If you already see how your website, your online communities, and your other channels all flow harmoniously together to drive donations and other actions, then… good for you! If not, read on…


Strange Animal - Online Fundraising Tools Shareable visual content like this Bearsharktopus relates to several important facets of social media fundraising: Is it easy to share on social networks? Does it link back to a page with a donation form or other action? Can you track who likes Bearsharktopi in your CRM?

By Ehren Foss
Co-Founder and CEO, HelpAttack!
Posted on NTEN.org

Last year I wrote a post for NTEN about four social media fundraising tools. This year I’m going to take a vertical rather than horizontal approach, and identify several important types of tools you’ll want to consider when raising money online – either through your website or on a social network.

Website Donation Form

I think humble donation forms are the bedrock of online fundraising: You can steer people to them from elsewhere on your website, from email, from QR codes, and of course from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social networks. These forms can be great lead generation tools at the same time they are bringing in necessary revenue. While it seems like donation forms were “solved” years ago when our sector turned its attention to social fundraising and social media, many organizations are still struggling. Some causes who have invested in building their own forms find them difficult and expensive to maintain. I can see why: simple forms are harder than they seem. You should…

  • maintain a high level of security for PCI compliance
  • ensure mobile friendliness and easy social network sharing
  • provide flexibility for varying needs of campaigns and programs
  • measure, tweak, and improve conversion rates by altering images, copy, and other attributes of the form

The alternative used to be directing your supporters off-site, to PayPal.com, Authorize.net, or other secure but not as flexible (or branded) donation flows. My favorite tools these days embrace the best of both worlds.

Let someone else worry about HTML5, standards compliance, scalability, and usability while still enjoying the benefits of hosting the form at your own domain. “Embedded” forms usually have easy to use form building kits too. Kimbia and FormStack are good examples, and both are starting to integrate with large CRM platforms like SalesForce.com. Blackbaud, Salsa Labs, Fundly, and other nonprofit tradeshow regulars offer embedded forms, too.

Help The Social Web

Everything you put on the web can help – or hurt – your overall results. Does your website CMS (content management system) automatically create the proper meta tags for the big social networks? When someone shares a URL on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, what image, blurb, and text is included automatically? When someone pins a great image from your website, where do clicks on it end up?

If you view the HTML in a socially shareable webpage, you’ll see a set of meta tags. A good CMS (perhaps with a few plugins) should allow you to set up defaults for this kind of sharing, while allowing you to override titles, primary images, and other shared attributes as needed.

Your supporters will share the page you want them to, but they will also share pages buried deep in your site that you haven’t thought about in months. When they do, make it easy and effective… Read More: http://www.nten.org/articles/2012/tools-to-improve-your-online-fundraising