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How to Start with Online Fundraising

Nonprofits can rake in big sums through social media, email, giving days, and other online fundraising efforts, but it can be tricky to get started.

To increase your chances of success, make sure your website and donor communications work well on mobile devices. Nearly a quarter of online gifts in 2018 were made via smartphone or tablet, according to a study of more than 5,500 nonprofits conducted by Blackbaud, a company that develops software for charities.

It’s vital to create fundraising appeals that are optimized for smaller screens, says Jake Blumberg, executive director of GiveMN, the nonprofit that runs Give to the Max Day, which supports Minnesota charities. This calls for an approach different from those of other outreach channels, such as email. “It’s the difference between a couple hundred words and two images being visible on a screen,” says Blumberg, “and seeing two sentences and maybe one image being visible and read.”

You should also focus on making it easy to donate through a mobile device. For example, offer payment methods — PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay — that don’t require people to enter their credit-card numbers on a tiny screen, says Kestrel Linder, CEO of GiveCampus, a fundraising platform for schools and colleges.

Here we’ve gathered resources from the Chronicle to help you start or ramp up your organization’s online fundraising program.