[Step by Step Guide] Prepare your NGO for fundraising via your new app

October 27, 2023

Implementing new things into your organisation can feel scary sometimes, that's why you need a rock-solid strategy in place. With our step-by-step guide on app fundraising setup, you will get all the instruments and tactics necessary for a successful implementation to show your team or founders that this is an amazing step right from the beginning.

The strategy consists of 6 basic steps:

  1. Prepare teammates
  2. Plan a launch campaign
  3. Set a launch date
  4. Start with creatives
  5. Invite partners
  6. Launch

1. Prepare your teammates

You might be on board with the idea of implementing your app, but you will need the whole team to support successful integration into your existing structure.
Before you tell your team what to do, we should take a look at what roles will work closest to your new fundraising app. This depends on what kind of app you get, but those are the roles and tasks for the Felloz Fundraising Engine:

Head of Fundraising
Your job regarding the app is to carefully monitor the relationship between user retention online and offline to quickly adjust budgets for a more effective fundraising result.

Head of Digital
As head of digital, you will manage and improve most parts of the app-related topics, like content management, awareness, and customer retention.

Customer support
Your app will handle most of the customer support, as everything related to payments and donations is managed automatically. However, in some cases, people using the app might want to speak to a person regarding payments or more information. That's why you need to be informed about general topics people want to know regarding your fundraising app. Also, it is a legal requirement to provide a support contact in-app.

Content manager
You need to make sure that there is content available for your impact updates inside the app. This content doesn't have to be well shot or in high quality, as long as it shows progress. It's also not necessary to use completely new content. If an image or video works on Facebook, it will most definitely work in your app.

Using the app will give your more donations, but how can you get people to use it? That's a question your marketing expert can answer. If not, you can find a detailed guide on how to get users into your fundraising app here: 10 best ways to get traffic into your fundraising app

Finances / Bookkeeper
Being responsible for app finances does not mean doing more work, quite the opposite. You will have deep insights on what project received how many donations and how to distribute them. There is also a clear separation between one-off donations and regular giving.

The rest of the team
Getting the whole team excited about your app will impact the way how your fundraising team will operate. If you see a user-friendly way to fundraise for older & younger generations, you will find ways how to embrace this even more.

If your fundraising team only consists of a few people, doing multiple tasks already, you can assign roles yourself. One uploads content, one gets traffic and one spends the funds. With a smaller, more compact team it's even easier to focus on making your app work. As part of the onboarding at Felloz, we will help you assemble this team and make sure it will not spend more than 1 hour a week building a strong base of app donors.

2. Plan a launch campaign

Now that the team is educated and excited about the app, you can start implementing it into your general communication. And this is actually easier than it sounds. There are 2 ways how to advertise the app to your donors: Using it as a tool to donate to an already existing/planned campaign or creating a new campaign around your application.

Implement it into a campaign
This is the easiest way to implement your new way of fundraising into your communication strategy, as you continue with your usual way of promoting your campaigns, but offer your app as a new, better way of giving with the additional benefit of being able to see the impact of a donation.
In practice, you could add a download button next to your "Donate" button on your website. Another option would be to introduce QR codes to physical materials, like mailings or some other print materials. You can find more ways to generate traffic here.
Campaigns most organisations use frequently are the following:

  • Easter
  • Christmas
  • Anniversary
  • Mission-specific events, like "Earth-Day"

Create a new campaign
What's the best outcome? Who do you want to target? Which channels do you want to promote? Those are the questions you need to ask before you go straight into a new promotional campaign. But let's put it a bit more into a structure you can use for your planning.

  1. Start with a goal. Do you want to hit 10.000 downloads in 3 months? Or do you want to get 2.000€ per month in recurring revenue through the app? Whatever it is, it will shape the way how you promote.
  2. What's your target audience? Do you want to target new or existing donors? How old are they? To create a good profile of your ideal app user, you can use this amazing template here.
  3. Find the communication channels best suited for this audience. There are at least 20 channels you are communicating with right now, from mailings to newsletters. Pick the best 5. Here is an example of a good channel mix:

    1. Facebook/Instagram paid advertisements
    2. Website
    3. Newsletters
    4. Mailings
    5. Newspapers (PR)

It depends on your NGO and the way you are comfortable communicating, so you don't have to use new channels like TikTok when you know you get the best results when you write a convincing newsletter.

3. Set a launch date

The launch date is one of the most important things you need to think of. At this date, you will kick off all your promotions at once and get as much exposure as possible in a short amount of time. Perfect coordination is key.

Why is this important? Because you will go viral. A lot of downloads in one day will push your ranking in the App Store, you could even become "App of the Week". Apple loves to additionally promote apps with a good cause in their App Store. In addition to that, PR and social media can run like wildfire if, wherever you are, you see your new app of yours.

Not promoting everything on one specific day makes it less important for your donors and can reduce the probability of becoming viral.

Once the app is available in the App Store, people can see it, but will not know about it. From there, you have 2-3 weeks to plan the campaign and promote the app, get people to download it, and donate to your operations.

4. Start with the creatives

Do you have a launch date, a team, and an idea of where to promote the app? Great! Now it's time to get creative.
The basic premise of this step is: Write one convincing story and convert it into a format suitable for each communication channel. The main components of this story are the following:

  • A catchy headline
  • A convincing story
  • An image/video that supports your words
  • A call to action

If you perfectly crafted this, it's really easy to transfer this to other channels. For example, in a newsletter, you have a bit more time to explain why your donors should download the app, while with social advertisements you need to trigger a click in under 5 seconds.

Let's try this. Here is the basic prototype of a good story:

- Headline: Support children in need in under 40 seconds!
- A convincing story: Do good, but better. Helping children in need has never been this easy with the new Blue Beacon app.
- An image: You could use a presentation of the app or just promote the wonderful projects you are already using.
- CTA: Download the app (with a button)

As a Facebook ad, it could look something like this:

Facebook ad sketch from SOS children's villages Croatia

If you want to put it on a billboard, just transfer the design and the content.

Example for a billboard promotion

5. Invite your partners

Do you have visuals, and know when to announce your app? Well, then it's time to get more people on board. Ask your partner organisations or your other departments to help you communicate the campaign. They can already use your app, and all they need is a date to announce it and some creatives they can use to share it.

This works especially well with influencers, as they have a bigger exposure to people who already want to do good, and now they have an app for it. Just take care of the timing, as you don't want to get people into the app as long as it is not officially announced yet, so you can build momentum.

6. Launch

It's launch time!
Bring popcorn and your friends and see how your campaign starts unfolding. All your channels start communicating, your partners will share it too and you can see the number of users increasing.

This will slow down after a few days, depending on how much media coverage you can get, but that's normal. You can keep promoting your projects inside the app afterward. to keep a continuous increase of app donors.


All it takes is getting people excited and informed.

With this step-by-step guide, you can confidently set up your app for success right from the beginning. Once it is launched, you can increase your efforts around the app slowly and see how it integrates best into your organisation's fundraising team.

About the Author
Nik Zechner

Niklas loves simplicity and design. As a co-founder of Felloz he takes on design and marketing challenges and shares them with the community.

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