Nonprofits Need to Put a Face to Online Fundraising

July 12, 2011
Marketing, Nonprofit

66 years ago, the United States military asked its decorated soldiers to tour the country and promote the sale of war bonds. A single summer of tours raised over $26 billion.

We can call it the War Bond Fundraising Philosophy; The idea that putting a face to fundraising efforts can make a campaign more successful. And 66 years later, this still holds true, especially when it comes to online fundraising efforts.

Research conducted by IUPUI Center of Philanthropy reported that one of the top 10 reasons donors chose not to donate to a cause was because the donor was “not informed how the contribution would be used.” Simply telling donors how their donation will help can only do so much; but if you can show them the potential impact of their donation, be it through photos, testimonials, or videos, you can compel them to act. does a great job of this. When you initially visit the website, you are immediately presented with a slideshow of photos accompanied by testimonials from teachers who have benefited from donor gifts. And when you visit a specific project on the site, the teacher writes a detailed letter as to how the gift will help their classroom and students.

Putting a face to your online fundraising campaign personifies your goal. Not only does showing tangible results give purpose to your online fundraising, it’s also a great way to shorten the gap online fundraising creates between the donor and the recipient. According to Nonprofit World Magazine, people donate to causes that show who their donation affects and how – in turn, making them feeling more connected to the cause.

With our nonprofit web design clients, we’ve personally seen great results by personalizing donation asks.  Here are a few of the ways you can show your donors how their donation can help:

  • Photos: Like, you can provide photos and testimonials on your fundraising page, or even your homepage. Giving a visual representation can mean a lot more than just a written explanation on your website.
  • Email Blast from Stakeholder: Have a donation recipient write an email blast that you can send to your donor list explaining the importance and effect a donation would have.
  • Call-Out Box: Placing a Call-Out Box on the actual donation page that explains how the contribution will help gives a quick snapshot of the impact created, and the more specific, the better.
  • Thank-You Emails: Personalized thank-you emails from recipients to donors can share the impact of the donation and create a personal connection.
  • Video: Video testimonials that can be shot from a flip cam or video-enabled camera are a great interactive way to engage potential donors.
  • Testimonials: Providing testimonials from recipients in the side bar of your donation page explaining the impact of donations, and even other donor testimonials – why they are connected to the cause, do they know someone personally affected? – can further encourage donation.

Creating this human connection is as vital as ever when it comes to online fundraising. 66 years ago, decorated soldiers on tour for war bonds created a similar connection. They connected the war overseas to the home front. By implementing the War Bond Fundraising Philosophy in you online fundraising, you can create a similar connection. One that will help make your fundraising campaign more successful.

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