information like past attendee numbers, audience demographics, and even mobility and accessibility limitations to create an event that’s as appealing as possible for your supporters.

Events are a critical part of how you engage with your nation of supporters, which makes it incredibly important to keep them going as smoothly as possible. Make sure you have the right resources to maintain an efficient process, from the planning stages to registration and the completion of your event.

Not only do online liability waivers protect your nonprofit from lawsuits and legal damage, but they can also offer protection and guidance as you navigate the best practices for creating events that are as efficient and effective as possible.

By streamlining event registration and enhancing future event planning endeavors, your online waivers provide assistance in getting your event management processes into high gear and setting up your organization for greater event success!


This article was contributed by Daryl McCarl, Director of Business Development at Smartwaiver, the leading digital waiver service trusted by thousands of organizations around the world.

5 Ways to Build Community With Supporters on Social Media

You have likely seen nonprofit organizations using social media platforms like Facebook to fundraise, usually in the form of peer-to-peer campaigns. Fundraising on social media is a great strategy for nonprofits, but it’s not the only way your organization can use social media. 

When used correctly, social media is an essential tool in a nonprofit’s marketing strategy. In this guide, we’ll cover a few ways that you can use social media to build community with your supporters and strengthen donor relationships: 

  1. Use your platform to inform supporters
  2. Show the inner workings of your organization
  3. Engage with your followers 
  4. Go live! 
  5. Showcase your brand personality 

With these tips, your organization can properly capitalize on the benefits of social media for building a strong and loyal supporter community. Let’s get started!

Use your platform to inform supporters

While creating educational posts about your cause is important (and is likely something you already do), you can also create informative posts about things like how your nonprofit uses donations or how text-to-give works. Educating your followers about not only your cause but how they can get involved and how your organization actually works, will reduce barriers to involvement and increase their trust in your organization. 

For example, you could create a post with multiple graphics for Facebook and Instagram that walks supporters through how they can donate through text-to-give and how it works on the back end. You can also create video versions of these graphics to use on TikTok or Instagram Reels to reach more people! This not only helps non-tech-savvy supporters who would like to donate, but it can also help resolve any concerns about the security and validity of mobile and online donations. 

Bonus tip: After you share this kind of post once, you can reshare it or link to it when marketing new campaigns to continue providing that resource for new and existing supporters alike. You can also re-create updated versions if you need ideas for new content to post!

Show the inner workings of your organization

While you’re giving followers an insight into how donations work at your organization, you can take it a step further and get staff and volunteers involved. 

  • Staff or volunteer story “takeovers.” Various members of your staff, or even volunteers, can take turns being featured on your stories talking about what they do at your organization, why they’re involved, and more. 
  • “Day In The Life” posts. This type of content is usually best as a video or on stories. Have your social media manager record what volunteers or members of your staff do in a day to show followers how your organization works. 
  • Highlighting staff and volunteers. Another option is to introduce your staff or volunteers with static posts featuring an image and a “get to know me” blurb in the caption. Have them talk about themselves, what they do at your organization, and why they chose to get involved. 

Sharing more about the internal workings of your organization and the people that make your work possible is a great way to boost employee engagement. It’s also a creative volunteer engagement idea that can make volunteers feel more like insiders at your organization. Most of all, it helps supporters get to know your organization better, which will increase their connection to you and your cause. 

Engage with your followers 

Social media should not be looked at as a one-way medium. While you’re putting out content to your followers, you should also be engaging followers instead of just expecting them to interact with your content. 

Snowball’s guide to donor engagement highly recommends interacting with your supporters on social media to strengthen your relationship. Not only will this make your followers feel a stronger connection to you (and that you care about them!), but it’s also what the algorithms want to see. The more that accounts interact with each other, the more they show up in each other’s feeds. So, it’s in your best interest to engage with followers. 

To engage effectively, you should: 

  • Respond to comments and DMs in a timely manner.
  • Post to your stories (on platforms with this feature, like Instagram).
  • Use engagement stickers on stories like polls, quizzes, and question boxes.
  • Create a hashtag for supporters to use, then interact with and reshare relevant content in that hashtag.

No one likes a one-sided conversation, not even on social media. Taking the time to interact with your followers and show them they’re not just a faceless “like” to you will increase their connection to your organization and potentially boost your posts’ reach! 

Go live! 

Almost every social media platform now has some version of a “Live” feature that allows you to interact with supporters in real-time. You can go live to share an update while speaking directly to the camera, or do so during an event to share the excitement and success with supporters who couldn’t make it. Some organizations also use Lives to do educational discussions with experts or Q&A sessions for supporters. 

