Online giving to nonprofit organizations is growing at a rate of over 30% every year, and that number is sure to continue to climb in the years ahead as more and more people switch over to “mobile banking” and handling most of their transactions through the phone and the Internet.
Your Donate Webpage is the place where people give through your online presence. While our team is busy putting together tips and resources for the design of your whole nonprofit website to better tell your story and generate support, these tips focus solely on your Donate Page and ways to maximize the giving that comes through your website.
1. Have Your Donation Form on Your Branded Site
There are many great websites out there for fundraising where you can set-up an account have people visit to give, however giving significantly drops when someone has to leave your website to make a donation. Invest in a program that allows you to incorporate your donation form directly into your website allowing you to maximize giving. See Tip 2 for more on how to do this.
2. Use a Fundraising Software for your Page
While PayPal (and similar systems) are appealing for the low cost and ease of use, using a fully fledge fundraising engine to run your fundraising forms will not only speed up your processing time, but also gives you a full range of features that will help you maximize donations.
A few of these benefits are:
- Excellent Donor Tracking: Track all the information you need for not only keeping track of tax-related donations but also having an effective follow-up plan with donors.
- Automated Tax Receipts: The fundraising software will send an automated, and custom, tax receipt to donors.
- Customizable: Most of the online fundraising software’s we have used allow you to customize it to not only fit the fields you need but also be branded to fit your website look and feel.
- Multiple Forms: Most of the online fundraising software we utilize allow you to have multiple fundraising forms that you can use in various places on your website. More on this later, but this feature allows a wide range of options.
- Event Registration: Many fundraising software platforms will facilitate event registration and logistics, eliminating the need for multiple programs.
- Robust Reporting: Reporting and analytics are vital for any nonprofit to see what is working and what is not working. Using an online fundraising software allows you to track which forms are converting, what buttons work best and more!
Great Online Fundraising Software Platforms for you to check out:
3. Make your Donate Button Stand-Out
The “Donate” button should be very clear and distinguishable from the rest of the buttons on your menu. We often recommending completely changing the background color, highlight style, bolding the text and even adjusting the spacing of this button so it stands out. The color that usually works best is one associated with your branding.
4. Use the “Above-The-Fold” Space Wisely
Do you remember Newspapers? Are they still a thing? Regardless, above-the-fold referred to the area that you first saw when getting your newspaper, the part above where it was folded in half. Web sites also utilize this idea (though decreasingly so as longer scrolling home pages come into style), but your donation page should use it to maximum advantage.
Design the top portion of your donation page to emotionally inspire a donor to make a gift. Share a photo and a great headline. Don’t simply write “Donate” and then have your form. Design this space. Tell the donor how their gift is going to make an impact.
5. Create Giving Levels
Simply having a blank space for people to fill in how much they want to give doesn’t work. Instead, create giving levels that are pre-set and also associated with what that investment can do. For instance:$25 – Can Feed a Child for a Week
$25 – Can Feed a Child for a Week
$50 – Can Feed an Entire Family for a Week
$250 – Can Feed an Entire Family for a Month
You get the idea. Make this appropriate for what you are doing.
NOTE: It is important that the donor understands these are hypothetical allocations of the money, and not necessarily reflective of where the money goes directly from them. Use language such as “Can Feed” or “Could Feed” instead of “Will Feed” etc.
We recommend starting at $25 and increasing incrementally. The typical giving levels we use are: $25, $50, $100, $500, $1000.
Offering different giving levels results in slightly higher donations.
That’s because: (a) giving more is as simple as clicking a button, and (b) when options are suggested, many donors will be influenced by the social factor and want to appear more generous.
6. Demonstrate Trust
Many donors, especially financially savvy ones (which larger donors tend to be), want to know how their money is going to be used and that the organization is trustworthy. Demonstrate this in a few ways on your donation page:
- A snapshot of the percentages of where their money goes: Programs, Administration, Fundraising etc. or at a minimum use something similar to “93% of every dollar goes directly to feeding families in need”.
- Make it secure by using an SSL form and page. Most fundraising software’s will help you set- this up. Also, inspire confidence in your security by displaying a “Security Certificate” on your donation page.
- Link to your GuideStar or other third-party profile that independently checks your finances.
- Link to your Annual Report (which every nonprofit organization should have).
7. Encourage Recurring Giving
Recurring donors are the hidden gems of online giving! While their gifts may be smaller initially, added up monthly over a year or several years will often far outweigh what they would have given in a single gift.
Give the option of recurring gifts (most fundraising software’s do this) and also highlight why a recurring gift makes a huge impact. Use language such as “When you choose to make your gift recurring, you ensure we can continue to provide much-needed food to the families who need it most”.
8. Offer Other Ways to Give
While most of the people visiting your donation site will give online, some people will still want to give in another way. Provide them with the details of how to do this. We most often include: Check and Stock as our two options and then also give a contact number for someone to call about making gifts.
9. Have a Followup Plan in Place
You should plan to follow up with a donor beyond the simple tax-receipt they get when making a gift. While our team is creating some great content for having an effective online donor follow-up plan, the basics are:
- Send a Second Thank You Email with how their donation will make a difference
- If applicable (such as when it is geared around a specific project) send another email when the project is completed showing photos and telling stories of how they made the dream a reality.
10. Keep it Simple
Don’t offer too many fields, boxes or things for the donor to have to do.
Also, we recommend removing all the links except the ones mentioned here from your donation site (ie: don’t link to any blog posts, stories, etc.) because you want the donors to stay on this page and not end up somewhere else… and possibly forget they were in the process of making a gift!
Bonus – Get an Analysis
Echo Your Story would love to analyze your donation page with you and see what changes you could (or we could) make to further increase online donation! Get in touch with us today to find out more!