Fundraising Goals and ROI


Updated 4/12/23

What methods generate the highest amount of donations through online fundraising?

Fundraising is a powerful tool to rally support and raise money online. But how do you go about it? What methods tend to work best for generating the highest amount of donations?

Online fundraising has become an increasingly popular means of gathering funds for charitable causes, political campaigns, advocacy initiatives, and much more. However, with so many different platforms and strategies available, it can be hard to know where to start.

Effective online fundraising best practices involve knowing your audience and what motivates them to give. It’s also important to choose a platform that suits your needs and supports your goals. We’ll explore some of the most successful methods for generating high levels of donations through online fundraising efforts.

Whether you’re new to fundraising or just looking for ways to improve your existing campaigns, keep reading for some valuable insights. It’s worth noting that our insights come from a combination of research, client feedback, and benchmarking studies. Having the following high-level goals for your fundraising strategy will help to increase ROI on your campaigns.

1. Online donation pages that are easy to use tend to be more successful.

The ease of filling out a donation form can significantly affect the likelihood of success, although it is frequently neglected.

Forms For Human Beings

Our software incorporates all the proven fundraising features that increase the number of people reaching your “thank you” page while reducing form abandonment rates.

  • Instant error messages
  • Editable labels for forms
  • Use of “optional” on non-required fields rather than asterisks
  • Sensible error checking on form fields (we don’t tell your donor off for putting spaces in a phone number, for example)
  • Ability to style or change the layout of forms in response to usability tests

Why These Fundraising Features Work

If a website is user-friendly and has clear call-to-actions, visitors are more likely to take the desired action and reach your “thank you” page. Features such as personalized recommendations or incentives like discounts can also entice users to continue engaging with a website or platform, increasing their likelihood of completing the desired action.

Providing easy access to customer support and resolving any technical issues quickly can also contribute to users staying longer on your platform and following through with completing everything leading up to the “thank you” page. Considering these factors and optimizing them accordingly can lead to a surge of users completing your donation forms and thus making it to the “thank you” page.

2. Online donation pages that are successful offer a strong sense of security.

“Pages with the Verisign security logo placed near the payment field information or the donate button performed better than other placements.”

Joanne Fritz,

Protect Those Who Give

To assure potential donors that their payment information is safe with your credit card processor, it is important to implement both of the following methods.


To ensure secure data transmission, use https for your pages. This transmits information from the donor’s browser to the bank via Engaging Networks. A secure certificate is required, which we can provide or you can obtain your own. Our security standards are PCI compliant, following all Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council rules.

Demonstrate This Visually

To ensure confidence, donation forms need clear security indicators. Although “https” appears in the address bar, it may not convey a strong sense of security to most people. Donordigital, an online fundraising consultancy, found that adding security seals or logos near payment details boxes or donate buttons increased their donations. Adding reassuring graphic elements can help build a successful donation form.

The donor pages in Engaging Networks provide full customization and editing options, allowing the placement of security badges, logos and seals at any desired location, ensuring reassurance in your donor relationships.

3. Online giving forms that are customizable and hosted on a personally owned platform tend to be more successful.

“Maintain the same branding on all landing pages. Your Facebook custom tab and avatar should have the same logo and colors as your email newsletter template which should use the same logo and colors as your direct mailings. You don’t want to lose your audience by having them reorient themselves to different branding.”

John Haydon, Network for Good

Enhance your brand protection and increase revenue.

When using third-party fundraising sites, there may be a decrease in both the number of donors and the average amount donated. Additionally, your campaign’s branding and message may become distorted, potentially having unpredictable effects on your brand. It’s important to ensure that you have the ability to use your own branding and communicate directly with supporters in the manner that you prefer.

You have the option to arrange the pages in any desired order.

Our platform lets you design and customize your campaign pages according to your liking. You won’t have to deal with competing branding, rigid forms, or tight structures. Also, you keep and have control of all the data you gather. By choosing our platform, your supporters are secure from being lured away by other nonprofits.

4. Online fundraisers often incorporate their appeals with additional forms of media for maximum success.

“Donors acquired online who use multiple channels to give are worth 50% more than those who stay online.”


