Warming Up To Causes Online

Temperatures are dropping and the holiday season is approaching, causing an outbreak of the “warm and fuzzies.” Yes, the giving season is upon us, and this year is already proving to be the most digitally driven to-date. Nearly every holiday cause campaign underway has an online component, thanks, in part, to growing consumer comfort interacting with brands via new media – up 32 percent from 2008.

Despite all the glittery online promotions, it’s important to recognize consumers are still hesitant to donate online. The 2009 Cone Consumer New Media Study showed some American new media users are concerned whether their donations will have an impact and others would rather donate offline. But that’s not to say online donations cannot be powerful. A leading holiday fundraiser and one of Cone’s Nonprofit Power Brands, the Salvation Army overcame the odds when, in 2008, online fundraising for its iconic Red Kettle campaign contributed an additional $10 million to annual revenues. However, the nonprofit was savvy enough to use new media fundraising as a complement to its offline efforts, ensuring donor comfort and convenience whatever the medium.

To help build confidence and trust among your online supporters this holiday season, keep in mind some best practices for new media fundraising:

  • Demonstrate tangible impact: illustrate for consumers how their donation is being put to work by showcasing goals achieved in real-time

  • Tap emotion: demonstrate why your cause is important to donors through emotionally compelling storytelling

  • Provide value to contributors: don’t leave your donors hanging once they open their wallets – make them feel special by providing a badge of honor to display on their social networks or offer additional opportunities to support the cause

  • Make it social: incorporate tools that make your campaign easy to share and pass along

The Big Warm Up installation, Boston

The Big Warm Up installation, Boston

Doing its part to warm communities, Land’s End recently launched the Big Warm Up to encourage winter coat donations to the country’s homeless. The campaign embodies many of the best practices, having a robust online campaign that marries with its offline efforts - and, it just happens to be installed right outside our office windows.


Back to Insights