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  • What Are Charity eCards and How to Run an eCard Fundraiser

Fundraising requires continually finding new and creative ways to reach donors. This allows you to attract new audiences and keep your current supporters engaged. Today, modern nonprofits primarily rely on digital fundraisers, and an incredibly flexible one to try is charity eCards. 

To help you decide if charity eCards are right for your organization, this guide will explain the basics of eCards and walk through how your nonprofit can run its own charity eCard fundraiser. 

Charity eCards Explained

Charity eCards are commonly called donation or nonprofit eCards. Whatever you call them, they’re a pretty straightforward concept. eCardWidget’s guide to charity eCards explains that eCards are digital greeting cards that nonprofits can sell to supporters to raise funds. Supporters who buy these eCards can then send them to a friend or family member for special occasions, as gifts, or just to say they’re thinking of them. 

An example website of eCards displayed for purchase. 

In fact, eCards are incredibly flexible and can be used for a wide range of activities. In addition to fundraising, nonprofit eCards can help promote events, recognize donors, thank volunteers, celebrate special occasions like holidays, and re-engage lapsed donors.

No matter how you use them, all eCards consist of two basic elements:

  1. Card design. When a recipient first gets an eCard, they’ll be greeted by whatever creative design your nonprofit decides on. This design can include photographs, feature custom illustrations, or even take advantage of the digital format by featuring animations. 
  2. Message. Just like with a physical greeting card, you can include a short message in your eCards. For a charity eCard fundraiser, supporters who buy the eCards will write their own messages addressed to whoever they want to send their eCard to. 

With these essentials down, let’s explore key steps for running a charity eCard fundraiser. 

How to Run a Charity eCard Fundraiser

Your nonprofit can host charity eCard fundraisers for any reason. For example, you might launch a holiday fundraiser to take advantage of the year-end giving rush, promote eCards heavily to fund a specific campaign, or offer eCards for purchase year-round. 

No matter your fundraiser, these steps should guide you through the essentials of charity eCard campaigns. 

Partner with an eCard platform.

To use eCards to further your cause, you need a platform that lets you create, sell, and manage eCards. There are several eCard platforms that cater to nonprofits. To help guide your research, Double the Donation’s eCard websites guide recommends looking for eCard platforms with the following features:

  • User-friendly design tools. Look for eCard platforms equipped with templates and design assets. Your nonprofit can rely on these if you lack access to a graphic designer, and if you want to create custom designs, your eCard platform’s tools should easily support them. 
  • Fundraising capabilities. Charity eCard fundraisers require an eCard platform with fundraising capabilities to function. This means you should be able to set your eCards as products in an online store that supporters can browse and purchase.
  • Reporting and insight. Some eCard platforms enable you to track whether eCards have been opened. This lets you know who is receiving your eCards and whether they are interacting with them. For charity eCard fundraisers, this means you know who your supporters are sending eCards to, and you can potentially reach out to those recipients to build a connection with your nonprofit. 
  • Fair pricing model. eCard platforms usually use one of two pricing models. They either have a subscription fee in which you can send unlimited eCards during a set period of time, or you can purchase a specific amount of eCards to send. Additionally, some eCard vendors have free plans that allow you to send a limited number of eCards to decide if the platform is right for you.

Additionally, look for what delivery methods the eCard platform offers. Most will provide both email and text message delivery options, while only some platforms offer social media sending. Social sharing is useful if one of your main goals is to spread brand awareness with your charity eCard fundraiser. 

Choose your theme.

As mentioned, you can host a charity eCard fundraiser for any reason. But you do need to pick a specific reason for your fundraiser before you can design your eCards. Doing so ensures your eCards will have consistent designs and that the purpose for them is clear to supporters at a glance. 

For example, you might create eCards to promote an event like a fun run. Your nonprofit would need to decide what part of your event to focus on in your eCards. In this case, you might focus on the beauty of the fun run’s course, the effort required to complete the race, or what part of your nonprofit’s cause the event’s proceeds will fund.

Design your eCards.

After defining your theme, you should have a solid design direction for your eCards. That being said, the design process still has a few steps to consider:

  • Consider format. As discussed, eCards can feature photographs, illustrations, or animations. In the design phase, you need to decide on one of these formats. Or, you may decide to sell eCards that use different design styles to give supporters some variety. 
  • Use design resources. When it comes to actually designing your eCards, you can use the assets provided by your eCard platform or hire a graphic designer or photographer. You may be able to find volunteers to design your eCards for you. For example, a church running a charity eCard fundraiser might ask if any members of the congregation would be willing to lend their graphic design or photography skills.  
  • Create multiple designs. Charity eCard fundraisers need to have eCards with designs that supporters like and think their friends and family would also like. To appeal to as many supporters as possible, create multiple designs with a variety of colors, phrases, and featured images. 

Some nonprofits give donors extra control over their gifts by tying specific eCard designs for purchase to specific parts of their cause. For example, One Tail at a Time’s holiday fundraiser had eCards that funded adoption services, community support programs, and pet medical treatments. 

These eCards from One Tail at a Time feature animals in their care with descriptions of the program each eCard supports. 

Market your fundraiser.

After designing your new eCards, show them off to supporters to drive sales and raise funds. A few ways you can market your charity eCard fundraiser include: 

  • Social media. Social media is a convenient free nonprofit marketing tool for most fundraisers, and charity eCard sales are no exception. Create posts that feature your eye-catching designs with bright colors, clever turns of phrase, and cute images to engage potential supporters.
  • Your newsletter. In your email newsletter, add images of eCards to grab supporters’ attention alongside an announcement about your new fundraiser. Include a link to your eCard store on your website. 
  • Marketing eCards. Show supporters the joy of receiving an eCard by sending them eCards to promote your fundraiser. These should show off various designs and contain short messages about how supporters can send eCards of their own. 

As discussed, you can run eCard fundraisers year-round, but they’re especially effective during holidays. Take advantage of these periodic bursts of popularity for greeting cards by launching your charity eCard fundraiser near the next upcoming holiday, like Mother’s Day. Then, along with your holiday-themed eCards, sell cards for other occasions to persuade supporters to come back and send eCards for future events. 

Charity eCard fundraisers are easy to run after your initial setup. Be prepared to devote time to creating your eCards and adding them to your nonprofit’s website. From there, all you need to do to keep selling eCards indefinitely is promote them and occasionally update your designs based on the time of the year.

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