That day is today.
I’m Tim Bertram. Over the years, I’ve helped pro-liberty non-profit organizations transform from being clueless at online fundraising to being world-class experts. I’ll save you a lot of time and headaches by sharing most of my secrets here. At the end of this article I’ll tell you how you can learn even more.
Let me break it down in three parts:
- The Basics
- The Tactics (you do NOT want to skip this part)
- The Next Steps
Part 1: The Basics
Make it simple and direct.
Earth-shattering stuff so far, right?
Donors are busy. Our supporters receive 20+ emails a day asking them for contributions, so your message must be simple to understand and contain a clear Call-To-Action (CTA).
When I finish writing a piece of fundraising copy, I re-read it and ask myself, “Would my grandma be able to understand this? Would she be able to fill out this donation form?”
If the answer is no, I’ve got a big problem. And so do you, if she wouldn’t understand yours.
Appeal to your donors’ hearts, not their brains.
Libertarians and conservatives love facts.
Unfortunately, reciting the latest study commissioned by the CATO Institute, or providing statistics, polling numbers, and data do not move people to donate.
Telling moving stories that show donors why their support matters does.
There’s a reason pet adoption agencies play Sarah Maclachlan music and tell you stories about individual dogs in shelters that need help. You connect with stories and individuals – not with statistics.
Ask, and you shall receive.
I can’t take credit for this idea. A man named Jesus Christ coined this expression, and he was right about everything.
Too many fundraisers are afraid to make the ask.
You’re afraid of asking too early, asking for too much, or asking too often. You’re scared to send the bold email, and you’re too nervous about picking up the phone.
Well, I’ve got great news for you! People want you to ask them for money.
Yes. Potential donors want the opportunity to make an impact with their money.
If your mission is exciting, changing the world, having a REAL impact, and moving the needle in favor of liberty, then thousands of generous donors want to support your cause.
The bad news is that the inverse of this expression is true as well. Don’t ask, and you shall NOT receive.
The number one reason people donate to a cause is that someone asked them to give.
Part 2: The Tactics
Now that you’ve learned the basics and have overcome your fear of making the ask, we’re ready to get into the details!
You need donation pages that convert donors.
Your donation page should NOT contain any other links to other pages on your website.
There should be no links to your social media pages, contact pages, or recent blogs. The idea here is that you want the user to take only ONE action… to donate!
Your donation processor must also have tools to upsell donors and simplify the form completion process. Optimize Consulting recommends using Anedot for non-profit fundraising. Their team creates simple, stunning, and high-performing landing pages, and they respect the privacy of your donors.
Install donor upsells.
This may seem counterproductive, but do not pre-check recurring boxes. Donors will be upset, and you will lose their trust.
Write a “Donor Recovery” message and add it to your pages. This tool is similar to what many retailers do when you fail to check out — They send an email later reminding you to finish shopping.
Write excellent copy that earns donations, garners replies, and cultivates relationships.
Your supporters receive 10-20 fundraising emails a day from non-profits and candidates running for office.
Failing to stand out in their inbox is an invitation to their trash box.
Send a fundraising appeal that provides some level of value, contains a message they’ve never seen before, or generates curiosity.
Write fundraising copy that is authentic to the sender’s voice. Too many pro-liberty organizations want to send formal emails to demonstrate their sophistication.
No one cares, and it doesn’t work.
Don’t be afraid to show personality or how passionate you are about liberty in your fundraising copy.
Online fundraising’s most significant disadvantage is retaining a donor’s attention while on a phone or laptop. The supporter might have eight different tabs open, receive three text messages, and have things to do.
You MUST create a sense of urgency for the user to take the next step immediately, before doing anything else.
Urgency comes in the form of breaking news, progress towards goals, fundraising deadlines, and appealing to the donor as if the battle for liberty is unfolding at the very moment they are reading your message.
Invest in a digital infrastructure created after the 90s dot-com bubble.
Yes, this part requires spending money.
But if you’re using the same MailChimp account you created eight years ago, haven’t grown your email list, or use excel spreadsheets to serve as your CRM of choice, you are holding your organization back from executing your mission.
Organizations willing to invest in digital infrastructure will lead the liberty movement forward.
Part 3: The Next Steps
Adding 100, 500, 1,000, and even 5,000 new donors to your organization’s donor base in 12 months is entirely possible.
It takes knowing where we the liberty movement is gaining traction in email lists, content publishers, or advertising partners. The playing field is constantly changing and it takes an experienced partner to help you skip some of the pitfalls of trial and error.
Optimize Consulting has done precisely this for organizations such as Libertas Institute, Young Americans for Liberty (YAL), the Media Research Center (MRC), the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), John Stossel’s Center for Independent Thought, and many more.
I want to help you transform your organization’s online fundraising efforts and fight liberty with you.
You may also email me at [email protected].
And if you are interested in meeting face to face while also interacting with other liberty-loving individuals, join me at FreedomFest, July 13-16, where you will learn how to become an excellent online fundraiser by attending Optimize Consulting’s breakout session at FreedomFest this year.
See you there.