Four Online Fundraising Tips

When fundraising online, there are four words that your website must have to engage visitors and maximize donations. Obviously, the Donate Button must be prominently featured, but these 4 words are what you really need on your website.

4 Online Fundraising Tips

4 Words For Online Fundraising Success:

  1. Subscribe
  2. Volunteer
  3. Join
  4. Watch

Online Fundraising – Are These Four Vital Words on Your Non Profit Fund Raising Website?

Your success at online fundraising depends on four words. If you want to acquire members and donors, raise funds and encourage others to advocate for your cause, these four words must appear on your website.


The secret to Internet fundraising is not your website, but email. Your donors won’t return to your website repeatedly anymore than they will read your fundraising letters repeatedly or return to your banquet hall repeatedly.

You must give them a reason to return. A compelling reason.

And you do that with emails. Emails sent to website visitors who gave you their email addresses voluntarily.

The most important job you have as an online fundraiser is capturing email addresses.


I heard of a father who was having a chat with his four-year-old son. “Son,” asked dad, “how come you don’t watch much television? When I was your age I watched TV all day.”

The boy didn’t have to hunt for his answer. “Television is so yesterday. It doesn’t do anything.”

Your website visitors arrive at your online fundraising website or non-profit homepage with their itchy index fingers poised over the back button.

They are looking for something to do, something to click. Or they’re gone. They don’t want to sit and read.

So unless you give them something to do (complete a poll, sign a petition, give their opinion, refer a page to a friend, volunteer) you won’t attract or keep many donors with your website.


The most important button on your website does not say DONATE. A donate button is simply the online equivalent of an offline check book. It is the medium, not the message. It is the resource, not the reason.

Which means your charitable website has to persuade visitors to become donors. Not just make a donation. You don’t just want donations. You want donors.

And your donors don’t want to be treated like Automatic Banking Machines with a pulse. They want to feel that they are joining with like-minded individuals in a common cause.

They want to feel appreciated. So you must give them a case for support that stirs their emotions, satisfies their inner skeptic, and motivates them to join your cause.

If they feel like they are joining a cause rather than making a donation, they will make the donation.


Your non-profit website needs more than words on a screen to keep the attention (and loyalty) of today’s donors.

Websites that feature short, interesting videos attract more visitors and keep them on the sites longer than static websites that feature words and images only.

Same goes for charities that have a presence on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. They attract more eyeballs.

Naturally, your Internet fundraising site also needs the word DONATE to appear on every page. You can’t raise funds without it.

But those other four words are more important. They must come first.

In a restaurant, you view the menu, place your order, eat until satisfied, then pay. Restaurants that get the decor, service and food right, make money. And repeat business.

Learn more

Read Online Fundraising Secrets. Learn the latest tactics for attracting website visitors and raising money online with compelling webpages, irresistible email appeals and engaging email newsletters.

Alan Sharpe, CFRE, is a fundraising practitioner, author, trainer and speaker. Through his weekly newsletter, books, handbooks and workshops, Alan helps not-for-profit organizations worldwide to acquire more donors, raise more funds and build stronger relationships. As the Director of Direct Development with The Gideons International In Canada, Alan manages their direct mail, major gifts and planned giving programs. Sign up for “Alan Sharpe’s Fundraising Pointers,” Alan’s free, weekly, email newsletter, at

More Online Fundraising Tips

The Art Of The Ask – No matter what type of fundraising you are doing, you have to do the ask. The Art Of The Ask varies depending on how you’re raising funds – in person, online, in an appeal letter, or in an email – but it all comes down to getting people to donate money to your cause.

Give Donors What They Want – The secret to getting donations for your non-profit is to give donors what they want. People give to causes to make a difference in others lives. And what donors really want to know is how their donation will help people.

Write Fundraising Letters About People, Not Projects – Here’s why you should write your fundraising letter about people and not projects: Because people care about other people and want to hear how their donations will improve the lives of others.

Six Key Fundraising ROI Benchmarks – There are six key nonprofit fundraising ROI benchmarks that every group should be tracking. After all, if you don’t know your fundraising costs per dollar raised, then your nonprofit will quickly become a no-profit. Of course, the fundraising ROI formula has more to it than just measuring costs.