Today, online giving is an important part of fundraising strategy. Whereas in the old days you could do just fine soliciting donations via snail mail and face-to-face meetings, now donors want modern ways to give.
Let’s start with a few eye-opening statistics:
- In 2017 online giving generated $31 billion in nonprofit donations
- Online giving increased 10.8% in 2018 so far
- On average, online giving increases 13% each year
- The average online gift is $128
- Custom-branded donation forms and pages raise 6x more gifts on average
And yet, despite all the data indicating how important online giving is, only 67% of nonprofits worldwide are set up to process online donations. Yikes.
(Source for nonprofit statistics can be found here)
One more statistic you should know:
Millennials and Gen X’ers collectively make up 46.3% of the population and data shows that they prefer giving online and respond best to digital engagement.
This means that if your nonprofit isn’t building infrastructure to support online giving, you will soon get left in the dust in comparison with your tech-savvy peer organizations.
If I’ve managed to convinced you, but you still aren’t sure where to start, you’re in luck. Below you will find my top 7 strategies for building a donor-centric website that encourages and nurtures online giving.
1. Make your website appealing and simple
Data shows that people form an impression of a website within the first few seconds of seeing it. You have, on average, 8 seconds to convince them to stay and not close the page. This is before they ever read a single line of text or know what they can do on your site.
So your website better be modern, uncluttered, and appealing. That’s step 1 to getting them to stick around long enough to learn about your mission and all the ways they can support it.
2. Include information they need to make a decision
People don’t make decisions in a vacuum and many donors say that they don’t make gifts without first looking over a nonprofit’s financials and/or information on how they intend to use the funds.
Make it easy for prospective online donors by including 990s, annual reports, and information on use of gifts right on your donation page.
3. Include prominent calls-to-action
Humans like certainty. We like being told what do next and dislike being left hanging or uncertain. So give people what they want by including calls to action throughout the website. This can be done by including bold donation buttons, attractive and branded donation forms, links to the donation page, and asking people directly in text, video, or graphics to consider a donation.
Those in sales have long known that you must ask for the sale. Don’t assume people will give if you don’t.
4. Integrate thank-you’s and notifications for those who donate on your website
Most of us know that thanking donors is crucial to donor cultivation and retention. Online givers are no different.
Make sure you are building systems into your website to help you with this task. Some examples are setting up thank you emails that go out to donors immediately after a donation, setting up an automatic email notification for your development director so they can follow up with a call, and automatically adding your new donor to your mailing list for future solicitations, newsletters, holiday cards, and thank you materials.
5. Pay attention to copy writing
Copy is the actual text, or writing, that you include on your website. And it’s sooo important. If your copy is dry and boring or fails to make an emotional connection with your reader, your chances of getting them to donate decrease dramatically. But if you can write to them in an authentic way that interests them and tugs on their heartstrings you won’t just get a donation…you might also earn a true blue fan for your org.
6. Show your impact
The impact your nonprofit makes in the community speaks volumes about its stewardship of funds, its expertise, and the importance of its mission. These are all things that entice people to put their money where their mouth is, so make sure you play them up. You could create a page to highlight the impact your programs are making, include it in annual reports and then feature those reports on the homepage and donations page, and/or interview program participants about how their lives were impacted by your nonprofit and post those interviews on your website, blog, or podcast.
7. Track the website’s effectiveness
Last but certainly not least, you need to track your website’s effectiveness so you can make needed changes and be responsive to what your website visitors want. Because believe me, how people view your website tells a story.
By using tools like Google Analytics, you can see which pages people go to the most or least, how many people are returning to your website, what devices and browsers they use, which pages they exit the website from, and how many start to fill out a donation form and abandon it among many, many other things.
This data is GOLD and if you use it to make informed decisions about the layout and content of your website you will be in a prime position to garner more online gifts.
I hope these strategies have given you some food for thought and some ideas that can help you supercharge your online fundraising strategy.
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I would also love to know what online fundraising challenges your nonprofit is currently wrestling with. Leave a comment below to tell me!