In this support article, we’ll discuss how to make your fundraiser as strong as it can possibly be by going through some key tips and best practices.
If you haven't already created your fundraising page on ColoradoGives.org, check out this support article.
The Features of Your Fundraiser
Now that you’re ready to start editing your page, we’ll go through all of your personal fundraiser’s features, one-by-one.
We will also share tips and best practices that will help you make your page as strong as it can be.
Your page is unpublished at this stage, so you can take as much time as you need to perfect it — you are the only one who can see it before it’s published!
Features in this article that have "(Required in order to publish)" next to them are required, meaning you cannot publish your page without completing these items.
We'll be going over the following sections:
- Page Editor
- Donations Report
- Donor Experience
- Matching Grants
- Short Story
- Creator Social Links
- Organizer Info
- Expense Breakdown
- Instagram Feed
Your Title (Required in order to publish)
When thinking of your title, consider this: Every time your nonprofit shares this page on Facebook or Twitter, your fundraiser’s title will be one of the first pieces of information your friends and followers see. They will make a decision about whether to click on the link to your fundraiser based on your title.
Your title should make it immediately clear for what and for whom you’re fundraising.
When logged into ColoradoGives.org with your fundraiser dashboard open, you have two ways to enter your title. The first is to click directly onto the title. . .
. . . or click on "Profile" > "Page Editor", then "Title", on your sidebar.
You have a limit of 50 characters, so you’ll need to be concise:
People are more likely to click on a fundraiser title that is catchy and easy-to-read with a clear message.
Image/Video (Required in order to publish)
Your cover photo is the “face” of your fundraiser. It needs to represent your nonprofit and your campaign. Like your title, it’s one of the first pieces of information people will see about your fundraiser. So, what makes for a great cover photo that will inspire people to donate to you?
You cover photo should be:
- Clear. Avoid using blurry or pixelated photos. The container for your cover photo is 1280 x 720 pixels, so your photo needs to be at least that big. If you upload a smaller photo, it may become distorted within the container, which affects the overall quality of your page. If your photo is larger or has a different aspect ratio, keep in mind that you will have to crop it to fit it in the container. A photo with landscape orientation is best.
- Relevant to your fundraiser. Your cover photo needs to represent the reason you are actually fundraising.
- Impactful: Since your cover photo is representing your entire campaign, it’s not a great place to use a logo or lots of text — these important details can be communicated elsewhere on your page. You want your cover photo to have an emotional impact that compels people to click on your page, read your story, and make a donation. Anytime you can include a photo of a person or animal your nonprofit helps, you should!
ColoradoGives.org gives you several options for uploading a cover photo. First, make sure you’re on your page in Edit mode. Then hover your cursor over the image container:
As you can see, two Featured Media options appear, a photo or a video. Select the photo icon and choose your photo. Once you make any necessary adjustments in the crop box select "Done."
If you prefer, you can link to a video instead of a picture. ColoradoGives.org does not host videos, so you will need to upload your video to YouTube or Vimeo first. The good news is that both YouTube and Vimeo offer free basic accounts.
Click the video icon to enter the link. Please note, you must add the link to your video, not the “Embed Code.”
The basic rules that make a good video are the same as those that make a good photo: It should be clear, relevant, and impactful. YouTube and Vimeo offer basic editing tools. This allows you to splice together multiple videos, add music and text, and lets the video tell the story of why you’re fundraising on ColoradoGives.org.
Video Tip: Why not enlist help from volunteers to make a video for your campaign? Let your volunteers know you’re looking for someone who can help make a video, or put a call out for video help on social media. You may have talented videographers or editors already in your midst who can help you create something sleek, professional, and awesome that takes your campaign to a new level!
In many ways this section is self-explanatory: How much are you hoping to raise? How many donors are you looking to have? But there’s more to it than that. Your goal should be:
Attainable. If you have a robust email list and tons of social media followers, it may be realistic for you to raise one million dollars for your campaign. But if your nonprofit is just getting on its feet or has a modest email list and social media presence, you’ll want to make sure you scale your goal to the size of your donor base. If you’re not sure what a reasonable goal is for your campaign, take a look at past campaigns or your nonprofit’s average monthly revenue to get a good handle on what’s feasible for your fundraiser.
