Online Fundraising Academy: How charity:water is Harnessing the Power of Online Fundraising

technology to end water crisis_croppedKaitlyn Jankowski, charity:water’s Supporter Experience Manager joined us earlier this week for GlobalGiving’s first Online Fundraising Academy session of the year!

charity:water raised more than $8 million from more than 11,000 individual fundraisers in 2012. How did they do it? Kaitlyn shared charity:water’s approach to raising funds online! Kaitlyn manages mycharity:water, helping fundraisers become rockstars!

Session Recording: www.anymeeting.com/901-831-832/EF53DC82874D

Session Notes:

charity: water founded with two goals: end water crisis and reinvent charity

charity: water values

  • 100% model – all donations go towards funding water projects. Overhead costs covered by the Well (private donors, sponsors, board of directors)
  •  Proof – prove every dollar goes to projects. Email reports that provide information about the community money went to. Local partners contribute pictures and GPS coordinates.
  • Brand – having a brand like Apple or Nike. Building campaigns, invest in a creative team, cool corporate partnerships, no advertising or marketing budget. Everything done in house
    • Invest heavily in social media – Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. Posting updates and stories daily, give sneak peak of campaigns, let team travelling in field take over social media
    • Show what people have done in the past to raise money.
    • Use of photos to show brand

Online fundraising platform

  • Birthday model – Individuals raise money on their birthday.
  • People create their own campaign to raise money
    • Ex. Sarah Peck swim to Alcatraz if raise $29,000

Campaigns – charity: water holds 3 campaigns every year

  • World Water Day campaign
  • September campaign
  •  Holiday campaign – When you give clean water, you give other things like hope, beauty, future, etc. Launched new image every day
  • Campaigns focus on a story. Want to inspire people, not to make them feel guilty to give.
  • Specific campaign to buy drilling rig. To stay true to proof model, campaign broke down entire cost, put GPS on truck and can follow on Twitter.

Engage fundraiser and report back on GlobalGiving

  • Project pages allow donors to get a sense of what they’re giving to
  • Quarterly project reports – emailed to all supporters. Good communications tool. Can tell stories, statistics, and impact. Successful organizations report once a month to keep donors engaged.
  • Donors can fundraise themselves – click “+fundraiser” link on your project page. Donors can create their own page to raise money on behalf of an organization.  See example here: http://www.globalgiving.org/fundraisers/7852.

Question & Answer

Q: “How do you get campaigns to go viral? How do you find trendsetters to make campaigns work?” 

A: Campaigns don’t have to go viral to be successful. Fundraisers work really hard. Sarah Peck made goals to get interviews, have pieces published, post blog posts, sent lots of emails, utilized social media. A lot of it comes from the people’s story, not charity: water’s story.

Q: “Is it better to have multiple networks and less frequent posts, or less networks and more frequent posts?” 

A: charity: water has one twitter handle plus one for the drilling rig, and only one Facebook to keep things all on one page. The frequency of posts depends on channel. For Twitter, charity: water posts every day and retweets throughout the day, posts on Instagram every day, but Facebook is different. charity: water posts on Facebook only a few times a week so don’t clutter people’s news feeds. Call to action is different on the each social media site, so utilize it accordingly.

Q: “What channels drive the most conversions to donations?” 

A: Email is very good for fundraising. Give people a call to action and send 3 emails. People need reminders. You can also encourage others to give by recognizing people who already gave. Conversions over social media are smaller because of plausible deniability – you don’t know if people saw the post and people feel like they don’t have to act.

Q: “What are some tips for small organizations that can’t hire a creative team?” 

A: charity: water is good at asking for things for free. There are lots of design agencies who can help and avenues to get marketing and advertising for free. You can also take advantage of volunteer platforms like Sparked (https://globalgiving.sparked.com/welcome/nonprofit/globalgiving#1) and VolunteerMatch (https://surveyglobalgiving.wufoo.com/forms/volunteer-information/).

Q: “How does charity: water find fundraisers? How do people find out about charity: water and start the fundraiser process?”

A: Mostly through word of mouth. charity: water works on getting donors to become fundraisers.

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