Here are some tips for going live:

  • Have a clear purpose for going live
  • Advertise your Live in the coming days and weeks
  • Make sure you have good lighting
  • Ask the viewers questions 
  • Address viewer comments on your Live
  • Download and save your Live to be repurposed or shared

The Live feature available on many social media platforms is an excellent digital tool for giving your followers a more personal view of and connection to your organization. Make sure you follow these tips to host high-quality Lives that your followers want to engage with!

Showcase your brand personality 

Social media can be overwhelming because of the sheer amount of content that gets shared every minute. It can feel difficult to stand out or even just show up in this environment. That’s exactly why it’s crucial to create a cohesive brand image that makes your content recognizable. You can do that by: 

  • Using consistent fonts and colors. Pick a set of fonts and colors (ideally ones that match your website and customized donation page branding) and use them on all of your stories and graphics so that followers can easily recognize your posts. 
  • Choosing content pillars. You can choose to post, for example, three main types of content, like educational posts, behind the scenes, and trending content, and then build a content calendar around those pillars. 
  • Turning trends into relevant content. On platforms like TikTok and on Instagram Reels, learning to take a sound that many people are using in their videos and apply it to your niche is crucial for getting eyes on your content. Duolingo’s TikTok account is a great example of an organization doing this.

Because social media is an important part of a nonprofit’s digital campaigns according to Getting Attention, you want to do everything you can to stand out from the crowd. Consider all of these tips when you’re putting together your social media content strategy to create a cohesive and unique brand image. 

Social media can be a difficult beast to tackle, but with the right strategy and intent, it can be an incredibly powerful tool for connecting with existing and potential supporters. While you’re focusing on creating a killer social media strategy, don’t forget to make sure your donation page follows best practices for when you successfully convert followers into donors! 


John Killoran is an inventor, entrepreneur, and the Chairman of Clover Leaf Solutions, a national lab services company. He currently leads Clover Leaf’s investment in Snowball Fundraising, an online fundraising platform for nonprofit organizations. 

Snowball was one of John’s first public innovations; it’s a fundraising platform that offers text-to-give, online giving, events, and peer-to-peer fundraising tools for nonprofits. By making giving simple, Snowball increases the donations that these organizations can raise online. The Snowball effect is real! John founded Snowball in 2011. Now, it serves over 7,000 nonprofits and is the #1 nonprofit fundraising platform.

5 Online Donation Page Mistakes Nonprofits Should Avoid

What does an ideal online donation experience look like for a nonprofit donor? A few words might come to mind, such as easy, fast, or intuitive. And while donors want a seamless and simple online donation experience, the reality is that it takes a lot of effort on your nonprofit’s end to provide that experience. 

Of course, putting in the effort to improve the online donor journey is well worth it. Your nonprofit’s online donation page is a critical part of your digital toolkit. When a website visitor navigates through to your donation page and walks through the steps of contributing a donation to your cause, they’re providing you with the means to move your mission forward and giving your organization a vote of confidence that indicates they believe your work is making a difference. 

Though most nonprofits understand the importance of their online donation pages, important steps in the process of creating a donation page or maintaining it can sometimes fall through the cracks. Especially if your team lacks nonprofit website design experience, it can be easy to unknowingly make online donation page mistakes that actually hurt your donors’ experience. 

Luckily, there’s no need to be a coding expert or master web builder to avoid these mistakes. All you need is a content management system (CMS) built for nonprofits and a knowledge of missteps to avoid. In this post based on Morweb’s guide to donation page design, we’ll cover five common mistakes nonprofits often make with their donation pages: 

By knowing the mistakes to watch for, you can easily design (or redesign) an effective donation page that will meet your donors’ needs and help you pull in support. We recommend that you evaluate your own organization’s donation page as you read through this guide. This will help you identify whether any of these five mistakes are present on your own page and give you a headstart on fixing them.  

Let’s dive in so you can get started on improving your donors’ online donation experience! 

Mistake #1: Not branding your donation page to your organization.

The Mistake

Some nonprofits make the mistake of creating a generic-looking donation page. When a donor navigates to the donation page, it might look to them like it’s hosted by a third-party site, giving the impression that it isn’t a trustworthy tool to enter their contact and payment information into. Plus, without visual indicators of your brand, the act of donating might feel like a money grab instead of an act of generosity that will benefit your organization’s cause.

