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Digital must-haves for fundraising: Digital advocacy forms

October 04, 2022
This photo of a group of people participating in a social protest shows an advocacy effort, which can be powered by digital advocacy forms.

As your nonprofit organization develops strategies to increase involvement, it’s important to recognize that supporters are more aware of social issues than ever before. They not only care about furthering your purpose through donating and volunteering, but they also want to create lasting social change. The solution to engaging supporters who are looking for dependable and intuitive ways to channel their energy into action with your organization? Advocacy!

Digital advocacy forms are essential for engaging supporters in your cause. To help your organization get started, this guide will discuss what digital advocacy forms are, why they’re useful, and how you can make the most of them to further your cause.

What are digital advocacy forms?

Digital advocacy forms are tools used to move supporters to take action in support of a cause related to your nonprofit’s purpose. Whether you’re looking to contact lawmakers, gather petition signatures, or have community members commit to making a change in their daily lives, you can measure and increase support for your mission by presenting your audience with a digital form.

Let’s say your nonprofit is focused on environmental sustainability, and there has been a recent push in your community to reduce plastic waste. You might create a digital advocacy form that allows supporters to quickly email city council members about passing an ordinance to ban plastic bags from local grocery stores. Or, your form could be a pledge for supporters to switch from buying disposable water bottles to using reusable beverage containers.

Why should nonprofits leverage digital advocacy forms?

Digital advocacy provides a range of benefits for nonprofits like yours. Online forms can bolster your advocacy strategy in several ways, including:

  • Building stronger supporter relationships. Advocacy helps your supporters feel connected to your cause in a new way, especially if they aren’t ready or able to donate. Offering supporters the chance to sign a petition or pledge on your behalf reassures them that you value them beyond their financial contributions and helps deepen their involvement with your organization.
  • Lowering geographic barriers. Giving supporters the chance to advocate digitally means you can remove geographic barriers and engage advocates no matter where they live. You can also grow support for your cause as supporters invite their friends to join them by sharing your digital advocacy forms via email and social media.
  • Spreading awareness of your cause in the community. Your nonprofit can think of digital advocacy forms as another strategy for furthering your purpose by educating your supporters about issues that matter and encouraging them to take action based on shared values. The more people know about your efforts, the more likely you are to succeed in creating lasting change.

Advocacy is often associated with running political campaigns and endorsing candidates for office, which nonprofits aren’t legally permitted to do. But no matter how your nonprofit is doing good in our world, there will always be ways your work and purpose are affected by legislation, policies, and local and national events. Therefore, there will always be reasons to make your voice heard through advocacy campaigns, especially by leveraging digital forms.

How can my nonprofit make the most of digital advocacy forms?

In addition to the change-making aspects of your advocacy campaigns, a major goal of asking supporters to fill out digital forms is to build stronger bonds with them. Keep these purposes in mind as you incorporate this tool into your advocacy strategy by following these three tips.

Segment your advocacy asks

Whether your organization is running your first digital advocacy campaign or your hundredth, an evergreen best practice for nonprofit engagement is segmenting your supporters and sending targeted messages to each segment. As you group your advocates based on shared characteristics, ask the following questions:

  • How did you acquire your supporters, and can you reference that entry point when asking them to complete forms?
  • Where does each supporter live, and how does their location connect them to the issues you’re working to address?
  • Did they come to you as an advocate, or were they a donor, volunteer, or event attendee first?

Remind supporters of the ways they’ve supported you in the past, and educate your donors, volunteers, members, and other audiences about what your advocacy forms can help you achieve.

Focus on the supporter experience

Several of the techniques that help create a seamless online donation page experience also apply to digital advocacy form design. For instance, make sure to:

  • Incorporate your organization’s branding, including your logo, fonts, and color scheme.
  • Explore one-click functionality to make filling out the form as easy as possible.
  • Optimize the form for mobile so supporters can access it on any device.

The information you collect with your digital advocacy forms should also automatically transfer to your constituent relationship management (CRM) software to help you tailor the messages you send your advocates in the future. An integrated platform like Bonterra Supporter Engagement’s Advocacy solution (formerly EveryAction) allows for a seamless connection between your CRM and outreach tools.

Follow up with and steward your advocates

When it comes to nurturing connections with new digital advocates, timing is everything. Once supporters fill out your digital form, you can instantly direct them to a confirmation page, where you can prompt them to take another step in support of your nonprofit by making a gift or sharing your cause on social media.

Next, send a thank-you email to each supporter. While automating this process saves a lot of time and effort on your organization’s part, you should still set up your platform to personalize each email with the advocate’s name, as this shows that you value their support. If you gain any brand-new supporters through your advocacy forms, introduce them to your nonprofit and its purpose by getting them started with your welcome email series.

The bottom line on digital advocacy forms

Digital advocacy creates new opportunities to engage your nonprofit’s supporters. The right tools, like digital advocacy forms, can give your supporters a positive experience and set them on the path to retention. Plus, advocacy helps put your nonprofit’s purpose into action and create positive social change in your community.

Looking for more ways to improve your nonprofit’s digital fundraising? Download our guide, 3 strategies to boost year-end fundraising, for tested techniques that convert volunteers into donors, increase your fundraising efficiency, and help bring in more revenue.

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    Supporter Engagement
  • Social justice
  • Nonprofits
  • Digital communications & marketing