Use Other Media

To maximize fundraising success and increase the lifetime value of your donor relationships, it is important for your database to be able to track both online and offline donations. Additionally, utilizing online data can aid in reaching out to supporters through different channels.

The importance of data cannot be overstated.

Data plays a crucial role in non-profit organizations. It allows decision-makers to make informed decisions and provides insight into various aspects of the company’s performance, such as customer behavior, market trends, and financial metrics.

By analyzing data, non-profit organizations can enhance their services, improve processes and operations, mitigate risks, and identify potential problems before they occur. Without data, companies are left making assumptions or guessing blindly, which can result in poor decisions that cost time and money. The importance of data cannot be overstated in today’s fast-paced business environment where success depends on staying ahead of the competition.

The Engaging Networks platform simplifies this whole process by collecting donor data, such as phone numbers and communication preferences, which enables you to reach out to them through different channels. In addition, our API enables the transfer of data between online and offline fundraising databases, facilitating seamless connectivity.

5. Effective utilization of social media is an important factor for the success of online fundraising campaigns.

“When you have donated, if you’re provided with an opportunity to brag about the fact, you get to say, ‘I’m a nice generous person because I’ve donated to this cause,’ and in doing so get kudos, or social capital. The [nonprofit] gets some advocacy, and your friends get motivated to donate too.”

Beth Granter, Nixon McInnes

Nowadays, social media platforms have become an essential part of our daily routine. They are not only providing individuals with a means of connection but also offering a brilliant opportunity for businesses and non-profit organizations to reach out to their target audience in a cost-effective way.

Effective utilization of social media plays a crucial role in online fundraising campaigns, as it allows the campaigners to engage with their supporters, spread the word about their cause, build relationships, and increase donations. In fact, statistics have shown that social media sharing can contribute significantly to the success of an online fundraising campaign.

Therefore, it is vital for organizations to use social media platforms strategically while conducting online fundraising campaigns. 

The option for supporters to make donations without exiting Facebook is available.

Utilize Engaging Networks’ donation widgets for Facebook integration to facilitate donations from your supporters, with the added benefit of tracking and reporting tools. Additionally, our platform allows you to effortlessly include social sharing options on your thank you page.

6. Online donation pages can increase effectiveness by customizing the content to appeal to potential donors.

“52% of digital marketers surveyed agreed that “the ability to personalize content is fundamental to online strategy.”

E-Consultancy and Adobe

Establishing strong relationships requires attention to details.

Establishing a personal connection with donors can greatly enhance your success as a fundraiser, as it elicits a warm response similar to when someone remembers small details about oneself.

The objective is to generate positive emotions and enhance donations.

Some fundraising platforms may not be user-friendly as donors may receive impersonal treatment. Although the database may contain more information about the donor, it may not always be utilized effectively.

Chad Norman is associated with the charity fundraiser Movember.

Enhance the personal touch in your communication.

“Part of the reason my email campaign was successful was because I had carefully selected my list of recipients. While my email list included some of the social media friends I was already reaching via other channels, it contained mostly relatives, parent’s friends, and classmates who typically do not see my Twitter and Facebook activity. Make sure you are segmenting your audience when sending out communications – different strokes for different folks!”

Chad Norman, fundraiser for Movember

The Engaging Networks platform provides the capability to:

  • Customize emails by incorporating particularities about the donor, like their location, name, and other relevant details.
  • Tailor your messages to align with the interests and prior actions of your donors.
  • Customize the amounts of your donation form based on the previous gifts of your donors to increase the average gift.
  • Increasing response rates can be achieved by automatically filling out donor details that are already known on the donation form.

7. Online fundraisers aim for success through continuous testing and improvement.

The 2012 Obama campaign conducted extensive testing and found that one subject line generated $2,000,000 more in donations than another. Can you determine which subject line was more successful based on these options?

Please clarify if you meant to say “Was it ‘I will be outspent’ or ‘The one thing the polls got right’?”

The first one exhibited a six-fold higher performance than the second.

The most dependable method for selecting a winner is through testing.

To choose a subject line, testing is the only reliable method. Engaging Networks platform provides built-in split A/B testing tool. This feature helps evaluate email elements such as sender, link style or opening paragraph to know which one results in a maximum response for your campaign. Additionally, it can also track results from clicking on an email link to making a donation. By doing this, it enables you to determine which email works best overall.