How To Fix It  

You can fix this common mistake by adding a few visual branding elements to your donation page. According to Getting Attention’s post on nonprofit branding strategies, here are some common elements you can consider adding:  

  • Logos: Your nonprofit’s logo is a visual representation of your work. Whether your logo is an abstract design or an emblem featuring a symbol that is important to your work, your logo gets people thinking about your mission. Place your logo at the top of your donation page to mark the page as a legitimate tool on your site. 
  • Colors: Colors are an important branding element because they set the mood and tone for a webpage. For example, a light pink color scheme communicates energy and positivity, while a neon pink color scheme might just be hard on the eyes. Choose your colors carefully and make your donation page coloring match the rest of your website.
  • Fonts: Even the look of the text on your donation page can have an impact on a donor. For your donation page, match the font on the rest of your website. Ideally, this will be a professional, easy-to-read sans serif font instead of swooping calligraphy or chunky, bolded block letters. 

Maintaining branding consistency on your donation page is critical for demonstrating your organization is trustworthy and professional. Much like leveraging a secure payment processor, branding your donation page can go a long way in building rapport and trust with your donors.

Mistake #2: Asking too many questions on your form. 

The Mistake 

Imagine one of your supporter’s friends learns about your nonprofit on Giving Tuesday. They get excited about the change you’re making in the world and want to donate. They arrive on your donation page and begin filling out your donation form. But after one page of questions turns into two and then three, this new supporter starts to become frustrated, feeling like the process is taking too much time. Not to mention, your organization seems to want too much of their personal information.

How To Fix It 

Asking too many questions on your donation form is a big online donation page faux pas, causing some donors to abandon their plan to donate altogether. There are three ways you can fix this problem: 

  • Ask only for necessary information, like contact information, donation amount, and payment information. 
  • If you are interested in getting extra donor data to use in donor communications down the road, include a few extra questions and mark them as optional
  • Ensure that your form sticks to one page in length to increase the likelihood of donors completing their gift. 

When donating only takes a few minutes and doesn’t require a donor to give over too much information about themselves, they’ll not only be more inclined to complete an initial gift — they’ll also be more likely to use your page to give again! 

Mistake #3: Failing to optimize your donation page for accessibility. 

The Mistake 

Even the best nonprofit websites out there sometimes miss the mark when it comes to making their donation pages accessible to everyone. An accessible web design ensures that all users — whether they’re hard of hearing, have visual impairments, or use screen readers — can access your content and use tools like your donation page. Without an accessible donation page, you could be missing out on donations from supporters whose only hurdle is being able to use your tool. 

How To Fix It 

Here are three simple ways you can make your donation page more user-friendly for all of your supporters: 

  • Add an accessibility widget. Your nonprofit-specific CMS should offer an accessibility widget that puts the power back in your supporters’ hands. This allows them to change the coloring of your donation page to greyscale, increase text size, highlight links, and change hard-to-read fonts to sans serif. 
  • Include alt text on all graphics and images. Alt text is a one-sentence description you add to the backend of images and graphics on a webpage. It helps to make sure that website visitors who can’t view your images (such as those using screen readers) won’t have any gaps in their experience with your page. 
  • Provide captions for all multimedia content. Some nonprofits like to include an inspiring video on their donation page that can motivate supporters to submit their contributions. If you include a video on your donation page (or any other type of multimedia content), provide transcripts or captioning for those elements. This will allow those with hearing impairments to get the information they need from these elements. 

Optimizing your donation page for accessibility takes only a few extra steps, but can pay off as you’re able to demonstrate to your supporters that you have their needs in mind, and, as a result, receive more donations. 

Mistake #4: Forgetting to include multiple giving options. 

The Mistake 

The experience of giving a donation to a cause you care about is very personal. After all, donations require sacrifice, as well as a deep investment in the cause you’re giving to. This is why donors like to personalize their giving experiences by taking advantage of different ways to give. Some nonprofits, however, neglect the opportunity to promote these different giving options on their donation pages, leaving their donors in the dark about how they can further their individual impact. 

How To Fix It 

Dedicate some space on your donation page to listing multiple ways to give. This will increase the likelihood that donors will take advantage of these opportunities that they might not have known about before. They may even inspire a donor to give more or give again, helping with your retention efforts. 

Here are a few options you might consider highlighting on your donation page: 

  • Your monthly giving program: Many donors would give on a consistent basis if it was easy. Try offering donors an option to check a box or sign up for your monthly giving program. This way, they don’t have to remember to return again and again to give. Instead, they’ll be billed each month. 
  • Matching gifts: If you partner with a matching gift software provider to help employees take advantage of their employers’ corporate philanthropy efforts, let your donors know on your donation page. An easy way to do so is to embed a matching gift database on your form that people can search to see if they are eligible for matching. 
  • Suggested giving amounts: Providing suggested giving amounts can help donors see what a “typical” donation amount is for your organization. Plus, they can encourage them to bump up the amount of their gift. For example, if a donor was planning to give $5 and sees a suggested donation amount of $10, they might double the size of their gift!

