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How to Engage Digital Donors: Reach Them Where They Are

The economy is capricious worldwide, which has shown its impact on charitable giving. After inflation, the non-profit donations are down by 10%, creating tough times for such organizations. But there is a silver lining in every dark cloud; online giving provides a glimmer of hope. The donations are growing, and their potential can be utilized by engaging with digital donors.

Digital marketing acts as a powerful tool for the financial sector; it keeps the donor community close and connected, boosts engagement, and leverages new opportunities. But how did you stand out from the crowd in this digital donor market?

Let’s start by understanding where they are and gradually progressing with the blog.

Statistics on online donations

While the overall charity market is on the downstream flow, few trends are on the rise. This includes the growth in online donations; here are some stats about the same:

  • 42% high in online giving over the past three years.
  • 28% of the online contribution is from mobile devices.
  • $154 average donation from text messages.
  • $90 of the online giving is from e-mail

*Source: Blackbaud Institute

These combined data resemble the overall growth of the online donation market. In the current scenario, there has been a lot of deflection in the market. Let us understand the bifurcated donations of various fields through a detailed table regarding E-mail and SMS giving.

Field of Donations 2020-21 2021-22 2022-23
All 9% 8% -2%
Cultural 11% 13% 17%
Disaster/International Aid 10% 13% -3%
Environmental 0% 3% -2%
Health 21% 7% -2%
Hunger/Poverty 37% 6% 3%
Public Media 9% 8% -2%
Rights 2% 9% -3%
Wildlife/ Animal Welfare 3% 20% -6%

*Source: M+R

This data shows that in the last span of years, non-profits have faced issues in bringing donations. There are multiple ways and possibilities to engage more and more digital donors; let’s see how.

How to engage digital donors

The digitally advanced world provides an opportunity to connect with a mass population. With technology, connecting with the community of digital donors is over the fingertips.

A non-profit organization can reach out and display their need for the funds in multiple ways. Some of the ways are,

• Through a digital currency

Digital currency like Bitcoin contributes to worldwide finance and potentially influences borderless transactions. Online givers who want to engage with social issues at a global level look out for such options where they don’t have to look for transactional boundaries.

Various NGOs accept Bitcoin donations; like these make the donors more engaged with them as their money is put to good use across multiple sectors such as child welfare, education, women empowerment, and many more. Another reason donors are more engaged is that everyone gets to explore the benefits of Bitcoin donations for non-profits, from individuals to businesses.

• By reaching out to multiple channels

To increase engagement efficiency and get to the donors online, non-profit organizations are taking a multi-channel approach to various communication channels. Some of these are:

▸ Websites

Being a non-profit organization or a charitable trust, the website should be the one-stop solution for everything related. It must engage the donors by providing all the required information, keeping them updated with the important data, and creating a safe portal where you can easily accept donations.

A website is the reflecting face of any organization and its community; hence, it should be a forefront warrior that displays all about your donation needs.

▸ E-mails

E-mails are one form of direct communication with the donors on the online platform. This includes info in the form of newsletters, invitation cards, and critical updates. Based on the donor’s past participation, personalized e-mails can be created regarding the events they have shown interest in.

For instance, if a donor has shown interest in a kindness drive the previous year, they may also be interested in the next one. As per the reports, e-mail communication has the highest return on investment (ROI) among multiple channels and platforms.

▸ Social Media

In this generation, social media is an inexpensive way to reach a vast audience. The only investment required to run a successful fundraising campaign on social media is time and effort. It provides an opportunity to customize the right content for the target audience on the appropriate platform.

No doubt! There is a lot of noise on social media, and getting that public attention will be challenging, but once you gain it, move it towards your database. Make your followers your subscribers by inviting them to sign up, RSVP, or donate to be connected.

▸ SMSs

According to research, 85% of Americans own a smartphone, which shows the growth of mobile technology. Non-profits can use this and develop innovative fundraising options like “text-to-donate.” These marketing channels are lucrative and efficient in the long run.