Stop Wasting Money

Our tracking system allows for measuring the effectiveness of different channels and promotional materials in terms of return on investment.

8. Online fundraising initiatives that achieve success allocate substantial resources towards their efforts.

“The organizations that invested more resources into their programs were more successful, in both generating advocacy activity and raising significant funds online… The most successful organizations were those that prioritized investments in online communications.”

eNonprofit Benchmarks Study, M + R Strategic Services, Advocacy Institute

The mentioned sources are the eNonprofit Benchmarks Study, M + R Strategic Services, and Advocacy Institute.

Invest For Results

To maximize your fundraising efforts online, it’s important to allocate time and financial resources towards planning, strategy, and utilizing various tools. Despite the ease presented by the internet, significant effort is necessary in order to achieve desired results.

9. Online fundraisers achieve success by utilizing event fundraising strategies and tribute gift pages.

Allow external individuals to generate funds on your behalf.

It is possible to avoid directly asking donors for gifts by having volunteers or existing donors serve as intermediaries.

Online giving has seen the emergence of different methods such as event fundraising, tribute gift pages, and virtual gift catalogues. These approaches are often referred to as peer to peer fundraising. It’s been observed that individuals find it difficult to decline a gift when requested by someone they know.

Friendships Create Bigger Donations

Our fundraising pages are fully customizable, allowing supporters to create a personal profile on your website and share it with friends to leverage peer pressure for donations.

10. Email is a strategic tool used by successful online fundraisers.

“Along with an organization’s Web site, e-mail messaging is the most important component of many nonprofit organizations’ online communications programs.”

eNonprofit Benchmarks Study, M + R Strategic Services, Advocacy Institute

Regular Communications With Your Email List Are Necessary

Maintaining regular communication with your email list is crucial for building strong relationships with your subscribers and keeping them engaged. By consistently sending out valuable content and updates on your business, you establish trust and credibility with your audience. This helps to keep your brand top-of-mind, making it more likely that subscribers will make a purchase or take other desired actions.

Additionally, regular email communications can provide useful feedback from your audience, helping you to further refine your marketing strategies. Overall, effective email marketing campaigns are vital for maximizing the potential of your subscriber base and maintaining a successful online business.

To have successful fundraising, it can’t be done with only one email ask per year. Donors want appreciation for their contributions, updates on the impact of their donation, and feedback from beneficiaries. They also may be interested in learning about other opportunities to offer support. 

The process can be automated by the system.

Our platform allows you the capability of targeting and quickly sending email updates. With our email tools, you can automatically set up emails for your supporters based on their actions.

This includes thank-you emails, contacting them if they haven’t donated in some time, and finding out why they’re not responding. Additionally, you can send an email inquiring about why they abandoned a donation form halfway through. Utilize our platform’s flexibility and get creative in cultivating relationships with your donors.

11. Online fundraisers have higher success rates when they collaborate with donors who contribute larger amounts.

It’s recommended to prioritize existing customers and search for potential donors in the database who may be capable of larger donations with the correct approach, according to Jeff Shear of Solid Management.

Ensure personalized treatment for each donor.

Many nonprofit organizations miss out on potential donations by failing to differentiate between their donors. Effective fundraisers carefully monitor their donation records, paying attention to trends such as larger gift amounts and frequency of giving.

Extract valuable information from your database.

The Engaging Networks platform provides necessary tools to analyze donor characteristics and identify potential major donation prospects that might remain undiscovered in your database.

Focus on potential customers who are most likely to convert.

Our reporting tools can be utilized to identify donors with specific characteristics and obtain additional information about them. From there, you have the option to contact them directly or bring them to the attention of a more specialized fundraiser.

12. Online fundraisers that are successful exhibit proof of participation from other individuals.

“By showing people that others have already donated, it shows a movement, a behavioral expectation. ‘Other people are doing this’ should hopefully make people think, ‘I want to do this.’ This could be supplemented more strongly by incorporating people’s social graphs via Facebook etc. so that ‘Other people are doing this’ becomes ‘My friends are doing this,’ providing a much stronger psychological motivator to join in yourself.”

