Time to Bring Your A-game to Increase Your Nonprofits’ Donations
Donations are the lifeline of any nonprofit organization as they play a crucial part in furthering your impact and ensuring financial sustainability. As we approach the end-of-year fundraising season, it is critical to prepare to attract new donors, build a relationship with existing constituents, and maximize the donation size.
Online giving has increased significantly over last few years (refer Fig1), and thanks to internet/social media which has led to an increase in the number of small donors. On the other hand, more and more organizations are becoming accessible and are competing for the same donors. Therefore, nonprofits have to get really creative and be smart about how they are asking for donations online.
Fig 1: Online Giving 2012 - 2018
Source – www.nonprofitssource.com
An online donation process can be broken down into three steps. The first step is to trigger a call-to-action (CTA) for visitors to donate; followed by step two, taking the visitors to your donation page where they can make a donation via a secure connection; and the third step is to send a confirmation to the visitor about receiving the donation.
In order to be effective at raising funds online, you’ll have to carefully design your own approach for each step and keep testing to get the desired results. We are sharing some of the best practices that you can use to excel at each step and stand out from the crowd.
Step 1: How to trigger a Call-To-Action for visitors to donate
Get the word out.
Please note that CTA buttons should directly take the visitor to a donation page and not have intermediary steps; too many steps will cause prospective donors to abandon the effort.
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Step 2: How to create and optimize your donation page
A Donation Page or Donation Form can be constructed using online fundraising software which is both easy and comes with lots of features and benefits. You can download our fundraising software guide here But you can also create one by yourself and optimize the page using the below tips to drive results.
- Design a branded donation page
"Your branded donation page should be on your website. It should have your logo and branding that is consistent throughout your website. Use the same color schemes, fonts, logo, language, and layout as your website to keep branding consistent.
- Simplify your donation form
Keep it one page and use simple language. It is good to have a combination of images, texts, and videos but if you overdo it might send donors away. Remove distractions and keep them focused on making a donation.
- Use compelling visual
A picture is worth a thousand words but a video is worth a million. Use 30 seconds to 1 minute videos on your donation page. Avoid using stock images and put pictures of your nonprofit events, campaigns, meetings, volunteers etc. Promo is a good marketing tool to create compelling visuals.
- Optimize for mobile
More than 90% of American adults own a smartphone, so it is very likely that many of them are learning about your nonprofit on their mobile devices and making donations too. Therefore your donation page and website need to be mobile optimized.
- Use encryption for donation page
Donors are sharing sensitive financial information through your website which can be huge risk if your page lacks secured connection. Please use payment solutions that incorporate Transport Layer Security that allow for secure online transactions.
- Develop concise copy
If you have three blocks of text, multiple call-to-action buttons linking back to your website and drop-down menus, it’s time to rethink your content strategy. Do not overload information. In one or two short paragraphs explain your mission and the donation’s potential impact.
- Collect minimal information
Donation form needs to fit in one page and ask for information that is absolutely necessary. Please refrain from asking donors to register first and then make a donation.
- Specify donation amount
Instead of leaving a blank for donation, give donors suggestions. Providing levels of donation may put their minds at ease but be careful to not make your lowest suggestion too low as donors may be more inclined to select the minimum suggested amount.
- Recurring donations option
It is important to begin with donor retention in mind and you can influence that by placing a recurring donations suggestion to the donors.
- Include social proof
Sometimes donors need a little nudge to get them to donate and sharing comments, tweets, images from other donors can convince them fully.
Step 3: Create Thank You Page
The final step in the donation process is to have a “thank you” page. A donation page may seem like the most important part of this process, but creating a thank you page is a very critical step in donor retention. This is the page the donor will be redirected to after making a donation. This is the opportunity to encourage donors to share about their donation to social media and invite their followers to do the same.
We want to hear from you about some of the best practices that you’ve been using to attract donors. Leave a comment.