- Keep in mind that you can always adjust your goal as your campaign progresses.
- Justifiable. Your goal should not be an arbitrary number. It should reflect an actual expense, financial need, or other obvious connection. For example, you are looking to raise $10,000 by October 10th for your organization's 10th anniversary. You should be able to break down for your donors just how you arrived at that number.
To set your goal, click Page Editor, then click “Goal”, on your sidebar.
You can choose the type of goal that fits your fundraising campaign best, Dollar Goal or Donor Goal. The dollar goal is a monetary amount, the donor goal is a numerical amount based on unique donors.
Type the amount into the pop-up window and click “Save.”
This is a short summary of your fundraiser that will appear below your goal. When you link to your fundraiser on social media, this summary will also show below your cover photo. You have a limit of 100 characters, so you’ll want to keep it short and sweet.
You may be tempted to get creative here, but since your space is limited, it’s best to stick to the facts. In one sentence, why are you fundraising? The Description section is the place to elaborate.
Duration (Required in order to publish)
Every fundraiser must come to an end and you want to be sure your donors know the last day to give. To set the end date for your fundraiser, either click “Duration” on your Page Editor or click on the calendar underneath your goal bar. A calendar will pop up that you can use to select your fundraiser end date:
Your fundraiser’s duration isn’t set in stone — you can change it at any time during your campaign. So don’t fret too much about this, if your fundraiser is doing well and you want to keep it going, just head back here and change the end date!
However, consider your goal and the size of your donor base when setting your end date. If your fundraiser goal is $100,000, it’s not realistic for most nonprofits to raise that amount in just one month so you’ll want to be sure to give your nonprofit enough time to meet your goal.
If your nonprofit is still building your donor base, you may need extra time to build support for your fundraiser, so set your goal date a little further out. However, you should be cautious of making your fundraiser too long — setting an end date three years from now means your fundraiser might stall out, and your donors won’t feel any urgency to donate if they have three years to contribute.
We know from years of fundraising that people are more likely to donate when they know precisely where their donation is going. This is understandable: We all work hard for our money, and when we open up our wallets, we want to be sure our money is being spent wisely. You can preemptively answer your supporters’ questions about how their donations will be spent with the Use of Funds pie chart.
To use the pie chart, click on “Expense Breakdown” on your Page Editor or click on the "Use of Funds" pie chart on your page.
The “pie” is your goal amount. The “slices” are the different expenses that add up to your goal. Be sure you account for the total amount of your goal. And if you can only reasonable explain why you need $3,000 of your $4,000 goal, you may need to reevaluate if your goal amount is appropriate.
Description (Required in order to publish)
This is the most important part of your page on ColoradoGives.org. This is where you tell your story and inspire others to donate: Who are you as an organization, what do you do, and why should people donate?
Having a well-written, compelling and heartfelt story is vital to running a successful fundraising campaign. ColoradoGives.org has a user-friendly in-line editor that allows you to add photos, videos, links and more. You can make your fundraising page more engaging by jazzing up the formatting in your story with just a few clicks.
But what makes a good story? Consider this:
- Compelling. Not many people are motivated to donate based solely on facts and numbers (how many people used your services last year or a list of your programs). People donate based on feelings. So your story should inspire those reading to feel something, thereby inspiring them to act. If you’re not sure where to get started, read our blog about communications planning to make sure you set your campaign up for success.
- Personal. A good story makes a large issue feel personal, and that’s a key part of successful nonprofit fundraising. Your nonprofit’s mission might be related to large, complex social issues, but you’ll need to tie those larger issues to real lives and real people in order to raise money. Highlighting some of the real life examples or even centering your story around a single person or animal can demonstrate your impact. This is a great way to make your fundraiser feel personal and inspire people to donate.
- Laser-focused. It can be tempting to write a novel about the great work of your nonprofit— after all, you’re working for the nonprofit because you care passionately about this cause! But in order to resonate with supporters you have to be sure that you don't loose them. Your story will need to be focused on key points about your campaign and your nonprofit’s key messaging.
