Why the first donation matters the most

First Donation

Our numbers show that when someone receives their first donation to their Fundraising Page, it’s a BIG DEAL. In fact, the earlier someone gets their first donation, the more they go on to raise – when we dug into the numbers for the UK’s largest fundraising event, the London marathon we found that when someone gets their first donation around three months before the event, they can raise about £800 more than someone who gets their first donation two to four weeks before!

And when you think about it, it makes complete sense – firsts are pretty important… First step, first goal, first job, first kiss 😉 Achieving something for the first time is awesome and it sparks a chain reaction to do more. That’s what getting their first donation is like for a fundraiser. It builds confidence and inspires them to raise more money.

If you’ve got five, 10, 20 or 100 people taking part in the event, helping each of them raise £800 more.. Well, that soon adds up!

Why we obsess about the first donation

Helping people get their first donation as early as possible is something we obsess about here at JustGiving. We’ve even got a fancy name for it internally – activation rate, which is basically the percentage of all Fundraising Pages that have received at least one donation. For example, if you’ve got 10 Fundraising Pages for an event, and 9 of them have a received a donation (of any amount) then you’ve achieved any activation rate of 90%.

We’ve created a handy timeline for page activation with tips for you to follow when there is 12 weeks to go until your event.

Tips for getting that all-important first donation

Want more tips to help your supporters get that all-important first donation to their Fundraising Page? Visit our charity resources hub, it’s full of ideas to help you save time and raise more money. Some of the ideas are so quick and simple that you can implement them today! The resources hub also has specific advice on how to improve your activation for events or appeals of all sizes, such as using your reporting to understand your fundraisers and how a little friendly competition can go a long way!

There are also lots of free toolkits and guides that you can share with your supporters, such as the guide to making the perfect Fundraising Page. This handy guide shares practical tips and facts, such as for London marathon 2019 Fundraising Pages that had a profile picture raised £683 more than those that had no profile picture.

How can you measure the impact of changing your event’s activation rate?

The Sophie Model was created by one of our lovely colleagues, Sophie. She works with charities using JustGiving to help them to grow their event fundraising. She’s created a tool that shows you just how much more your charity could be raising from your events by moving one of three key levers:

  • The number of Fundraising Pages created
  • The number of Fundraising Pages that are activated with a donation
  • The total raised by each Fundraising Page

All you need to do is change the value in either the highlighted columns to see the difference it could make to your charity.

Good luck!


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2018 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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Fiona works on the JustGiving success team, helping charities of all sizes to make the most of their JustGiving accounts.