Digital Fundraising: It’s Personal

“How does my charity raise more money from appeals?” is a question we’ve heard plenty of times at On Agency. The answer, more often than not, is to treat every supporter like an individual, through personalisation including tailored messaging, content and asks based on giving history.

These days the majority of charities have personalised elements in their direct mail appeals, but relatively few have connected this with their digital approach. So, how do charities get started with digital personalisation?

Well, one of the most effective ways to get started is to personalise your digital communications like you already personalise your direct mail campaigns. And, by using a platform like MailChimp, this can be achieved without the need for a developer.

The below emails are from the same campaign. The dynamic content in the emails (name, town, ask1, ask2 & ask3) are inputted through merge tags and make the email personalised to the recipient.

Although this is quite a simple example, the email ensures all supporters get tailored asks. And, importantly, through referencing the supporter’s nearest town, the appeal need is relatable, which is known to significantly boost response rate.

With a little more digital expertise we can pass the donation amount in the email to the donation form on your website. Doing so will decrease friction, a known conversion rate killer. To do this each ask will need a unique URL, which is doable in the same way merge tags are used in the main content of the email. Adding the ask amount to the query string of the URL will enable our donation form to retrieve this information on the donation page. The table below shows how each link is created.

Ask URL Query String
Ask 1 #donation=*|ASK1|*
Ask 2 #donation=*|ASK2|*
Ask 3 #donation=*|ASK3|*

Once we’ve set this up we’ll need a little Javascript to post the ask amount into the donation amount field on the donation page. The Javascript snippet we used is below. This should be added between the head tags on the donation page.

var hashParams = window.location.hash.substr(1).split(‘&’);

for(var i = 0; i < hashParams.length; i++){

   var p = hashParams[i].split(‘=’);

   document.getElementById(p[0]).value = decodeURIComponent(p[1]);;


By adding these personalised elements every supporter receives an ask prompt tailored to their donation history and, for supporters who go on to donate, there’s no need to reenter the donation amount on the donation page, which could significantly increase the average gift of Medium Value and High Value supporters. The animated image below shows the full supporter experience!

If you need our help with personalisation, or have a fundraising challenge, why not contact On today?

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