- Easy-to-read. People have short attention spans, so a good story should be easy for the average person to read and understand. Try to avoid nonprofit jargon and lofty words. Keep in mind that a wall of text is unattractive, difficult to read and unlikely to hold one’s attention. However, a story with paragraphs, important points in bold, perhaps a few bullet points with essential information, and accompanied by photos is much more pleasing to the eye and more likely to be read all the way through.
The Updates tab appears to the right of the Story tab in the Description section. (Although a part of your Description section, the Updates tab is not required for publishing.)
Updates are a great way to share news about your campaign, thank your donors for helping you hit a milestone, and keep the people who’ve already supported you engaged in your campaign. You can add an update anytime by selecting "Description" on your fundraiser Page Editor then clicking the Updates tab. Don't forget to add new pictures and videos.
If your nonprofit is on Instagram, you can link your feed right to your fundraiser page. Linking your Instagram account will show the last four images you posted on the right side of your page, under your Donor Timeline. Linking your Instagram is a great way to add visual interest to your page and give a fuller picture of the work your nonprofit does.
Select Instagram on the Page Editor or click the squares below your "Use of Funds" pie chart and follow the prompts. A few things to keep in mind, when you add pictures to Instagram, your fundraiser page will automatically update with the new pictures. In addition, due to Facebook and Instagram API, you cannot have the same Instagram account on your campaign page AND your profile page.
Donation Report: As the fundraiser organizer, you’ll have access to a full donations report on your fundraiser. You can pull a simple report on donors right from your page by clicking “Donation Report” under the Donation section of your sidebar:
You’ll see an abbreviated report of everyone who has donated to your fundraiser. This report will show the last 30 days by default, but you can set the date range for whatever dates you’d like:
You can see who donated, how much and when, whether the donation is recurring, and whether the donation was an offline donation. You can also see donors’ comments and email addresses. This report can be exported as a spreadsheet and uploaded into any CRM, donor database or email program you use to manage your contacts.
This is also where you can enter offline donations. Just click the “Add Offline Donation” button:
And enter the details of the donation:
Donor Experience: This section allows you to craft the checkout process for donors.
This tool allows you to customize the suggested amounts displayed when a user clicks on the Donate button, and also allows you to add descriptions of those amounts for your donors to see. Setting custom donation suggestions makes it easier for donors to choose how much to donate by pre-loading options for them, and helps push donors to these levels. (For instance, donors giving at a lower level may bump their donation up to $25 from $10, simply because the option was presented to them.)
All ColoradoGives.org pages have Suggested Donations turned off at first; they can be enabled by going to Donor Experience, click the checkbox, and entering the information. You can use Suggested Donations without amount descriptions by clicking “Use custom donation suggestions” and leaving the “Add amount descriptions” box unchecked. If you wish to use both donation suggestions and amount descriptions (which is recommended), click both boxes, and enter the information. You must click “Save” to insert these customized fields into your checkout process.
You are limited to four custom donation suggestions, to avoid offering too many options (which negates the purpose of offering suggested amounts) and to keep the look of the window clean, user-friendly, and uncluttered. You also have a 60 character limit for the amount descriptions.
Users will always still have the option of entering custom amounts if they do not wish to use a suggested donation amount. (The minimum donation on ColoradoGives.org is $5; there is no upper limit.)
Dedications are made in honor or in memory of another person. You can enable dedications in the donation process by checking the box that says, “Show the option to make a dedication with their donation.”
When a fundraiser has turned on dedications, the donor will be able to choose whether they’d like to dedicate their donation on the first page of the checkout process. On the next screen, the will be able to enter the information for their dedication.
The dropdown menu for “Dedicated To” looks like this:
The Post-Checkout tab allows nonprofits to customize what happens after a donor completes the checkout process.
Thank You Page
When a donation is completed, donors will be sent to a Thank You Page that contains a customize message from your nonprofit. You can build your custom message in an simple text editor that allows you to add links, videos, images and more.
(Please note that all video must be uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo.)
