How to Motivate your Congregation to Engage with Online Fundraising

The Digital Shift in Fundraising

Online fundraising is more widely used than ever, and is rapidly supplanting offline fundraising. Although digital fundraising might seem like an odd fit for faith-based organisations, the online world has a lot to offer and is becoming more popular with faith-based causes. We hope we can convince you of the potential of digital fundraising and that we can offer you the guidance you need to use it successfully.

The Rise of Digital Fundraising in Faith-Based Communities

Whilst fundraising for faith-based organisations has traditionally been offline, with a focus on face-to-face interactions, digital fundraising offers considerable benefits. And it’s being adopted widely in faith-based communities. 

Using the latest technology to raise funds might feel like a strange choice for an organisation steeped in tradition and community. But alongside its other advantages, online fundraising can be made personal and emotionally engaging. It can be an effective way to spread your word and motivate your congregation.

Forms of Digital Fundraising

Online fundraising takes a range of forms, including:

  • Online donation platforms where donations can be easily given and processed, like PayPal and Qgiv. 
  • Crowdfunding platforms, like GoFundMe, Patreon, Kickstarter, and Indiegogo. 
  • Email fundraising campaigns, similar to mail fundraising.  
  • Virtual events and online auctions – these can be done on Facebook or through specialist online auction software. 
  • Social media fundraising – many platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, support donations via social media accounts. 
  • easyfundraising – your supporters can donate to you as they shop online (we’ll discuss more on how we can help you raise donations below). 

The Benefits of Online Fundraising

Online fundraising has surged in popularity over the last decade, including with faith-based organisations. It offers a range of benefits, including:

  • Wide reach: Digital fundraising methods, especially supported by social media, can have a wide reach, transforming a local organisation into one with a global impact.
  • Ease of donation: With digital platforms, supporters can donate to you easily from the comfort of their own homes or even on the go from a phone. You can also offer a range of ways to donate online, including recurring donations, to allow supporters to choose the method that best suits them.
  • Personalised engagement: Digital fundraising platforms allow for personalised interactions with donors, like thank-you messages and updates. This helps you foster a sense of connection and involvement.
  • Transparency: Online platforms offer features that ensure transparency and accountability, like progress updates and the ability to show how funds have been spent. This can help build trust and create a sense of involvement among donors. 
  • Diversification of funding streams: Your organisation can adopt online fundraising alongside traditional offline fundraising. This provides more streams of donations, helping to increase funds and make you more resilient to fluctuations in donations.

Understanding your Congregation’s Digital Comfort Level

Understanding how confident the people in your congregation are online can help you identify the best fundraising platforms to use. It can also help you understand where you can offer support.

Assessing Digital Literacy Within the Congregation

The ability to use online applications comfortably varies amongst individuals. Being aware of the levels of technological proficiency in your congregation can help you pick the right digital fundraising platforms, ensuring the success of your online efforts. 

Before deciding which online platforms you want to use, take some time to better understand how the members of your congregation use the internet. Focus on which sites they use and what types of social media they’re most active on and familiar with. Social media can be particularly important for digital fundraising.

Providing Digital Fundraising Education

Once you’ve decided on one or more digital fundraising platforms, you can provide guidance on how your congregation can use them, including training and resources. Consider:

  • In-person workshops
  • One-on-one lessons
  • Info materials, both online and printed
  • Online instructional videos
  • Training members of the congregation to train others

Motivational Strategies for Online Fundraising

You can use your social media and other forms of online communication to inform your congregation about your digital fundraising and to inspire them to donate and get involved. Seek to:

Tell Your Story

People love stories. Storytelling is the form of communication we typically find the most captivating and inspiring. Try to explain your organisation’s role online as a story, with the challenges you face and help overcome. Highlight individual stories of your members’ achievements, if possible and appropriate, to capture and hold the attention of your supporters.

Communicate the Impact of Donations

Make it clear how previous donations have been spent and how they’ve impacted the work of your organisation. Seeing the tangible results of past fundraising can be a powerful motivator to become involved in fundraising this time around to help achieve similar results again. Frame these communications as stories to make them even more effective.

Make Online Fundraising a Community Effort

Developing a sense of community around your organisation’s online fundraising is crucial for engaging supporters and creating a shared sense of purpose. Consider the following to help you do so:

  • Set collective goals that are defined together with your congregation.
  • Encourage team fundraising activities.
  • Delegate fundraising activities throughout your congregation.
  • Share personal stories and testimonials from community members about why they are passionate about the cause and how it has impacted their lives. 
  • Recognise and appreciate the contributions of your congregation.
  • Create dedicated online spaces for people to interact and discuss online, such as social media groups.

Leveraging Social Media and Digital Platforms

Social media is essential to support and promote your digital fundraising efforts. Other platforms, like easyfundraising, offer you effective ways to raise donations too.

The Power of Social Media in Online Fundraising

Social media offers you an effective way to promote your online fundraising endeavours and to engage with your congregation. You can even use social media platforms to collect donations directly. 

For many people, social media is their most frequent online activity. Such platforms can be the ideal place to contact and build relationships with your congregation. Consider using your social media to spread word about your digital fundraising endeavours, including links to where your supporters can donate to you. But you can also use it more broadly to engage and keep in touch with your congregation. An open, interactive, warm and welcoming online presence will encourage involvement with your supporters and foster a sense of community, all of which will help encourage donations. 

Utilising Fundraising Platforms like easyfundraising

When it comes to raising donations online, you’ve got a variety of fundraising platforms available to you, including crowdfunding sites and social media services. But easyfundraising can offer your organisation another approach to raising money online.

We’re a donation platform where people can raise funds for charitable causes with their everyday online shopping, without it costing them any more than what they’re already spending. After people sign up with us, they can shop with over 7,500 online retailers. Those retailers will then donate a part of what each person spent to their chosen cause. 

We offer our easyfundraising shoppers a simple and cost-effective way to raise money for charity. And we give your organisation an opportunity to receive donations from your supporters as they shop, without any charge to you. Find out more about how we work and register your faith-based organisation with us as one of our good causes. 

Once you join us, we’ll provide you with a suite of tools to help you promote easyfundraising as a way for your congregation to support you. These include pre-prepared email templates, social media posts, and WhatsApp messages.

Encouraging Continued Digital Engagement

To keep your congregation engaged with your social media and your online fundraising over the longer term, it’s essential that you foster a sense of community online. You can do so by:

  • Interacting with your followers and engaging in open conversation with them.
  • Providing regular updates on your organisation.
  • Celebrating successes and happy events in your community. 
  • Posting engaging media, including photos and video.
  • Being open to and welcoming feedback and suggestions.

By building a welcoming online community around your digital fundraising efforts, you can keep your congregation involved, motivated, and supporting your organisation.