Someone once told me that learning from our mistakes is smart, however, we should not overlook the knowledge we stand to gain from the errors of others. And it

s okay, everyone makes mistakes, you learn from them is the thing. At PixGift, from our own mistakes and the mistakes of others, we have been able to grow into experts that are able to predict with 99% accuracy when a campaign will be successful or not. What we have found is that non-profits are spending their time and energy on online fundraisers that are provoking negative emotions and not generating enough of an emotional impact. From this the question arises, what went wrong?



Negative emotions and online fundraising are two phrases that should never be used in the same sentence. As a non-profit, there are a lot of things you want to avoid, however, you especially want to avoid donors clicking off of your site. This issue can be avoided by generating emotions from your fundraiser, that

s easier said than done though. This short case study aims to assist you in gaining knowledge from the mistakes of others.


A couple of months ago we had the opportunity to analyze a campaign on GoFundMe belonging to an organization whose fundraising goal for 2020 is $ 2.5 million. Unfortunately, after two months they have only managed to raise $3,700. A bit far off from their goal amount no? Without going into the subject of the transactional experience offered by platforms like GoFundMe, after learning how the campaign was structured, we instantly knew that it would not be successful.


Why? These are the main aspects we identified:


  • Lack of a connection with donors.

    The organization was not focused on them. Rather than acknowledging that donors give money because they have a personal reason to give, the organization was at the center of the story. The first rule of thumb to create emotions in virtual fundraising events is to develop a great deal of empathy with the donor and remember that people do not give to organizations, they give through them.

  • Poor message.

    The organization opted to share data and statistics rather than content that emphasized emotions. While human psychology is stimulated by emotions and justified through reasoning, data becomes obsolete as a tactic for engaging online donors. This, combined with a transactional call to action that does not specify where the funds will be allocated, created conflicts of trust that are very difficult to overcome, especially behind a screen. In the digital world, words are important because donors will assign personal meaning to them with no interaction on your part. To follow this approach and build emotions, you should proceed with a clear and short message where donors can see themselves as the heroes of the story in just a few lines.

  • Aesthetics and colors.

    From color and image options, every part of the page should come together and form one cohesive whole. At PixGift we take the saying

    a picture can say a thousand words

    to heart, because images now more than ever have the ability to leave impressions on individuals. They can elicit almost any emotion, whether it be a puppy playing that makes you happy or a forest being cut down that makes you outraged. When designing a fundraising website to ignite emotions, you need to consider every aspect of the page. The perceived proximity of the images to the viewer, the resolution, and how color is used can be a significant emotional cue.

  • Video and sound.

    A boring video completely derailed the online fundraising event. If you choose to have a video, it should engage your audience, it should have them asking


    s going on?


    what is this?

    . Video and sound are two subtle elements that must work together to convey a simple but unforgettable message that connects donors with experience or feelings.


In virtual fundraising there is a fine line between simplicity and boredom. Make sure your event is on the right side of the divide.


Fundraising is built on emotions and personal connections. If you need help designing an evocative fundraiser, we at PixGift have many ways to help you. Don't rely on assumptions or unskilled teams. The first obstacle is online fundraising is not raising funds; it is getting the attention of potential donors.



P.S. Let us help you in a creative and meaningful manner to connect and inspire online donors! PixGift is an image-based platform that augments the emotional influence images hold to strengthen communities and raise funds. Through unique storyboards and the collective creation of symbolic mosaics that can be printed on a plethora of mediums, we bring together the voices of a cause and leave tangible traces of the power of

Who We Are

as a community.


Want to learn more about online fundraising? Start with my book on

Donor Experience Design - DXD

. Available on Amazon

The Power of Emotions in Virtual Fundraising

Posted on Friday, July 10, 2020

The idea for PixGift all started in the heart of North Carolina while orchestrating a fundraising project for two college students on a mission to see the world.  To our surprise, the first giving board fundraiser not only was successful at raising the money, but it also engaged emotions and created a strong community.  Seeing this success and the tremendous potential of the idea, PixGift was officially born!  Since then, PixGift has grown, helping people and organizations create collective visual experiences that inspire communities to work together and achieve shared goals.
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