Platform Power

November 4, 2013

Consider the platforms available on which to raise funds.

On-air has power because it involves human faces and voices making a direct, heartfelt appeal. Direct mail has power because it is personal, and has a physical presence. And then there’s online – with our ubiquitous “Donate Now” buttons in the top corner – that nut we can’t quite seem to crack. 

Here’s what we know: On the average day, the vast majority of people who come to your site do not come with the intent to donate – just as the person who turns on their TV or radio in the morning is not expecting to be persuaded by a fundraising pitch, and the person who opens the mailbox is not expecting a letter from your organization. 

And yet they give.

So why aren’t we converting more people to donors online? 

Perhaps we haven’t caught up with the power of the online platform to inspire action.   

Think about it like this: You wouldn’t ever simply put a “donate now” button up in the corner of the TV screen and actually expect it to deliver results.  And you wouldn’t simply send a reply form in an envelope without taking the opportunity to enclose a personal letter sharing why support is important.

Yet this is what the vast majority of our online fundraising does. 

What’s there to catch attention? What’s there to inspire? Where’s the human pitch? Where’s the personal appeal?

  • What if you started simple, and made more of your donate button real estate. Add a short, powerful slogan like, “You keep this alive” or “Your support is critical” for example.
  • What if you added a video of a recognizable person from your organization making a powerful appeal for why funds matter — and you linked to it from multiple pages.
  • What if you created your own set of bold advertising buttons and banners and changed their content to match each section of your site. 
  • What if you built and launched an actual online campaign that uses many of these techniques and more, and lasts for a week or two.


It can be done with imagination and bold action..