Nearly one third (31%) of giving occurs in December; 12% in the last three days of the year. Many non-profits start planning their end of year giving campaigns in October. It’s too good an opportunity for your charity to miss out on.
Here’s a smart idea for a fundraising campaign that’s simple to run, can be set up in double quick time, and can lead to donations: enable your supporters to send cards by email.
In 2016, the Ectopic Pregnancy Trust put a Christmas e-card facility on their website. It was basic but worked well. After sending a card, the sender was redirected to the charity’s donations page. The sender could write their own greeting message for the recipient, to which we added a line of text about the charity and a link to the donations page.
That year they raised £600, plus several hundreds in euros and dollars. In 2017 they’re hoping to do much better.
Christmas e-cards help raise awareness and support the work of the charity. They are an ethical and eco-friendly way to wish someone Happy Christmas while raising awareness. Because they’re saving the cost of cards and stamps, many people choose to donate what they would have spent, and some donate considerably more.
The WordPress eCards plugin
This year, we used a WordPress plugin called WordPress eCards. It’s not a free plugin, but only costs $21. It was the work of an hour to install and configure the plugin. So far it seems that every e-card has arrived, but note that you need to trust your website hosting’s server to deliver emails reliably. The plugin has a good balance of features, enabling you to customise your message without overloading you with options. You insert it into any WordPress page by using a simple shortcode.
Last year we decided not to use the plugin because it lacked features we needed. Fortunately the plugin’s author has made improvements, making it the most suitable option out of the e-card websites and tools we researched. It’s usually a good sign when a WordPress plugin author is actively developing their product.
In our message we linked to the organisation’s donations page on Justgiving. The plugin does have the option to take a payment/donation by PayPal if that’s preferred.
We chose Christmas card images from a free photo library called Pexels, uploading them at 600 pixels wide. If you have the resources to hire a graphic designer, you could create something really unique. The images are simply uploaded to your e-cards page in WordPress, and automatically detected by the plugin.
The e-card fundraising campaign is prominently advertised on the home page of the website
It will be also promoted on the charity’s Facebook page; in tweets; and in their winter email newsletter. We’re also linking to it from our Google Grant ads.
Charity E-cards are not just for Christmas
You could use this fundraising technique for other holidays, or to promote campaigns you’re running. It’s something that can be switched on and off, and the images and message changed whenever you require.