The past year has seen a rapid shift in digital fundraising, and the ways people donate appear to have changed for good. According to UK Fundraising, as much as 40% of the public have not made any form of cash donation to charity since before the pandemic started. Only a quarter (26%) have said that they are willing to use cash for donations going forward. And more than half (51%) have chosen online as their preferred method.
As a result, around 62% of European charities, including those in the UK, plan to increase their focus on digital fundraising channels going forward. And all this means that the relatively new role of the Digital Fundraiser is here to stay.
If it’s your first time recruiting for this position, we have some top tips and guidance on finding your perfect candidate.
What exactly is digital (or virtual) fundraising?
Digital fundraising is all about using a range of digital channels to reach and expand your donor audience, increase engagement and provide new opportunities for giving. But it’s important to have a coordinated approach. And developing a digital fundraising strategy is particularly useful if you’re looking to grow your community and tap into new audiences.
Online events form a key part of digital fundraising. And while the vaccine programme will no doubt herald the return of in-person fundraisers, there will be many events which are likely to remain remote, at least in part.
Anthony Nolan is just one charity which has embraced the new event format:
“ We’ve adopted new ways of enabling our committed supporter base to keep active. From developing virtual quiz packs, Facebook fundraisers and outdoor challenges to posting fundraising toolkits in the mail (…) And although we hope for a return to physical events and engagement in the not-too-distant future, we are certain that many of the changes of the last year are here to stay. So retaining the flexibility to engage our supporters in new and innovative ways means that we can reach bigger audiences. ”
What tasks might a Digital Fundraiser undertake?
The exact role and responsibilities of a Digital Fundraiser will of course vary by charity, but broadly they are likely to encompass the following areas.
Creating a digital fundraising strategy–which includes creating campaigns based around events or themes and tying together the activity from different digital strands: emails, social media, paid advertising, content pieces, landing pages and more.
Overseeing digital ads–which will usually involve creating ads, optimising paid digital activity and reporting on outcomes.
Managing social media–which will likely cover several platforms, including LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and more. It will usually involve managing both the content and its coordinated distribution.
Managing relationships with digital marketing suppliers–which might include email platform providers, online search and display agencies, and digital creative agencies. The idea is to ensure they are aligned with your charity’s objectives and deliver to agreed KPIs.
Playing a key role in budgeting–which might include making investment cases for new digital fundraising activities, pro-actively managing budgets and monitoring spend.
Reporting – which will likely include creating regular reports on digital fundraising campaigns to ensure that they are delivering on target.
What skills should you look for in a Digital Fundraiser?
Below are just some of the skills that we’ve found most digital fundraising roles require:
- a proven ability to write and edit highly engaging fundraising copy across online channels, including email, website and paid ads.
- strong Google Ads / PPC skills.
- a good knowledge of Google Analytics to analyse campaign performance.
- a good knowledge of digital marketing techniques including email communications, search marketing and social advertising.
- the ability to produce accurate analytics reports of digital fundraising performance.
- strong interpersonal skills and the ability to develop good working relationships.
What you can read next
An investment in the future
Digital fundraising is the new status quo, so make sure that your charity is staying ahead of the curve. Why not start by taking a look at your existing fundraising strategy? That way you can evaluate whether you need to increase your focus on digital. And if you’re conducting a broader digital skills gap analysis, we have some guidance which might help.