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5 Tips For Embracing Digital In the Time of Coronavirus


Much sooner than some of us in the charity sector may have anticipated, institutions and organisations from around the world are making the switch. Embracing digital as the main channel for fundraising campaign solicitations.

Here at Hubbub, we’ve been partnering with customers for several years, passing on our expertise and boosting the confidence of teams as they adapt to using this new and exciting method of giving.

From crowdfunding to giving days, and mass participation online campaigns, we’ve learned a lot. Some of what we’ve learnt isn’t anything that’s particularly new to fundraising and engagement. In fact, many of the traditional fundamentals that are used to create successful direct mail or telephone appeals are very much the same for digital campaigns. However, there are also some new fundamentals that are important for teams to consider as they begin to integrate digital giving into their strategy.

1. Start with ‘thank you’

Before making any ask, regardless of the channel you use, reach out to your donor community to thank them for their continued, and ongoing, support. Remind donors of the impact their gift has, why their support remains vital, and update them on how your institution or organisation is responding during these challenging times.

If donations are being repurposed in response to changing priorities, inform donors of these changes so they remain constantly aware of how their gift is making a difference.

2. Ask through demonstrating impact

Another fundamental that’s sometimes forgotten when switching to digital is remembering that the language of the ask is just the same as it would be for communicating with the donor via telephone or post.

Here are a few things to remember:

  • Use donor-led language, heavily focusing on the number of times messages make reference to the donor and their impact (more: you, your), rather than the charity itself (less: we, us).
  • Lead with impact. This is especially important for campaigns focused on medical research. The research and its outcomes are important, but the impact of that research on the lives of real people should remain the focus of the campaign.
  • Don’t forget to segment audiences and to personalise messages, where possible.
    Use well informed ask amounts, where appropriate, to help donors understand how much they are being asked to contribute.
  • Focus on participation. Encouraging gifts of any size and emphasising the difference that can be made when communities join together.
  • Bonus: For some donors, these will be financially challenging and worry times. Make a mindful reference to this in your communications. As an alternative to giving, suggest other ways for individuals to show their support for the campaign, regardless of their current financial circumstance. For example, asking members of your community to be social ambassadors is a great way for them to show their enthusiasm for a particular online campaign.

3. Make giving easy

Nothing is more deflating to a donor than feeling highly motivated to take action, only to be met with an online donation form that’s complex, confusing, or feels unsecured.

The carefully crafted messages that your supporters received have driven them to the point of wanting to make a gift. Don’t let them down by directing potential donors to an online form that’s a chore to fill out. Giving should be a simple, easy and pleasurable experience for donors. What’s more, if donors enjoy their experience of giving, they are more likely to share the opportunity with others. This will increase the potential that your campaign will reach a wider audience through the use of peer-to-peer recommendations.


4. Keep donors (and would-be supporters) updated

One of the real advantages of digital campaigns is their ability to keep donors (and those watching in the wings) informed of the success and milestones of the campaign. This makes it easier to continually engage with your audience. The momentum those updates create can also support the overall success of the campaign. It’s one of the reasons that campaigns, such as giving days, can be so addictively successful.

Here are a few tips:

  • Create a communications strategy, giving your campaign a solid foundation upon which it can grow. Take time before you begin promoting your campaign to decide which audiences you will engage with, what content you will need/use and how you will distribute that content through the various channels you have access to.
  • Use more video. One of the best ways to boost your content is to make that content video-led. Whether it's a story that demonstrates impact, a message from the head of your institution or organisation, Facebook live posts or user-led experiences (think thank you messages), there has never been a better time to make use of video as a way of demonstrating how connected your community is to the cause it's supporting.
  • Send more than just one email that encourages supporters to make their gift. If we’ve learned anything from our years of managing digital campaigns, it’s that the more you ask the more you give the donor the opportunity to say ‘Yes’. This isn’t meant to say that your supporters should be bombarded with asks, but that they should be given several reasons, demonstrated through direct impact, as to how their gift will make a difference.
  • Share the campaign on social media - a lot. Put together a schedule of content that will rotate through telling stories of impact, as well as updates on the progress of the campaign so far. Reached a significant milestone? Share it! Received a message from a supporter expressing their enthusiasm for the campaign? Share it! Close to hitting another milestone and require just a few more donors? Share it!

5. Promote through paid advertising and social media retargeting

Looking to reach a wider audience than just those in your database? Maybe you want to reach out to those you’ve lost contact with or with those in certain locations based on their relevance to the campaign. If you’re reading this and nodding your head, then paid-for advertising is definitely something to consider.

Here a few tips to get you started

  • One of the most cost-effective paid-for advertising channels is Facebook. It’s also a fantastic way to send really targeted ads to users who are already known to you. Finally, through the use of ‘look-a-like’ audiences, you can more easily connect with those who may not be known to you but who may be inclined to support your campaign. Watch the video below for a quick tutorial about Facebook ads from our very own Kat Carter, Head of Marketing and Digital Giving Specialist.

  • Once you’ve set up an initial series of paid-for ads, also consider using retargeting to encourage visitors to return to your website. For example, if a potential donor visits your campaign website, but doesn’t make a gift, you can use that information to set up retargeting ads that encourage the donor to revisit their journey. We’ve all experienced this at one time or another (hotel bookings, anyone?) and there are ways that retargeting can also work for fundraising when used well. For more information on how to set up retargeting ads on facebook, watch the video below.

  • If your campaign has the potential to be found through search engines, then you may also want to consider running paid-for advertising and retargeting ads on platforms such as Google.

We're here to help

As more and more charities take to using digital channels, we hope that these tips become increasingly useful. If you have further questions about how to embrace digital best practice, especially for those campaigns that aim to serve those affected by the coronavirus pandemic, please feel free to reach out to our team via

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