The Digital Culture Network has created nine guides to help you succeed and thrive in the Digital World. Here is the third guide: Income generation and Donations.

This is a list of links and resources around income generation and donation strategies, to help you to build your digital relationships, grow your reach online and try out some different approaches. Be sure to check our other advice sheets as some of the things we discuss here are covered in more depth in other resources.


Things to consider

Over the coming months there will be increasing demand for entertainment and distraction, so consider what parts of your programme you can deliver digitally, what can you offer for free to allow people to see the value in your content and what parts can you charge for.

It will help to bring people into your world and turn them into donors or encourage them to buy things from you, by showing them a little of what they can expect to see from your paid content for free.

If you want to encourage people to donate, then it’s likely that you will be far more successful with a strategy that demonstrates your value to them and allows them to see how your work can enrich their lives.

There is a great article on Whole Whale that discusses this: Whole Whale digital fundraising link

Facebook have also written a useful guide on how to minimise disruption to business as usual, which you can read here: Facebook minimising business disruptions link


Optimising Your Website for Income Generation:

Areas to consider around maximising your website:

  • Make it as easy as possible for people to donate or buy services and products from your website.
  • Use simple language and clear messages directing people to the things you would like them to do.
  • Think about the route through your website that people will take to find that information and prioritise the content that matters the most.
  • Experiment with the messaging, images and copy, and the positioning of buttons to see what gains the most traction.

Here are some resources to look at for some good tips on this subject:
Whole Whale have written an article about what makes a good landing page: Whole Whale landing pages article link

Whole Whale have some website optimisation tips specifically for non-profits Whole Whale non-profit website optimisation tips

Hubspot have written a good article on marketing landing pages containing some good tips: Hubspot marketing landing pages link


Methods for Donations:

We would suggest you consider making it as easy as possible for people to donate to you on your website. There are lots of different donation platforms out there that can be set up to process the donation payments for you. Once you set up your account, the platform usually supplies you with a little bit of code to copy and paste into your website pages. This turns into a button or a form and allows your loyal supporters and customers donate to your organisation.

We have created a selection of articles and services below to look at:

Campaign Monitor has written an article on 12 of the most effective ways non-profits can drive donations online: Campaign Monitor 12 tips to drive donations link allows you to give people a direct link to a page where they can put any amount of money into your PayPal account: link

WP Beginner has written an article that details a variety of plugins you can use to start encouraging and collecting donations from your WordPress website: WP Beginner plugin link

Shopify have an app that allows you to easily set up, launch and run donation campaigns: Shop for Good- Charity Donations.

Shopify also have an app that allows you to round up your transactions to the nearest pound and donate the surplus: Round up for Charity Shopify has a further app that allows people to add a donation to their purchase. Easy Donation

Wriggle have developed a voucher scheme to pay it forward and ask people to purchase vouchers now that they can use later: Wriggle voucher scheme link


Online Retail (eCommerce) Income Generation:

This might well be the ideal time to start thinking about creating an online shop and using print on demand services, to help create, produce and deliver your products to customers. People are browsing online more than ever, so consider how you can excite a captive audience to sign up, donate or purchase online.

Before you create an online shop there are some key factors to consider, including:

  • What makes you unique as an organisation? What unique product or experience could you offer?
  • Who are your customers? Where are they from? What could excite them to buy?
  • What could you sell which is unique, exclusive, scarce or valued?
  • Do you already have a captive audience that you could market products too or would you need to promote through marketplaces?
  • How could you build a long-lasting customer relationship which can result in repeat purchase and customer loyalty?

Further reading:

HubSpot free paper to know all there is to eCommerce marketing: Hubspot paper link

The Balance discusses the 5 Types of customers and how to get them to buy more: The Balance 5 types of customer link

Shopify discuss how to sell art online: Shopify how to sell art online link

Superfast POD Print On Demand in practice: Superfast POD print on demand link


Live Streaming, Podcasting and Digital:

These offer opportunities to connect with your audiences in different ways, including visual, audio and digital downloads. Consider whether there are digital downloads you can create for audiences. For example: ‘How to’ articles, or activity sheets for children are likely to be popular. Consider creating audio recordings or podcasts of some of your materials, which can be produced by remote working teams.

Please refer to our more in-depth resources on podcasting and live streaming.

If your organisation runs workshops, delivers training or classes, consider running them online. Here are a few platforms to consider delivering them:

Zoom is a tool for video conferencing: Zoom link

Crowdcast is a tool for delivering interactive live conversations at scale, also has options for donations during broadcasts or paid for events: Crowdcast link

Skype can be used for individual or group text chats and video calls: Skype link

Further reading:

Whole Whale have some great tips in this article about podcasting Whole Whale podcasting tips link


Arts and Cultural Specific Sector Support:

This section will be added to as and when we discover relevant advice and support, but for now we have created a list of useful sector specific resources and advice being offered by our SSOs.

AMA have created a brilliant resources page that is updated daily. It has a section on income: AMA resources page link

The Association for Cultural Enterprises have lots of good advice in their resources section: The Association of Cultural Enterprises resources link

Cause4 have a section on their website around income: Cause4 income resources link

Crowdfunder are offering 100% free fundraising for your business along with support from Enterprise Nation: Crowdfunder pay it forward campaign link

Arts Fundraising have a page of useful resources: Arts Fundraising link

The Design Trust have an article around creative crowdfunding: The Design Trust creative crowdfunding link

Institute of Fundraising have created a resource on the Coronavirus and advice for supporter services: Institute of Fundraising Corona virus link

Ticketsolve have created the Ticket Converter tool to help you manage large scale ticket cancellations: Ticket Converter tool link

Ticketsolve video explainer for the ticket exchange tool: Ticketsolve video explainer link

CrowdEngage have released a tool to streamline cancelled events and encourage donations of ticket purchases: CrowdEngage twitter announcement link

PatronBase have released a PDF resource guide on the Coronavirus with tips to help you through this challenging time:PatronBase Coronavirus guide link to PDF


Further Support:

The Digital Culture Network is here to support you and your organisation. If you need help or would like to chat with them about any of the advice they have covered above, please get in touch. Email with some background information about you, your location and your current dilemma, and they will connect you with one of our 9 Tech Champions for some in-depth 1-2-1 support.

Sign up to the DCN newsletter and follow us on Twitter @ace_dcn for latest updates.

Arts Council England allows Theatreis.Digital to republish this resource, under the terms of the Open Government Licence.

Find the resource in his original page here.