Beth Granter, Nixon McInnes

Individuals tend to mimic the behaviors of those around them.

Our organization offers several diverse tools to accomplish this task.

  • There are data feeds available containing recent comments from donors regarding the reasons for their contributions.
  • A thermometer widget that can be customized is available to display the amount raised and amount left to reach the goal.
  • The inclusion of social sharing buttons for Facebook, Google+ and Twitter allows donors to spread the word about their contribution towards your cause.

Exhibiting proof of participation from other individuals in online fundraisers can be very beneficial.

Showcasing proof of participation from others can help to increase donor engagement, trust and ultimately lead to a more successful fundraiser.

  • It can increase the sense of community and social proof, as potential donors can see that others are also showing support for the cause.
  • It gives more credibility to the fundraiser and increases trust among donors that their donations will be used for their intended purpose.
  • It helps to promote transparency and accountability by demonstrating how donated funds were utilized in the past.

13. Online fundraisers often extend their appeal to their donation pages in order to maintain success.

“Is your donation button framed in a compelling way? What personally relevant, tangible change will result if someone gives now?”

Network for Good online fundraiser’s checklist

Here is the online fundraiser’s checklist provided by Network for Good.

Does your current donation page have a low conversion rate?

After significant time spent reviewing the appeal package, email, and advertisements, when the prospect clicks on the ‘Donate now’ button, they are directed to a generic form displayed with signage and branding from another company.

It’s possible that potential donations could be lost if the appeal form is too complicated or if it redirects donors to another website while they’re filling it out.

It is advisable for your donation form to have a similar appearance to other appeal pages.

For best results, ensure that your donation form matches your appeal and includes motivating factors to encourage donors to complete the process. Typing in credit card details can be mundane, so it’s important to keep donors engaged with reminders of their purpose for giving.

Develop your donation form with creativity.

Using the Engaging Networks platform makes designing and branding donation pages easy. It allows for creation of multiple pages for various appeals, which is more effective than a basic donation form.

14. Effective online fundraisers optimize the value of their thank you pages.

“Get more out of your thank you page. Lead them to a second landing page after they donate. Your cause is at the top of your donor’s mind right after they give. Use that moment to get them to take another action (share, join an email list or text message list, etc).”

John Haydon, Network for Good

Expanding the range of activities can enhance positive emotions.

After donating, donors may feel good about their selfless act. Take the chance to remind them of their positive characteristics. Go beyond average and show them how to keep this positive feeling lasting. Ideas may include:

  • Seeking additional details (Are you open to volunteering? What types of appeals interest you in supporting?)
  • Asking for them to share the page through social media or email with others.
  • Directing them to a page for advocating action.

A Continued Good Experience

The Engaging Networks platform offers various methods to enhance the donor’s experience, including the option to redirect towards various actions, customize thanking pages, and integrate social sharing buttons. The platform extends your creative options.

15. Online fundraisers often involve allowing donors to participate in the story for increased success.

“People give because doing so offers them a chance to write their own story – and join in a shared story.”

M&R Strategic Services

The supporter is portrayed as the hero.

Donors want to know their gifts make a difference and be more involved in your story. Creating an adventure where they can approach royalty, slay dragons and come to the rescue. Make it so, and you have won their lifelong support.

Incorporate the reader as a character within your narrative.

One effective way to engage your supporters is through a personalized email sequence and strategic fundraising appeals. Requesting feedback and demonstrating its utilization can further increase involvement in your mission.

React immediately to advancements in the story.

To enhance the effect, you can include your donor in an automatic email sequence with our email triggers feature. Alternatively, you may set up emails that are activated in response to your donor’s donations. These activities combined could potentially create a life-long relationship between your donor and your cause.

What’s the tl;dr?

As the above insights make clear, online fundraising is a fantastic way to connect with donors and raise more money for your cause. By making sure your donation page is optimized in a way that makes it easy for potential donors to understand, you can increase the amount of donations received. Staying up to date with SEO tactics will ensure that you are consistently reaching new people and growing your donor base. With proper optimization and execution of SEO strategies, you will be well on your path to successful online fundraising campaigns!

Sound Exciting?

Request a demo today and one of our team will be in touch with additional information about how Engaging Networks can help you raise more money and win more campaigns.

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