9 Online Giving Lessons for 2016 from the Nonprofit Tech Blog Carnival

It’s official; we’re at the close of 2016.

Before we reach January 1st and the resolutions that come along with the new year, we wanted to pause and reflect on what we learned about online fundraising in 2016 — looking back before looking ahead.

That’s why, when we announced we were hosting the carnival, we asked the following:

What has 2016 taught you about online fundraising, and how do you think those lessons can help others succeed as well?

And now, it’s time to show the answers you all provided. (Learn more about the theme by checking the promotional post!) Thank you to everyone who took the time to contribute their posts. 

Here's what you had to say, divided into three categories:
A. Online Donations
B. Fundraising Strategies and Ideas
C. Trends and Forecasts


A. Online Donations

1. Direct Debit Payment Processing: What Your Nonprofit Needs to Know

iATS Payments

We figured we’d lead off with our contribution to the carnival first. As the title implies, this guide delves into direct debit payment processing, which is also known as ACH (Automated Clearing House) payment processing.

As the guide explains, ACH payment processing is an alternative to credit card donations, and it is a great option to offer to your online donors.

Essentially, ACH payments are donations directly debited from your supporters’ bank accounts. In other words, they act as e-checks.

To learn more, check out the guide.

Here’s the link: http://home.iatspayments.com/news/direct-debit-payment-processing-what-your-nonprofit-needs-to-know/

What about the online giving lessons?

It used to be that simply offering online giving qualified as diversifying your giving channels.

Now that online fundraising is so commonplace, it’s becoming more and more important that nonprofits not only offer online giving but provide donors with numerous access points to their pages (mobile vs. desktop) and let donors give online via numerous payment methods. This guide addresses the latter.

It offers key insights into why ACH payment processing has been helpful this year and will continue to hold a prominent place in the fundraising world for the foreseeable future.

2. Online Donation Forms: The Actionable Guide

@Pay Logo

This guide from @Pay is entirely focused on what nonprofits can do to make the most of their online donation forms. It includes best practices and strategies that cover everything from the actual design of the donation form to how you go about selecting a provider.

Here is the link: https://www.atpay.com/online-donation-forms/

What about the online giving lessons?

The entire guide is one giant online giving lesson. If you’re looking for current advice about online giving forms, whether you’re initially choosing one or you’re optimizing the one you’re already using, this resource will help you out.

3. Online Donation Software: Everything Your Nonprofit Needs to Know

Salsa Labs Logo

If you want a complete overview of the capacity of and best practices for using online donation software, look no further than this comprehensive page from Salsa Labs.

The term “online donation software” refers to a type of fundraising software that allows donors to give quickly and easily via online donation forms.

To get the full breakdown, from a deep dive into the definition and features to a breakdown of the software's practical benefits, head over to the guide.

Here is the link: http://articles.salsalabs.com/online-donation-software/

What about the online giving lessons?

The explanation is direct here. If you want to understand current online giving technology, this guide is a great go-to.

4. 6 Charity Website Designs (from Nonprofits Like Yours)

NeonCRM Logo

Effective website design is crucial for nonprofits. To give readers real-world advice, this article from Andrew Dain at NeonCRM explores what makes a great nonprofit web design and references some examples of excellent sites in the process.

Within the discussion, Dain calls attention to what makes each website he has selected so awesome.

Here is the link: https://www.neoncrm.com/top-charity-websites/

What about online giving lessons?

Online donation forms are deeply connected to the nonprofit websites that host them. If you want your efforts to grow and your online giving to pay off, you have to think of the nonprofit website as your first impression with potential donors. Make it a good one!


B. Fundraising Strategies and Ideas

5. Matching Gifts: The Expert’s Guide

Double the Donation Logo

This matching gift guide from Double the Donation uncovers significant ways large nonprofits can unlock the potential of matching gifts and all the untapped funds they represent.

The guide addresses the three most common challenges large nonprofits face when it comes to securing matching gifts:

  • Unknown opportunities
  • Not enough outreach
  • Lack of insights

To learn more, you’ll want to head over to the guide.

