From Crypto to Emoji’s and More: Nonprofits Learn about New Ways to Significantly Increase Online Donations

By Julie Ellman, Partner, Senior Vice President

Connect360 recently hosted a “Couch Conversation,” a virtual nonprofit roundtable with leading experts from the digital platform Fundraise Up to help nonprofit leaders learn about effective fundraising in 2022.


Richard Levy, Salvatore Salpietro, and Wil Pope from Fundraise Up talked about how today’s nonprofits can raise more money by incorporating some of the same revenue-collecting strategies that for-profit companies have been using for years.


Overall, if donations can be accepted by a certain method (such as PayPal, Venmo, or Crypto), nonprofits can increase donations by adding that payment method to their website. Let donors give how they want, without interrupting or inconveniencing their transaction. A simple user experience is key for converting users to donors!


Top takeaways include:


  • Nonprofits can set up their donation forms to accept cryptocurrency as payment. A crypto donation can be treated similarly as a stock donation: it can be held or liquidated into cash. Many nonprofits like to convert the crypto to cash quickly to avoid the volatility of its value.


Regarding environmental concerns relating to crypto, Fundraise Up clarified that most of the carbon footprint comes from mining and creating the crypto. The crypto transaction itself involves crypto that was already created, so if nonprofits don’t receive that money in donations, then someone else will get that revenue. The average nonprofit that accepted cryptocurrencies in 2021 received almost $70,000 last year, according to the Giving Block.


  • Make one-click donations possible without redirecting: There are endless distractions in today’s world, so the faster the donation process, the better. Many people might enter the “front door” of your website, but if they can’t quickly and easily get through the process of making a donation, they’re likely to leave for something more time-sensitive or attention-catching.


It’s important that nonprofits make their donation forms very efficient. This includes not asking for extra information until after the donation is made. It should be feasible to donate via a single click from a computer or mobile device. This should not involve redirecting donors or making them click on multiple pages just to get through the transaction. Fundraise Up has seen donations more than double based on an easier-to-navigate online form. More details and tips are in Fundraise Up’s Donation Page Friction Study.


  • Upselling accomplished without being too pushy – emojis can help: Nonprofits can intelligently ask for recurring donations based on the amount of someone’s initial gift. In fact, this can be set up through artificial intelligence on the donation website. For example, if someone is making a one-time gift of $100, the online donation form can ask them about converting this to a monthly gift of $20. From Fundraise Up’s experience, this has resulted in many more recurring or sustaining donors for a variety of nonprofits, including UNICEF USA.


Tangible written details and visual aids – and even emojis – can also lead to effective upsells. For instance, during the process of checking out on a donation website, a nonprofit can ask: “Would you consider giving a monthly gift of $20 to plant three trees per month?” Then that can be supplemented with a photo of trees and a heart emoji. In other words, giving $20 per month to help a nonprofit’s mission is nebulous – but giving $25 per month to plant three trees while showing a friendly heart emoji can encourage a more emotional and meaningful donation.


  • International donation capabilities result in increased donations. It’s helpful to curate experiences for donors in their own language. Nonprofits can set up their website to be in the donor’s language, making it easier to fill out the online form in their native tongue. Additionally, Stripe and PayPal are examples of payment methods that can be built into a nonprofits’ donation page that are accept international donations.


Fundraise Up noted a 3.8% to 15% conversion rate when international donors see the amount in their own currency on a U.S. website. While it could be passive traffic from ex-pats or social media – if there’s not a specific nonprofit in a certain country, someone will probably find that organization type to connect with in the U.S. More international donation tips are in Fundraise Up’s Guide to International Fundraising.


  • Donors are often willing to cover transaction or processing costs, if you ask them. For-profits often benefit from buyers paying processing fees, and nonprofit data shows that this works for fundraising too. The impact of the donor covering the transaction processing fee results in more giving. If nonprofits don’t ask, it’s just money left on the table.


For example, among one-time donors, 87.8% will cover the transaction costs if it is suggested versus only 43.7% of donors who will cover the costs if it is not asked. Fundraise Up has more data about this in the Impact of Asking Donors to Cover Costs.


Overall, it’s important that nonprofits leverage the power of technology and current available tools in order to raise the necessary money to advance their missions and accomplish their goals.


Successful fundraising strategies have evolved with cutting-edge technology that nonprofits can take advantage of to significantly increase (even double) their online donations converting prospective donors to convert to actual donors.


If you have questions, need recommendations for an upcoming campaign or if you’d like to suggest an idea for an upcoming Couch Conversation, please let me know.


Be on the lookout for more information about our next Couch Conversation.

About The Author

Julie Ellman

Julie Ellman is a Partner and Senior Vice President at Connect360 Multimedia in the Bay Area office. For over 25 years Julie has been a strategic media counselor for all types of nonprofits, associations, government organizations and PR/marketing firms.

About Connect 360

Connect360 is a leading media placement agency driving measurable results for some of Charity Navigator’s highest-ranked nonprofits, well-known associations, government agencies and public relations/marketing firms.

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