Marketing strategy for charities

How to generate more donations online

In this post I will share a digital model with you that will transform the way you raise charitable donations online.


Do you have a ‘donate now’ button on your site? Are you wondering why the flow of online donations is low or stalling? There are a few reasons for this.

Firstly, traffic to blogs is declining. Despite what online marketers will tell you, things are changing. Web sites are generating less direct traffic because online users are consuming their content via online social platforms such as You Tube, Facebook and Instagram – they get what they need without having to leave the platform!

In order to bring visitors to your web site you must have a really compelling reason, one that will cause them to exit the app they are in, lose their place in their timeline and visit your web site. Even then, so many web sites load so slowly that the delay will cause the new visitor to abandon their original intentions and return to the pace, variety and spontaneity of their social media feeds.

Secondly, there is no sense of connection. Sometimes charities expect the donation because it’s for a good cause. Today, time and money are becoming more and more scarce for many families whilst the fight their attention is increasing. Everyone is asking for the sale, for the donation, for the attention and the online space is flooded! In order to secure the donation, you must really ‘connect’ with the person making the donation: share your story, build rapport and form a relationship that is set to last.

Thirdly, there is a strong sense of apathy. People will rarely donate to a charity out of the blue, even if it’s one they know well.  We all think ‘someone else’ will donate or the charity will find their funding elsewhere. To secure donations from this large group of people, charities need to show the direct and immediate way their money will help. They need to shorten the timescales and show where the money will go and why it’s so important right now.

You see, people rarely realise the direct and life changing impact they can have by donating even a small one off amount of money and there is a huge opportunities for charities today to connect with new people, build lifelong relationships and raise more donations online.

Against this backdrop, let me introduce you to IX7’s ‘Model for Charitable Donations’ and show you how to secure more donations online.

How to get online donationsThis is called funnel marketing. The aim is to move people gently through a funnel for mutual benefit. In this case, the user donates to a cause they love and feel passionate about and the charity secures a new online donation and lifelong supporter. This is not about tricking or manipulating people. It’s about the journey of a new relationship.

Let me take you through the model, starting with the end in mind.




Donating to a charity or working with a new supplier is not a one way street. It’s a partnership and as partners, donators like to know:

  • Where is my money going exactly?
  • Who will benefit from it today?
  • What will my money buy or do specifically?
  • What impact will my donation have?
  • How might this relationship grow?


Today, more and more people (especially young people) are becoming far more conscious about where they spend their money. People are buying coffee from local traders and avoiding the big chains over their tax evasion strategies. More people than ever before are going vegan because of their values or the impact the animal farming industry is having on the planet. There are more people out of work and running their own businesses online than at any other time in history.

So if we’re going to give to a charity we want to be sure the money will make a difference and that we get to part of that impact.

In partnering with your new contributor how can you show them where their money will go and allow them to feel part of the team? Maybe you could launch a private Facebook group for people who donate? Maybe you could offer exclusive events to people who donate a certain amount?

Whatever you try, think of your new contributor as a fair and equal partner who has a vested interest in your success. Because they do.




Before you win your new partner you must really communicate the benefits of partnering up; of joining your tribe! This stage is about building rapport (forming a new relationship) and delivering lots of up front value.

This stage isn’t just about telling your story – it’s about moving people emotionally. It’s about taking them on a fulfilling journey of discovery about your charity and the impact it has in the world: their world.

For example, you could encourage people to subscribe to you on You Tube (see stage 2) and share with them an exclusive video series about some of the most profound changes you’ve made to people or animals lives because of your work. Maybe it’s a privately shared undercover series about what happens to animals in laboratories, with each video introducing an animal you saved from cruelty. Maybe it’s an interview with children and their families who’ve benefited from new trikes donation money bought. You could even show the donator meeting the family who benefited to show just how real and personal your cause is. Maybe it’s a free video series on how to raise money for your next marathon or how to go vegan.

Think about your audience and what need they might have. What can you offer for free that will make it worth the exchange of their attention for now? The answer is what’s called a ‘lead magnet’.

A lead magnet is something you exchange in return for their sign up to your mailing list or their subscription to your You Tube channel. Notice here we’re not asking for a donation at this stage. This only happens at stage 4.




This stage is about getting people into your network; your fan base. This might be a like on Facebook, a sign up to a mailing list or a new subscriber on You Tube. It’s about connecting with new people so you can begin to add value. This is an exchange: their contact details for your content.

If you start with the end in mind and create your ‘lead magnet first’ you’ll have lots to share with new audience members. You can share teasers of what’s to come or make a ‘showreel’ style video with clips of what’s in the free give away. Then every time you post new content you can include a link to the free give away. This is really purpose driven, funnel marketing. Each step has a next logical action.

You might know that with Facebook marketing you can show ads to people who’ve been on your web site. Did you also know you can hide ads from people who’ve been to your site? So, for example, if people have already signed up to your lead magnet, you can set up ads to share with new people in your target audience but avoid people who’ve already signed up!  

And don’t worry about being perfect at this stage! Many charities think they have to show a finished and polished piece to new audience members to build trust. It’s not true. The truth is, people find it easier to connect when people show their vulnerabilities. Could you show the challenges you’ve overcome to get here? Could you share your journey of change online and let people be a part of it?

Imagine a four part video series on a sick animal that is recovering. Animal lovers would subscribe to to your You Tube channel or like you on Facebook to see what happens and might just ‘partner’ with you to be part of the next story.

Imagine a three month video series on a new school being built or aid being delivered or a man learning to work with his new guide dog. Would people love to sign up to see what happens and then donate to the next project?

We love stories and we want to be part of the journey. Let us come with you and we’ll soon want to partner up!




Okay, now you have your funnel in place. When someone reads your content, it’s for a purpose. You’re going to build a relationship, add value and ask to partner up!

Now it’s time to reach new people! This is where blogs, videos, news, outreach events and social media come in really handy! Especially Facebook advertising.

But now your content has more purpose and it works as part of an overall funnel. Now you know exactly what content to create and how to share it. It makes everything more effective, more specific and more impactful!


Looking for support?


We love helping charities to communicate their message online to reach new audiences and secure more online donations. Get in touch with us if you’d like to hear how we can help you rebuild your web site, launch a digital marketing funnel strategy and generate more online donations for your charity.


Lisa Bean, founder of multiple six-figure businesses, speaker, coach and consultant.

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