While you don’t want to overwhelm your donors with too many options, giving them a few choices when it comes to how they give to your organization can make their experience more meaningful. If your nonprofit is trying to decide which giving options to offer, try surveying your donors to see what most appeals to them. 

Mistake #5: Not thanking your donors after they’ve submitted a gift. 

The Mistake 

Every nonprofit professional knows the importance of donor recognition, especially when it comes to handwritten thank-you letters or big demonstrations of gratitude, like setting up a major donor thank-you luncheon. However, not every nonprofit adds an automated thank-you message or email to their online donation page experience. This can leave some donors feeling like blank checks instead of people who truly care about your cause. 

How To Fix It 

An initial thank you is an important part of receiving a donation, even if you’re eventually going to send a longer and more personalized thank-you message. Try setting up an email cadence that is triggered by the submission of a donation. Thank the donor for their gift and offer them additional opportunities to engage with your nonprofit, like following your organization on social media or signing up to volunteer at an upcoming event. Alternatively, you could add a pop-up thank-you message to your online donation process that displays after a donor completes their gift. 

The Gist 

Too many nonprofits fall prey to common online donation page mistakes that have easy fixes. Now that you know about these common problems, analyze your own nonprofit donation page with a critical eye. Try to take a step back and see your page from your donors’ point of view and make the needed fixes to improve the donor journey. A positive online donation experience will go a long way in helping you retain your donors’ support and increasing donor engagement. Good luck! 

Author: Murad Bushnaq is the Founder and CEO of Morweb. Since its inception in 2014, Murad has acted as Creative Director and Chief Technologist to help nonprofits spread their vision online through engaging design, intuitive software and strategic communication.

Apps for Nonprofits: A Crash Course About Handheld Tech

Scrolling through social media, paying for parking, checking email, and playing games— the tasks you can complete with a smartphone have drastically expanded since phones were first connected to the internet in the early 2000s. Whether virtual and hybrid events, smartphones, or working from home, individuals desire the ability to engage and participate in society from wherever they are, with the technology they already have on hand.

Of course, whenever new technologies are embraced on a wide-scale across society, your first question as a nonprofit professional is this: how can we leverage this tool in our array of nonprofit technology to increase efficiency, better connect with supporters and constituents, or even raise more funds?

In this case, the answer is to consider whether mobile apps for nonprofits will improve your operations and invest accordingly. In this crash course to apps for nonprofits, we’ll answer the following questions:

The forward motion of nonprofit technology innovation is swift, and new nonprofit technologies are emerging on a daily basis. The last thing you want is to be the organization that’s stuck behind the curve— something that can make the difference between a donation made and one that’s abandoned in the check-out process.

With that, let’s dive in.

What are apps for nonprofits?

There are a variety of mobile apps that may be useful for nonprofits in their daily operations. For example, Zoom is a helpful livestreaming tool for nonprofits to use when hosting virtual events or town halls, and it’s available in app form. Social media apps are helpful when it comes to broadcasting information to your online supporter base en masse, and the calendar app is helpful when it comes to keeping your team on track with daily operations.

Keep the role that these general apps play in your operations in mind when creating your overall technology strategy. For example, when you send out an email blast, it should be mobile-friendly to ensure supporters reading it on their iPhone or Android devices can do so without experiencing a drop in quality.

However, for the purposes of this guide, these general phone apps don’t fall within our definition of nonprofit apps.

DNL OmniMedia’s guide to apps for nonprofits defines them as:

“Apps explicitly created for the nonprofit sector, to meet specific nonprofit strategic needs.”

These are apps created by nonprofit technology providers to meet nonprofit-specific needs, such as volunteer management, event management, fundraising, or even internal scheduling. There are a variety of providers who have embraced this trend, so there are likely more options available on the market than you realize!

Why should you incorporate nonprofit apps into your tech stack?

Keeping costs low is the name of the game for nonprofit professionals, who seek to dedicate as many resources to their mission as possible. So, why should you invest in yet another technology solution, in addition to the solutions you already have?

The data around mobile phone use, pulled from the apps for nonprofits guide linked in the last section, makes a convincing argument:

  • 96% of Americans own a mobile phone, with 81% of those being smartphones.
  • 1 in 5 Americans accesses the internet through their smartphone alone.
  • 1 in 4 donors discovers new nonprofits to support through their smartphone.
  • 1/4 of donors donate through a mobile phone.