Here is the link: https://www.360matchpro.com/matching-gifts/

What about the online giving lessons?

The guide zeroes in on how securing matching gifts should and can be integrated into the online giving process, making it easier for nonprofits to raise additional funds with minimal additional effort.

It’s all about the cutting-edge approaches nonprofits can take to capitalize on matching gifts.

6. Easy and Profitable Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofits and Individuals

Fundly Logo

This list from Fundly features a diverse and comprehensive variety of fundraising ideas for nonprofits of all sizes.

If you can’t find fundraising inspiration in this collection of 99+ ideas, you’re not looking hard enough!

Here’s the link: http://blog.fundly.com/fundraising-ideas/

What about the online giving lessons?

Although not all of the ideas are rooted in online giving, many are connected to it. Specifically, many are tied to online crowdfunding, a popular avenue from 2016. If you’re thinking forward to how crowdfunding can impact your fundraising bottom line in 2017, check out this resource.

7. 8-Step Guide to Planning the Perfect Nonprofit Fundraising Event

Booster Logo

Fundraising events, though potentially lucrative, are not without their challenges. The 8-steps included in this article are built around maximizing event ROI while reducing those challenges.

Written by Kerri Moore of Booster and published on the #501 Social Blog, this article guides the reader through planning a fundraising event from start to finish to follow up.

Here is the link: http://jcsocialmarketing.com/2016/09/8-step-guide-planning-perfect-nonprofit-fundraising-event/

What about the online giving lessons?

Here’s the thing about online giving now and where fundraising is going in general: fundraising cannot be compartmentalized. The most successful fundraising activities incorporate a mix of giving opportunities and engagement styles in order to appeal to and engage with the maximum number of donors.

While this guide focuses on nonprofit events, throughout, it highlights how a nonprofit can and should incorporate online giving strategies and practices into those events.


C. Trends and Forecasts

8. Five Key Nonprofit Trends for 2017

In her list of trends for 2017, Jen Pendleton, the Vice President of Aly Sterling Philanthropy, explains 5 forecasts she has for the upcoming year.

Her list includes:

  • Year-round, proactive board recruitment.
  • Next-generation thinking in engagement.
  • Building a culture of philanthropy.
  • Building your case around true program costs.
  • Getting back to basics.

To learn more, check out the original blog post.

Here is the link: http://alysterling.com/five-key-nonprofit-trends-for-2017/

What about the online giving lessons?

In putting together her trend list, Pendleton assesses what has happened and is happening in 2016 and puts that information to use to figure out where she sees fundraising going next year. It’s full of helpful and thoughtful information.

While the post isn’t centered on online fundraising, many of her trends and their associated advice are intertwined with online activities. She urges readers to connect with younger generations, which will inevitably involve digital fundraising. She talks of the importance of investing in good technology, which is very online-centric at the moment. And the list goes on.

9. Want to Guarantee Fundraising Success? Dive These 5 Fundamentals

Clairification Logo

These ‘5 Fundamentals’ come to us courtesy of Claire Axelrad and her post over on Nonprofit Pro.

The ‘5 Fundamentals’ covered include:

  • Integrating donor-centered fundraising with a robust social content marketing strategy.
  • Mastering online social fundraising.
  • Mastering one-to-one major-gift fundraising.
  • Mastering donor retention.
  • Shifting to an organization-wide culture of philanthropy.

Get the full explanation of each fundamental by checking out the article.

Here is the link: http://www.nonprofitpro.com/post/want-guarantee-fundraising-success-dive-five-fundamentals/

What about online giving lessons?

As Claire puts it in her article, “Some of these skills will seem familiar, but the way you employ them may need to be tweaked in order for you to survive and thrive in our digitally revolutionized society.”

While the post is focused on the big picture of fundraising improvements, each piece of advice is written within a framework that recognizes the prominent role online giving has taken within the philanthropic community at large.

That wraps up this round of the Fundraising Strategies & Nonprofit Tech Carnival. Make sure to share this with your friends and colleagues in the community, and be on the lookout for next month’s theme so you can participate as well!

Back to News