Using Digital Marketing to Boost your Fundraising Efforts

5 min read
Watb Team
A person copying text to note pad from a mobile

Digital marketing is used for all sorts. It’s used to help sell lots of products that, let’s face it – the world really doesn’t need.

So, let’s look at a way that digital marketing can most definitely be used as a force for good.

One of the biggest benefits of digital is the awareness-enhancing platform it gives to charities and causes. A recent report commissioned by the House of Lords Select Committee on Charities spoke about how important digital technology is for fundraising, especially mobile tech.

So, let’s have a look at how you can use digital marketing for your own fundraising efforts:

How to set up a Fundraising page

When you have a cause close to your heart, there are lots of different sites you can use to set up your fundraising project for online donations. This can be the hub that you send people towards from other platforms. Your social media ads and videos should all point towards a central hub where donations can be made. Usually, you’ll be able to embed donation buttons.

JustGiving Fundraising Page
Just Giving Profile Page

You’ve probably donated on some of these sites before:

You can also register your charity on a site like EveryClick which allows backers and supporters to link up with your charity and donate as they make purchases online through other retailers.

Crowdfunding is really popular too and lets you rely on lots of small donations instead of larger donations – lots of people can make a big impact basically. This should be used in conjunction with a marketing plan to make sure your cause is noticed online.

Try Amazon Smile – Amazon donates 0.5% of the product purchases to your charity

Attracting Donors

Build a detailed communications plan before you launch your campaign, with key milestones and opportunities to consistently promote your campaign. This means looking at the channels you’re going to use to promote your cause, your social advertising budget, the type of content you want to create and promote and your SEO strategy too.

Like with any digital or mobile campaign, you have to deliver your marketing strategy with your target audiences in mind. Try and capture some data and do some research on the typical donor or the types of audiences that usually engage with fundraising in your area.

Of course, if it’s an emotive subject, this can potentially be anyone, so delivering persuasive, poignant marketing is key. And deciding where to focus your attention is important too – using Facebook and Twitter advertising to provide links and more detail can give people a further insight into an issue. Instagram can be great for visually-driven marketing where you can grab attention with a poignant photo and tell people’s stories and show the people behind your cause.

Telling people what their donation will buy is a really effective way to encourage donations. When people know exactly how they will make an impact, it makes it a more tangible concept.

Tone of Voice

It’s crucial that you use an appropriate tone for your fundraising campaign. It goes without saying that being sensitive to the issue at hand is important and steering clear of campaigns that have the potential to cause offence or be patronising is recommended.

Using humour, emotion and a tone that’s thought-provoking are all good ways for your campaign to stick in people’s minds.

As long as your marketing campaign is authentic and honest, you’ll find that audiences will be able to relate to your cause or find it easy to empathise with it.

4 people walking along in matching shirts

You can experiment with tones of voice in your content marketing, so have a look at which types of videos and blog posts do particularly well and resonate with people.

The Dress: are social memes and shock tactics the future of charity marketing? Read this Guardian Article

Create a Community

Fundraising requires much more emphasis on narrative than marketing for other products and services. Building a community around an issue means that you need to deliver updates for audiences and allow them to closely follow a cause’s journey.

Facebook is great for creating the potential for a fledgeling community and you can start a group page that allows you to post updates and encourage your audience to share it with their followers too. SEO optimised video and blog content can be posted here and give you an opportunity to show where funds are being used and how fundraising is influencing people’s lives.

4 People sharing a laugh

Mobile Fundraising

It’s really important that your digital fundraising campaign is mobile responsive and optimised for mobile usage. So many people will see your campaign on their smartphone or tablet, so ensuring that your website and fundraising pages are fit for purpose is essential.

This means that you need to work on your page’s user design for mobile and make it mobile-friendly. You can make your pages more visually-driven with concise copy.

Make sure that the ‘donor journey’ is easy to navigate and simple to use – if audiences are faced with several long-form pages for them to fill out when they want to make a donation then they might leave a page and increase your exit rates.