With time, more new technologies will be on the rise, and the engagement with digital donors will get more inclusive and advanced, but still, SMSs will be functioning in their realm and reaching the masses.

▸ Virtual events

When certain situations hit where conducting physical seminars or awareness drives is impossible, such as during a pandemic or in natural calamities, virtual events are the best form of communication with effective results. In the digital era, where the internet unites the world, getting a global reach for online giving will be a great idea.

Everything can be planned and executed through various virtual platforms, from educational events to donor engagement activities. Non-profits can share short videos like updates from the founders, tours of the new space, highlights of any organized event, or a gratitude post. This shows your clear call to action, and online givers find you more reliable for your cause.

• Through personalized communication

Digital marketing is a tool that allows non-profits to reach immense heights and brings out the best in their organization. However, having personalized communication is essential to engage with donors and supporters. The donors feel important and valued when their contribution is appreciated.

Non-profits or charities can use the information from the donor database and personalize the e-mails, contents, and suggestions based on the interest of each donor by analyzing their location, gender, and other affecting characteristics.

By keeping track of your donors’ attendance at events, you can make a curated reference of future events they might be interested in. This will create a strong relationship and loyalty with your donors, encouraging great engagement and donations in the long run.

• Online fundraising platforms

To simplify your charity process and to get more engagement from digital donors, online fundraising platforms are very helpful in increasing credibility and exposure. This offers convenience and security to the donors. There are multiple platforms where you can get these services, but to make the most of them, one should research and compare amongst others and get the one that best suits your requirements and budget.

Incorporating with that, create an attractive campaign page that highlights the mission, goal, progress, and impacts. Set realistic targets and communicate them to your consistent donors. Promote the campaign through them over various channels, and keep your donors updated with investment reports.

• By posting new content regularly

A non-profit must be dynamic to encourage donors and supporters to engage with them. Staying active and posting new content regularly can help in achieving this vision. Content is a great way to make the search engine fall for the keyword and drive a relatable audience to your work.

As such, there are various content strategies that a person can use, but the best that works in favor of a non-profit organization is,

▸ News page

Creating a news page on your website helps the donors to be updated on different events. One can add social media accounts and the newsfeed over the news page to make it more advanced.

Everything can be mentioned there, from the content to the updates on events. This will bring the donors to your website, and they may donate or show some interest in your upcoming events.

▸ Blog post

Unique content is precious, and it is well-noticed by search engines. Non-profits can publish blogs about their niche requirements and achievements. With some knowledge and expertise, they can enhance the reputation of their work amongst the community.

Digital donors or supporters will get to know your credibility, making them engage with your organization.

Through all these methods, a non-profit can engage digital donors and continue making the positive impact they bring to society. All of these ways help charities enhance their reach at the global level and find prospective online givers.

Current trends to consider

Online giving has shown some positive signs in the favor of charities and non-profits. To translate these signs into action. One needs to keep the current trends in consideration.

Let’s see what is evolving in the engagement of online donors:

• Marketing 101

As per the marketing basics, an average person needs to see a brand or service 7 to 9 times before taking action. This reminds us that people are easily distracted, but their subconscious reliability over their actions is required to make any further move. Hence, it is impractical to imagine that a single mail or social media post will convince the donors to give for a cause.

For impactful results, one needs to implement a consistent online engagement strategy. This is also known as marketing 101. This focuses on coherent messages that clearly state the core goal your non-profit organization is bound to follow. Consistent communication is also required to ensure your audience has heard your vision.

These are the must-haves of marketing 101; apart from this, an organization should be conventional and authentic towards their vision to connect with their givers with utmost clarity.

• Mobile devices

As per the smartphone usage stats, average American professionals spend 5 hours and 24 minutes on their mobile devices and check their phones 96 times a day or once every 10 mins. This signifies that mobile phones are the best way to promote if you want to reach people where they are.

