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A Donation Funnel is a method for tracking individual people in their progression from becoming aware of your charity to being fully supportive of it. People tend to start at the wide mouth of the funnel, and as they get more engaged in the cause they move down towards the spout. In managing a donation funnel, you look for opportunities to push people down to the next level of commitment.

A very basic funnel is striated into three sections: Awareness, Engagement, and Donation. The goal is to provide incentives for people to move from one stage to the next and feel comfortable with their transition.

For some prospective donors, this three-stage model works. Most people, though, need more assurance in the Engagement phase. They are not as comfortable with giving a donation without a little time to gauge the trustworthiness of the charity, get familiar with the charity's success rate, and fully understand the situation that their inducement is expected to remedy. Donors give based on a promise that a charity will use their donation to solve or alleviate a problem. It takes a little longer to develop this bond of trust than with a merchandise sales funnel.

It is helpful to break the Engagement section into smaller components or activities in order to assuage the potential donor's concerns.

    • You might have an Education subsection that includes activities such as a newsletter sign-up form, a video jukebox of your campaigns, a mobile app that tells the story of one of the recipients of your campaign. These activities can enlighten your potential donor. Through understanding, the donor is more inclined to see the benefit of supporting your cause.
    • You might have a Feedback subsection that gives potential donors an opportunity to express themselves through taking polls, sign petitions, participate in a social media campaign, or take part in contests. Two-way communication shows the donor that his/her opinions are valuable to you.
    • You can invite potential donors to events where they can interact with people who are also interested in your cause, like conferences, seminars, or webinars. Emersing potential donors with others helps to crowdraise people into a giving community.

Create your own subsections that will guide people through to the Donation section. By tracking people's participation in these activities, you will be able to identify individuals that seem motivated to go to the next strata, and when they are likely to increase their commitment. Identifying these trends will alert you to when you should invite them to the next activity.

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