4 Steps to increase digital donations during the holiday season

The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year. Many fill their calendars with travel plans and social activities and their shopping carts full of gifts.

But between the hustle and bustle, people are also more generous, not only towards their friends and family but local communities too. Peak giving occurs during the last two weeks before Christmas, and not-for-profits should take advantage.

GiveEasy, our donations platform partner, shared their strategy to attract more donors this holiday season with us. It’s a 4-step plan that can help you supercharge your holiday season marketing campaigns (and any other season, really).

Let’s get started!

Step #1 - Attract donors across all your channels

Use every channel you have available to help attract new donors and educate your donors about your cause.

During this time of the year, make sure that your appeal is specific to the holiday season. People want to give because ‘tis the season, so keep things festive.

On traditional channels like direct mail, give people the option to donate online: 61% of Australians believe that charities can raise more money if they had the option to donate via mobile.

Utlise SMS: People check their phones up to 50 times per day on average, so it’s no surprise why SMS has a 98% open rate.

PayPal should also be part of your mix. 54% of Australians prefer it because they believe it’s more secure than a credit or debit card. First-time donors prefer it.

Track your marketing initiatives

We won’t get into too many details here, but you should track where your donations come from with tools like Google Analytics. To make things more interesting, we recommend that you use UTM parameters, especially if you send SMS donation campaigns.

UTM parameters can help you track if your traffic and donations come from mobile search, mobile ads, or SMS campaigns. Check out the guide if you haven’t already.

Step #2 - Personalise the donation experience

We wrote about why organisations need to personalise their marketing. It applies to charities and not-for-profits too.

People want more than just their first name on an SMS or email campaign. They expect a personalised donation experience from start to finish—from your first text message to your thank you page.

To do so, GiveEasy recommends list segmentation to improve relevancy. Here are some questions to help you divide your list into segments:

  1. What type of campaign is it?

  2. Christmas / Holiday Season giving

  3. Deadline appeal

  4. What donor group do they belong to based on their mindset?

  5. Curious people

  6. Concerned people

  7. Ready people

  8. Proud supporter

  9. Previous supporter

  10. How much do they donate?

  11. First-time donor

  12. Repeat donor who gives less than $100

  13. Repeat donor who gives between $100 and $200

  14. Repeat donor who gives over $200

SMS Donation Template

With this information, you can make your SMS donation campaigns very personal. Customise your Sender ID, add custom fields, suggest gift amounts, and use branded tracked links for each segment.

Tip: GiveEasy analysed hundreds of thousands of SMS messages sent from their platform during the holiday season. They discovered that the word “hope” yielded the best results.

As for the rest of the experience, GiveEasy can help you do it all. They provide mobile-friendly and personalised landing pages and thank you pages for each unique donor. Their platform helps you send SMS donations campaigns to current subscribers to encourage them to donate.

When returning donors click on the links in your SMS donation campaigns, GiveEasy pre-fills the their information on the landing page. In other words, their name, email address, donation amount, and payment details. It makes the process frictionless and helps prevent the donor from hesitating.

Basic example of mobile landing page with pre-filled information.

Step #3 - Make it fun to give and be a part of a community

The donation process doesn’t have to be cut and dry. Why not make it fun and memorable with gamification? Here’s how.

  • Add a countdown timer: Deadlines prompt us to take action swiftly. GiveEasy recommends using a countdown timer on your donation pages about two weeks before the deadline.
  • Add a live thermometer bar: Many people want to see things to their completion. Adding a live thermometer bar encourages donors to contribute, and it makes it a fun experience.
  • Add more than one way to pay: As mentioned previously, GiveEasy encourages charities and not-for-profit organisations to include PayPal as a payment gateway. Having more options enables your donors to pay in a way that they’re most comfortable.
  • Add a comment section: It’s always nice to see others donate and leave a comment. It encourages participation, and it helps to know there are others behind the same cause. Encourage people to comment by asking them a question on your donation page.
  • Add a donation doubler: If you can get a corporate sponsor to match donations, this is a definite winner. It’s very encouraging to know that your donation goes further.
  • Add a video: GiveEasy recommends that you add a video to help your donors connect with the cause and people behind it.

Step #4 - Say thanks at every stage

Donors appreciate a thoughtful thank you message, especially the moment they give.

Whenever possible, send an SMS when you reach milestones. GiveEasy also recommends MMS messages whenever you want to deliver more emphasis.

Use static images and GIFs. Check out our guide to creating a perfect MMS if you’re interested in learning how it works.

MMS Donation Example

Final Thoughts

We hope that you found this information helpful, and more importantly, inspired you to take action during this holiday season. You might also be interested in our SMS Templates for Donations and 10 Ways to Say Thanks.

Who is GiveEasy?

GiveEasy provides world-leading fundraising and social innovation solutions for a digital and mobile future. They connect charities, causes and not-for-profits to their supporters and communities through simple, smart and social digital giving solutions.