You can also make use of a CTA button that allows you to link to any page you choose, whether it’s your organization profile page, your website’s homepage, your blog, your Facebook page, etc.
You can click the "View this page" to view your customized Thank you Page.
Email and Receipt Customization
One of the benefits of using the Coloradogives.org platform is that we handle distributing tax receipts to your donors, allowing you to focus on what’s most important. You can insert a customized message into the receipt your donors receive on in the Email and Receipt Customization section of the Post-Checkout tab.
Simply add your message and save! You can also preview the receipt your donors are sent by clicking the Preview button. (If you have a thank you video, we recommend adding it to your Thank You page, where it is more likely to be seen by your donors!)
Matching Grants: If you’re able to secure a matching grant, this is where you’ll enter it.
Add a matching grant click “Add a New Grant”:
Then enter the details of the grant:
When you save the details of the grant, your fundraiser will display that you have a matching grant available as soon as the grant starts.
At the bottom of your sidebar, there’s a link to your page’s Settings.
There are even more options for customization here that will help you get the most out of your Coloradogives.org page:
Social Sharing: Customize the image and text social media networks use when someone shares your page.
Custom URL: When you create your page, your page will automatically be given a URL. It’s a boring series of letters and numbers. But you can jazz things up and make your page more memorable, customized, and shareable by giving it a Custom URL. Keep it short and obviously make sure it’s relevant to your page.
Team and Event Participation: This is where you can join or leave a team or event.
Discoverability: When Discoverability is “on,” users can easily find your fundraiser using our search feature. When it’s “off,” only people with a direct link to your page will be able to access it — it will be hidden from searches on ColoradoGives.org. In most cases you want this to be “on,” but this can be a useful tool if you want to hide an older fundraiser without unpublishing it.
Turn off Donations: To disable donations on your fundraising page, click "Turn off Donations"
Visitor Redirect: If your campaign is no longer relevant or active and you'd like to point visitors to a newer page instead, you can use this feature to display a redirect suggestion to all visitors.
Delete Fundraiser: If you want to delete your fundraiser, this is where you do it.
Metrics Calculation: By default, your fundraiser will display the amount you’ve raised and how many donors have made contributions from the date you publish your fundraiser. But if you want to set your amount raised and number of donors to zero, or ensure that you only count donations and donors from a specific date, you can do that by changing the date in this field.
Change Fundraiser Owner: Assign ownership of the fundraiser to another user.
Social Sharing Options & Colorado Gives Donation Widget
When your fundraiser is complete, published, and you’re ready to start sharing, we have some great social sharing tools right on your page, underneath the “Donate” button:
The first two buttons are obviously for Facebook and Twitter.
You can use the Facebook button to share your fundraiser on Facebook. (Remember, you can link your Facebook brand page on Coloradogives.org, so this will post to the Facebook account linked to your Colorado Gives account.) You can preview what your Facebook link post will look like here to make sure it’s in working order, share with your friends’, and everyone who visits your fundraiser will also be able to use this button to share your page with their Facebook friends:
The Twitter share button will generate a shortened, Twitter-friendly link to your page:
The email icon will generate an email with a link to your fundraiser. (Whatever email service program is your operating system’s default will be used. So, sorry Microsoft users, this will most likely try to open Outlook!)
And the last share button we have available is the donation widget. You have a few different options when you click this button:
You can choose whether you want a widget that will allow users to donate directly to your page, a donate button on your Facebook Brand page, a widget that shows your progress toward your goal and links to your fundraiser, or a donate button.
Note that you can only use the Facebook donate button on your Facebook Brand page, not a normal Facebook profile.
Simply copy and paste the embed code and insert on your website or blog! You may need to check with your Webmaster to find out which code is right for your site.
We have worked hard to provide features that enhance your fundraiser and make it easy for your nonprofit to get donations, collect donor information, track your donations, and reach your fundraising goals. We encourage you to utilize as many of these features as possible when creating your page — a lot of thought went into each one, and we promise they’ll make your page stronger.
If you have any questions about the features on your Coloradogives.org page or would like help making it as amazing at it can possibly be, contact us here.