One of my favorite things to do here at Abila is work one-on-one with a select number of clients. I enjoy really getting to know them, digging into their challenges, and working with them to overcome obstacles.
Case in point: Earlier this year I had the opportunity to work directly with the staff of Lexington Humane Society (LHS) to launch a completely new and updated online fundraising presence using Abila Fundraising Online (AFO). I can tell you, it was an unbelievable experience.
Not only do they do amazing work in the community and were a pleasure to work with, they also came to the project with energy, drive, and a “let’s do this” attitude that I think made all the difference in the world.
In the end, they saw a huge boost in their overall online fundraising – raising $68,546 in Q1 of this year – as well as increasing revenue for every online campaign they’ve launched so far this year. They also estimate saving 17+ hours per month in staff time by switching their fundraising over to AFO. You can read more about their game plan and results in their case study.
In fact, the case study came out so well we decided to also co-present a webinar with LHS, digging deeper into what they did, the results they achieved, and, of course, the lessons we learned along the way that you can learn from and follow in your own campaigns.
Here are three of the six online fundraising lessons learned:
1) Going “all in” can make all the difference in the world
Many of the organizations I work with are a bit hesitant, and don’t fully embrace online fundraising. LHS had the exact opposite approach. Team members wanted to ensure everything they did had an online fundraising component. While they still planned to do “offline” fundraising like live events, direct mail, etc., they felt they could be doing so much more online than they were. With that goal, we moved all of their campaigns online, or at the very least we created online components for all of their campaigns. This included donations, event registrations, camp registrations, and their annual peer-to-peer fundraising event the Mutt Strut.
Every one of these campaigns raised more money than the previous year, and the online components were an integral part of this success.
2) Always focus on the donor experience (dx)
When was the last time you REALLY walked in your donor’s shoes? What we mean by this is, when was the last time you tried to donate, register, or navigate your website just as your donors/supporters? I’ve found in my work with clients that this is definitely not done enough, and every time I do this exercise with a client we find ways to improve the donor experience.
LHS really took this idea to heart and ended up revamping or updating everything they could to improve the donor experience. From a rebranding of their logo, website, and events, to major improvements to their donation process, including optimizing their forms to reduce friction and increase conversions.
All of this work definitely paid off for them. They raised more money, reduced the staff time needed to support their online efforts, and received significantly fewer support calls from their supporters trying to donate or register online. That is what we call a win-win-win.
3) Optimize your forms
One part of the donor journey that’s often overlooked is optimizing online donation and registration forms. This was another area where LHS really embraced the best practices we discussed, and implemented as many as they could.
These best practices include requiring fewer clicks to complete the donation and fewer questions on the form; LHS branding throughout the donor experience; and finally, showing donors the impact their donation would make for the animals and the community.
Want to dig deeper into these lessons and find out what the other three lessons are? Check out the webinar recording, “Build an Online Fundraising Machine.”
Spoiler alert: One participant called it, “Sincerely one of the best webinars I have ever attended.”