Online Fundraising "Worst" Practices

Online Fundraising "Worst" Practices

We are continuing our series on nonprofit “worst practices.” The internet is filled with best practices, so I figured it might be interesting to flip things around.

Below is a partial list of online fundraising worst practices to avoid. Some organizations have a limited capacity and it may take a while before they can overcome these, but it is something to strive for. If you are seeing any of these things happening in your organization, they should immediately go on your “to do” list to address.  

·      Not having a website. (Many nonprofits, and businesses for that matter, don’t have websites. I get it. But nowadays they are cheap and easy to maintain after setting them up. You are leaving money on the table if you don’t have one and you are reaching fewer people, thereby shortchanging your mission.)

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·      Having a website that isn’t updated regularly. (A stale website will turn people away. If you can leave 90% of your content as “evergreen” and simply make updates to a blog or the home/landing page monthly, you will be at least on track).

·      Not having a clear and large donation button on every page. (You want the donor journey to be easy and clear. Think about your site from the user’s perspective).

·      Not having good visuals or videos in your communications. (Spend some time on this, even if you must use a free stock photography site like

·      Having a donation page that is confusing or does not do what the donor wants to do (like giving monthly).

·      Not collecting the info you need from your supporters on the website. (You will want multiple ways to reach your donors and you may want to advertise to them later through Facebook. Install a pixel tracker).

·      Ignoring your constituents by not regularly communicating with them. (It’s a balance between annoying people and disappearing. Out of sight, out of mind. Stay in front of your supporters. They want to know what you are up to and they know they will be asked for money on occasion.

·      Not having a system that neatly integrates donation software to your bookkeeping and CRM.

·      Being too wordy in your communications. Don’t do it! (Resist the temptation to explain everything. Show, don’t tell).

·      Not having a compelling organizational story or story about the people or cause you serve.

·      Not connecting your “ask” to your organizational impact.

·      Not having a Facebook page. (Some organizations may have problems with Facebook, but the tradeoff is that you are limiting your reach and fundraising by avoiding Facebook.

·      Forgetting to include your entire board and staff in your outbound emails.

·      Failing to proofread your emails or website.

 We know this list isn’t exhaustive. We deliberately put out content in bite-sized chunks so you don’t feel overwhelmed! Do you have any other worst practices? Email them to me at

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