Everything can be sent to a mobile phone, from text messages to promotional banners, and people will notice these things more often than any other marketing method.

• E-mail downs

The revenue generated from e-mail marketing shows a downfall in the market. At times, e-mails are seen as a reliable source of information and promotions, but as per the M+R benchmarks study, non-profits are not bringing the required ROI from the e-mails.

As the outreach strategy is planned for the digital donors, messages will now be communicated at multiple channels for a wider audience and a better approach.

• Open rates of text messages

A substantial positive response has been recorded against the text messages. Non-profit fundraising texts have shown a 90% open rate. Compared to e-mails, text messaging campaigns have the power to deliver more impactful results even with a smaller subscriber list.

In a gist, you need a consistent strategy over multiple digital channels to engage the digital donor community effectively. If all of these trends are considered and acted accordingly, it will be easy to get the attention of worldwide online givers.

Focus on donor retention

Non-profit veterans may or may not know something about donor retention. For people new to this industry, donor retention is the number of givers contributing to your organization over time. A charity with good donor retention has a solid foundation and a consistent base of donors on which they can rely.

Organizations with poor donor retention have to be focused on attracting new donors for their causes. Acquiring new givers is a vital strategy while retaining the previous givers has shown higher ROI. Getting new donors takes much time and effort without guaranteeing a colossal payoff.

Retaining donors not only enhances your chances of getting better returns but also helps foster your organization’s long-term growth and success.

Here are some ways that can help you out in the same:

• Provide reports

In non-profits, various initiatives take place over some time. To effectively show all the work associated with it, you can provide multiple reports to your donors.

  • Impact report: These reports are formed to provide insights into a non-profit’s goals, logistics, and outcomes. Online givers can check out the progress of the initiative they are joined with.
  • Annual report: Such reports are a staple in the charity industry. Yearly reports are published once, informing all the stakeholders about highlights and crucial findings of the previous year. This provides an overview of the achievements and improvements of the organization
  • Board report: Non-profit boards of directors can only access these reports. It is a document that includes news and updates. It is one of the ideal ways to keep in touch with all the board members and update them simultaneously.

Each of these reports acts as an excellent tool for donor retention. A digital report can be published with interactive elements like videos and clickable links; this will engage and excite the donors.

• Spread awareness

Whether new or old, constant awareness amongst the donors is required, and short videos or webinars are required to reiterate your mission and goals. This will remind them of the cause you stand for and keep them continuously contributing to the same.

If the organization is developing new initiatives, it is necessary to make everyone aware through e-mails, websites, banners, and more. This builds your credibility in the eyes of online donors, and they feel your non-profit is reliable enough to donate again. The benefit of spreading awareness is that it not only retains your digital donors but also brings out new givers of the future.

• Show gratitude

Gratitude is one of the most essential practices in the charity industry. As people invest their money in a specific initiative, they should get the appreciation in return. Most successful NGOs spotlight their donors on various platforms; they include honor rolls in their digital reports, appreciating everyone who has been a part of the givers’ community for their organization.

Being an industry that focuses on bringing positive change in the lives of underprivileged people, showing your appreciation will make digital donors feel respected, and they will be a part of your charity in the long run.

• Create an emotional connection

When a donor is emotionally connected with the initiative, there are more chances for them to be a part of it for the long term. Non-profit organizations can include photos, videos, or testimonials that showcase the efforts of your digital donors. This makes the donors think of you and connects their sentiments with your cause.

Retaining a digital audience is possible when they want to be a part of it, and making them feel like family generates trust between charity and the donor.


In the digital age, the success of a non-profit depends on online fundraising, and over time, it is getting more and more crucial. With such a growth potential, charities have to maximize their online presence. From the peak use of social media to hosting virtual events, there are plenty of ways to keep digital donors engaged. As mentioned above, this will help you to reach your fundraising goals.

With an on-point strategy and consistent efforts, digital donors can be engaged worldwide and succeed in your organization without waiting any further.

Speed Team