Lean Stream

LeanStream Insights: Comparing Online vs Offline Fundraising

In this era of technology, raising funds for various causes has been made a lot easier than it was, say, 15 years ago. The availability of smartphones, social media, and other similar networks has certainly helped. It is now much easier for donors and contributors to discover fundraising drives and participate with a few swipes of their smartphone screens. Talk about convenience.

At LeanStream, we are proud to partner with schools and school districts to make online fundraising a seamless process. Some of our partners’ solutions include the WiFi on the Go program and the revolutionary Needs Gallery that makes it easy for school systems to coordinate online fundraising drives.

However, what if we told you that offline fundraising is still king? That’s right. No amount of technology can replace the most important aspect of a successful fundraiser, relationships.

It is also worth considering that donors usually don’t get rewarded for their contributions. Ultimately, donors prefer to give their resources to people [they know] as opposed to causes, regardless of whether they relate to those causes. However, they feel satisfied for helping people they are connected with via a shared undertaking.

Read along as we compare offline and online giving and tell you what Lean Stream is doing to help donors and well-wishers make their offline and online contributions and help schools meet their fundraising goals.

The Best of Both Worlds

The first thing to note is schools can raise more funds if they adopt a blended approach. Mixing both online and offline fundraising will make it easier to achieve your fundraising objectives. Online fundraising is a great way of attracting donors, especially the younger generation, who are always glued to their technological gadgets.

Building an online presence is also a great way of turning your online donors into offline donors. They can be easily informed about offline fundraising drives. A good demonstration of this is consumer behavior. Many shoppers conduct their research online, but still prefer visiting the actual store rather than making their purchase online. It is contradictory, but that’s human behavior.

You can also document your offline fundraisers and share them on your social media platforms and reach out to more potential donors for your cause. Donors like it when there is trust and legitimacy. After all, everyone wants to feel like their monetary donation is being used for its intended purpose.

Therefore, a combination of offline and online fundraising drives will build a rapport with donors and help you cover more ground. It’s a win-win.

Offline Fundraising Is Tried and Tested

Contrary to popular opinion, offline fundraising is not obsolete, far from it. The bulk of dollars raised for many charitable causes (around 90%) come from offline fundraising. Think silent auctions, informal competitions, marathons, etc. These events are hugely successful and bring in plenty of resources if well-coordinated. In any case, the wealthiest donors belong to the older age demographic, meaning they are less likely to be found online. Granted, that is slowly changing, but the point is still valid. Donors are more likely to respond positively to fundraising drives advertised through door-to-door, word of mouth, and other ‘conservative’ marketing methods like television and print media, which are still the leading avenues for people to access information.

What about Donor Retention?

Some of the reasons why many wealthy donors are reluctant to continue supporting charitable causes include frequent solicitation from the organizers, including loads of emails. Some organizers also fail to sufficiently communicate the effectiveness of their fundraising drive, while others demand amounts the donors feel are inappropriate.

This is where offline fundraising comes in handy. It is easier to explain to someone how and why you are conducting a fundraiser through a one-on-one conversation instead of communicating through emails and other digital platforms. It is also a great way of building a relationship and seamless communication, which many donors agree is important.

Donors can also give an amount of their choosing without feeling like they are being forced to donate a specific amount. With offline fundraising, it is easy to control the frequency of solicitation.

Where online fundraising trumps offline fundraising is accountability. It is easier to track your fundraising goals using an online platform like LeanStream’s Needs Gallery than it is to do it offline. Additionally, online fundraising gives donors multiple options to make their contributions.

Introducing LeanStream’s Support for Offline Giving

At LeanStream, we appreciate the importance of offline giving as it adds to a school’s fundraiser toolbox. While we do appreciate the multiple benefits of online fundraising, nothing quite replaces a good old-fashioned check. Well, you’d still need to locate your checkbook and pen to sign the check, but that is not the toughest task in the world.

Alright, let’s focus. Checks still have a big part to play, which is why we built LeanStream’s Support for Offline Giving platform to account for entered checks. This eliminates the sometimes huge transaction fees that accompany big online donations. The result? More money for the schools’ fundraising drive meaning more kids benefit. Again, a win-win as far as we are concerned. Remember, the idea is to ensure the maximum amount of dollars raised through fundraising drives reaches their intended purpose and doesn’t get lost to middlemen.

Which way to go then?

A combination of offline and online fundraising is your best bet if you are looking to make your fundraising drive a success. While most of the younger generation can be found online, the donors in the older age demographic are mostly offline. Tapping into both can help you achieve your fundraising objectives. You can easily convert your online donors to adopt offline methods, although vice versa is far from straightforward. Keep the two options open.

At LeanStream, we are proud to provide donors with the ability to make their contributions online and offline. Contact us and learn more about how you can incorporate our list of offline and online solutions into your fundraising endeavors.