Not only is smartphone use widespread in the U.S., but for some donors, it’s their primary way of accessing any online materials. This is why many nonprofits seek mobile accessibility in all of their technology solutions, including donor management systems, websites, and more. Beyond accessibility arguments, there are a variety of benefits that occur when nonprofits incorporate mobile apps into their strategy, including:

  • The ability to make the most of exciting tech innovations. For example, mobile phones empower you to connect with “donors on the go,” showing that your nonprofit is ahead of the curve.
  • Access to more data than ever before. While the technology solutions you have currently certainly provide a plethora of supporter data, nonprofit apps give you access to data about a new audience— mobile supporters.
  • The ability to create custom-branded apps. Nonprofit apps are evolving, allowing organizations to invest in custom solutions that are branded to and built for their organization. This increases trust in the supporters who access the app.

Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of investing in a nonprofit mobile app, let’s cover the types of apps that are available to your nonprofit.

What types of apps are available for nonprofits?

When you consider the major groups your organization coordinates and the main fundraising efforts you conduct, there are likely nonprofit apps corresponding to each. Here are a few main types of apps currently available for nonprofits:

  • Volunteer and Membership Apps: These apps are supporter-facing tools that empower volunteers or members (if your organization runs a membership program) to manage their engagement with your nonprofit. Volunteers can sign up for shifts, log hours, and view their past serving history. Or, members can make dues payments, view upcoming events and opportunities, and stay updated on the latest news with your organization. Popular examples include Boardable for board management and Wild Apricot for member management.
  • Event Apps: These are apps created for managing major fundraising events. This includes charity auction apps, such as Handbid. These apps empower auction attendees to bid on items, make one-off donations, and keep track of their various bids to stay competitive and make counter bids throughout the event.
  • Advocacy Apps: These apps are designed to make it as easy as possible for supporters to advocate for specific legislative action on behalf of your mission. For example, DNL OmniMedia offers an advocacy app, MobileAction!, that empowers advocates with pre-filled contact information of key political leaders, pre-filled fields containing your ideal messaging on a topic, the ability to make calls or send messages directly from the app, and the ability to log advocacy actions in the app to report back to your nonprofit.
  • Internal Apps: This includes any apps created to increase internal efficiency. For example, Humanity is an app created for nonprofit staff scheduling. It allows you to auto-schedule shifts, monitor any risk of understaffing, and stay abreast of any shift trading that occurs on short notice.

If you make it easy for people to interact with your nonprofit, they’ll be more likely to do so. When volunteers can sign up for shifts from their phone, they’ll do so more readily. More auction bids will be made, driving the overall “winning bids” higher and higher. More advocacy calls will be made and messages sent, increasing the chances that the action you’re hoping to result will occur.

What should you keep in mind when investing in a nonprofit app?

Just as with any other nonprofit technology, you don’t want to invest in a nonprofit app without carefully considering and preparing for the decision.

First and foremost, ensure you’re investing in the right app for your nonprofit’s needs. For example, can it be branded to your organization? This drastically increases the trust that supporters will have in the app, so it’s an important consideration to keep in mind. Further, will it integrate with your other nonprofit technologies? The top solutions to consider are your constituent relationship management and online donation software.

Once you’ve chosen a solution for your organization, you’ll also want to consider whether your team needs any training to use the app. When you incorporate new technology, technical difficulties are to be expected — you want to prep both your internal team and supporters to respond accordingly. This could mean hosting a training in which you walk through how to use the app effectively or offering a one-page resource that breaks it down step-by-step. Either way, we recommend recording or otherwise taking notes on how to use the app, so this training can be easily replicated going forward.

If you’re wading into the waters of nonprofit mobile apps for the first time, consider working with a nonprofit technology consultant in the process. This team member can help you choose the right solution, integrate it into your existing technology strategy, and even train your team to use it effectively.

Engaging on mobile phones is only going to get more popular going forward. How is your nonprofit going to make the most of this innovative technology?

With nonprofit-specific mobile apps, you can better connect with supporters and staff members, increasing engagement with your nonprofit. And, with the help of a nonprofit technology consultant, you can ensure the process of investing in a new app goes smoothly. Good luck!

Author: Carl Diesing, Managing Director – Carl co-founded DNL OmniMedia in 2006 and has grown the team to accommodate clients with on-going web development projects. Together DNL OmniMedia has worked with over 100 organizations to assist them with accomplishing their online goals. As Managing Director of DNL OmniMedia, Carl works with nonprofits and their technology to foster fundraising, create awareness, cure disease, and solve social issues. Carl lives in the Hudson Valley with his wife Sarah and their two children Charlie and Evelyn.