Make sure that your donation pages are linked to PayPal and make it as easy as possible for people to donate.

Final Thoughts

When charities can access bigger audiences through digital, it immediately helps them to engage with potential donors for relatively low cost and divert more funds towards tangible change.

More awareness + more funds for charities = a better society!

One of the biggest benefits of digital is the awareness-enhancing platform it gives to charities and causes.

Social Media Management Software

In order to promote your business and reach consumers that spend an entire 24 hours a week online, you need to make sure that you have a viable social media strategy in place.

By posting unique and interesting content on your social media platforms, and by actively engaging with followers, you can start to turn this into a funnel for generating leads.

In order to stay on top of your social media strategy, it’s important to have some form of social media management software to do some of the heavy lifting. Software such as this is imperative for scheduling, tracking and monitoring social media content.

At its best, social media management software can help you not only plan your content months in advance, but also remain reactive by letting you tune into ongoing news stories or trending topics.

Screenshot of Hootsuite's homepage

We recommend: Hootsuite

There are a whole bunch of social media management companies out there and all of them offer roughly the same sort of package but Hootsuite is the only one that offers an actually free service (as opposed to just a free trial period).

They do try to hide it on their website though so make sure you follow this link in order to get to the right page.

The free version of this software lets you:

  • Manage up to three social media profiles from a choice of channels including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn
  • Schedule up to 30 posts in advance at any point in time
  • Track follower growth, likes and comments
  • Integrate two RSS feeds in order to find and share compelling content
  • Access Hootsuite’s online help center and community forum

Of course, there’s also a number of paid-for packages that you can buy from Hootsuite that give you access to a great number of services including higher ad spend budgets, automated post scheduling and custom analytics.

But if you’re a small business looking to get started, the free version of the software should be comprehensive enough to allow you to get your social media strategy in motion.

Website Tracking Software

We’ve said before that the secret to a successful lead generation strategy is to keep analysing and refining your methods. Well, website tracking software is the best way to conduct this analysis.

By digging into the analytics of your visitors’ actions, you can start to gain a better picture of why people come to your site, what they want from it, what they dislike about it and how you can improve upon their experience next time.

There are a wide variety of services that can fall into the category of website tracking software, including heatmaps, funnels, user polls, surveys, visitor recordings and more.

Basically, any kind of software that collects data about the ways in which your visitors interact with your site can be considered website tracking software.

Screenshot of Hotjar's homepage

We recommend: Hotjar

Whereas there are a multitude of smaller software companies that focus in on just one website tracking service, Hotjar offers an array of useful tools.

Hotjar tools include:

  • Click, move, scroll, download and share heatmaps that can also be split by device type
  • Visitor recordings that allow you to replay sessions of real site visitors
  • Conversion funnels that identify on which page and at which step the most visitors are leaving your site
  • Form analysis that can help you to discover which fields take too long to fill, which are left blank and why your visitors abandon your form and page
  • A customizable widget that allows you to create pop-up feedback polls
  • Responsive surveys that can be distributed through web links and emails, or featured your site just before your visitors abandon the page in order to discover what their concerns are
  • The ability to recruit test users in order to get instant feedback on your site

Hotjar’s free service is able to collect data from 2000 page views a day and will give you access to up to 300 visitor recordings and 3 heatmaps, forms, funnels, polls and surveys. Unlimited users can be added to your account and Hotjar will also store your data for a full year.

While we’d normally recommend free services when possible, it’s probably worth paying for Hotjar’s Plus plan to begin with.

For just under £25 a month you can collect data from 10,000 page views a day and have unlimited services and reports. Plus there’s even a 15-day free trial for you to test out whether you like their software or not.


Lead generation doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavour.

What’s important is that you put real effort into all of your interactions with potential leads - whether that’s through educational and informative blog posts, social media interactions or even just a chat on the phone.

If you believe in your business’ ability to help its customers then all you have to do is let that shine through.

Ultimately, these tools are just there to help you meet potential leads on their level. The rest is up to you.

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