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9 tech essentials for your online giving day platform

Giving Days

Donations to Giving Days & university Giving Days are growing dramatically. A large part of this is down to better technology, which has helped mobile donations increase by 45% in 2015.

So what tech essentials are important to the success of your Giving Day?

#1 Mobile responsive

Donation conversions are 34% higher on responsive platforms. You can expect 17% of your donations to come from mobile on your giving day. The loss in conversion in not being mobile responsive will result in 6% fewer donations!


#2 Fast payments

Furthermore, many universities still use a single (long!) giving page through which all donations are made. This will also kill your mobile conversion rates. By all means offer it as an option, but if you want mobile gifts from younger donor donors, it’s important to offer alternatives. One-touch social authenticated payments anyone (such as Stripe)?

payment page

#3 Social sharing

29% of traffic to Giving Day pages, come from Facebook referrals so you can expect a substantial proportion of your traffic to come from all social media channels. Of course, this depends greatly on the social sharing tools you use: Facebook and Twitter are a must, but what about LinkedIn or Whatsapp? (Tip: #hashtags should be auto-added to posts, and make sure your hashtag is cool!)

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#4 Social tracking

Make social sharing even better by tracking social shares and resulting donations. You can then offer rewards to the most prolific sharers and represent them on a leaderboard. This is a great way to start gamifying your day…


#5 Gamification

My favourite example of this is at Hobart and William Smith Colleges (a single institution) where the colleges compete against each other on the day! It makes it fun, and it gives donors a reason to share it. You want to create content that makes people (as Matthew Inmam, creator of the Oatmeal puts it) “click the like button so hard Facebook’s servers would poop their pants.”

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In 2013, HWS received 2005 gifts, and they’re doing it again this year…

#6 Video

Speaking of good content, a video is a must. Crowdfunding projects are 147% more likely to reach their targets, partly because it creates a personal connection – so make sure your platform can host and share a video. Why not make it funny too, like the University of South Carolina:

#7 Ambassadors

So how do we instigate sharing of the video and other cool material? Firstly, simple viral spread of content is a bit of a myth. What actually happens is that major influencers occasionally “pick up” content and spark pockets of activity – see the Twitter cloud below for the YouTube video of Ryan Gosling Won’t Eat His Cereal (it’s a classic btw):


Each cluster originates from a single Twitter account – a major influencer. So could we plan this type of spread? In 2015, Washington State University asked Hubbub to socially profile its alumni database, and provide advice on who would make great ambassadors. Hubbub recommended 70 students and alumni with high affinity and high social presence, and then WSU went about preparing them for the big day. Armed with cool social media materials, the ambassadors helped WSU smash its of $125k, eventually raising $314k.

CougsGive125_Total jpg

#8 Matchfunding

So we have an ambassador program for guaranteed traffic to our Giving Day page, how do we go about generating larger gifts? That same way we always do! Santa Clara University set a target of 1001 donors to meet a $100,000 matchfunding grant from two alumni. It took them 3 hours to achieve it! They quickly found a new donor to offer the same match if another 1001 donors gave. They eventually achieved 2,973 donations! The moral: make sure your platform has a matchfunding feature fully integrated.

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#9 Hosting

Finishing on a more technical note… a conservative estimate of the traffic you’ll receive is 10 views per donation – and this is all going to arrive in one day! It is critical that your platform’s servers don’t poop their pants (see above). Make sure your provider uses a reputable server, e.g. Amazon AWS, and ideally more than one. This is so that if there’s, say, a tropical storm where the server is stored, your platform can immediately switch to another server… Because there’s only one thing better than a successful Giving Day, and that’s a successful, uninterrupted giving day.


Good luck with your Giving Day!

Duncan Knox

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