The Dos and Don’ts of Digital Fundraising

By Amanda Rigali on

<img class="alignleft size-thumbnail wp-image-6378" src=" meilleur site pour×150.jpg” alt=”Allessandra Green Profile” width=”150″ height=”150″ />Giving in the Arts can often be unpredictable. Funding trends are not always obvious and although I have only been fundraising for a month, I have quickly learnt that you cannot assume where your next donation will come from or how it will be delivered.

This has been especially true with regards to my understanding of digital fundraising. Prior to starting the Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy Fellowship, online giving was always a type of fundraising that I assumed would be popular; If the average UK adult spends over eight hours a day using technology, then it seemed logical that making an online donation would be an easy and appealing option to many donors.

However, according to the latest Charities Aid Foundation UK Giving report, only 15% of last year’s charitable donations were made online, and only 11% were given via text. Although many donors, especially those age 65+, prefer such traditional methods of giving as cash and direct debit, I’m not convinced that these statistics are caused by a lack of awareness about online giving. Instead, they reveal how much we, as arts organisations, need to enhance our digital profile and improve the ease of donating online.

In a recent poll, 24% of British donors reported that they found the main barrier to donating online was that it was a ‘complicated process’, whilst 21% cited ‘slow websites’ and 15% cited ‘incompatible websites’. Meanwhile, the Digital Culture 2014 report revealed that only 38% of arts and culture organisations undertook ‘revenue generating digital activities’, such as accepting online donations in the past year as they lacked the time, funding and in-house knowledge.

Digital Culture 2014: How arts and cultural organisations in England use technology (p.36)

With this in mind, I thought that I would share the top tips on effective digital fundraising that the Arts Fundraising Fellows learned at the National Arts Fundraising School:

  1. Be fast.

Ideally, your giving webpage should take under two seconds to load if a person is going to make a donation online. Any longer and they are likely to lose interest, get frustrated and click off the page. is a great resource to check your website loading speed from around the world.

  1. Be mobile responsive.

Mobile phones are now the most common device used to access the internet in the U.K. They are also the most owned technological device in Britain, especially amongst those age 16-24 and 25-44. Being mobile responsive is therefore a must if you want to attract a younger type of donor.

  1. Improve your content.

On average, website users only read 20-28% of the writing on a web page during an average visit. So when it comes to making the ask or expressing your organisation’s need, less really is more; no-one will donate if the process seems time consuming or difficult to understand.

  1. Engage your audience.

No one is going to give if you don’t ask first! Make sure that your ‘donate’ button is easy to access on your website and limit the amount of scrolling and clicking needed to make a gift. It’s also good practice to include links to your donation page on your social media accounts, emails and other sections of your website.

Have you experienced any obstacles when donating online? Do you have any tips for digital fundraising effectively? We’d love to hear your opinions.


Posted by Amanda Rigali

Amanda is Director of Strategic Development at Cause4, and Head of the Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy Programme. As well as running the Programme, Amanda runs fundraising training sessions for cultural professionals across England and offers intensive strategy support to a range of charities.

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