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How to Create Urgency in Digital Campaigns By Jason Wood

Two Highly Effective Ways to Increase Urgency in Digital Campaigns

Creating a sense of urgency in digital fundraising is an effective way to increase results, which can lead to a greater impact for your organization. But how? Here are two highly useful visual tactics you can incorporate into your next online campaign: countdown timers and progress bars.

Let’s dive in:

COUNTDOWN TIMERSCountdown timers are digital representations of a clock showing the time that remains before the campaign ends. It’s helpful to use this during the final days of a campaign, big or small. The primary emphasis is to create a sense of urgency with donors before time runs out. The countdown timer is utilized by many organizations each December to drive year-end gifts because of the success that often follows it.

CAMPAIGN PROGRESS BARSCampaign progress bars have been around since the beginning of fundraising. Capital campaigns would use large poster boards outside of organizations to keep the public informed of how close they were to meeting the goal. A progress bar in digital fundraising engages the desire people have to be a part of the winning solution. The closer to the goal, the more a donor feels like their $100 gift really does make an impact. They can visually see how they are a core part of the story . . . an essential team member who’s helping the greater good.

Incorporating creative ways like these to bring your digital fundraising campaigns to life provides a sense of purpose, intentionality, and connection to your donors. It’s a fun and effective way to connect your mission to the heart of your most loyal supporters.

As we often say in fundraising—test it! If you have an email file with a large enough audience list, you can do a split test by changing the visual only. Let the results speak for themselves and use the winning graphic in the remaining emails of the campaign.


Jason Wood  is the Vice President of Client Services at Douglas Shaw and Associates.  His strategic digital expertise has helped well-known nonprofits such as Save the Children, where he was Director of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising and Integrated Marketing, and The Salvation Army U.S.A., where he served as Director of Digital Fundraising and Strategy.








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