Online giving is growing and fast. Many nonprofits are already reaching out and acquiring new donors via the Internet. However, most nonprofits aren’t focused on their donors’ experience online. The good news is that reorganizing your fund-raising efforts with a focus on the donor’s experience doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Learn 10 tips to make your donors feel appreciated through your website and increase online donations.
Nowadays people use the Web to do just about everything. From reading books and conducting research to contacting others and charity giving, the Web is where it is at. An organization’s absence in the World Wide Web makes about as much sense as deciding not to have a telephone. Online giving is growing and fast. Large nonprofits are already reaching out and acquiring new donors via the Internet. How is your nonprofit doing? Do you already have an online giving program in place? If so, is your website helping you effectively achieve your fund-raising goals?
According to a report from The Chronicle of Philanthropy, 4 out of 5 donors have made a gift online. Donors also prefer to use the Internet for donations. These statistics supports the trend in online giving. In 1997, online donations in the United States accounted for $300,000. By 2007, online donations totaled $314 billion. For many large nonprofits online gifts account for more than 30% of their new revenue.1 Your nonprofit can take advantage of this opportunity but to do so you need to prioritize and focus on building a great website.
Here are ten simple ways to assess your website’s ability to help you raise money.
- Basic contact information. Your website needs to state what your organization does, where it’s located and ways to get in touch with development staff. Your organization’s full name, address, telephone and email address should be displayed on your website’s contact page and on the bottom of every page.
- Donation information. Provide your website viewers with easy access to information on how to donate and get involved. Don’t make them look around for it. Website users, in general, want to find information within a few seconds of entering your site. Otherwise, they are gone.
- Tell where the money goes. Donors want to know how their money is spent. Provide a “donor update” every month or so.
- Include a call-to-action. Lots of people miss the boat when it comes to this point. The goal is to convert visitors into supporters and donors. Insert subtle cues throughout your content and give visitors incentives to make that initial contact. Suggested reading “Increasing Online Giving: 10 Tips to Optimize Your Donation Landing Pages.”
- Increase donor confidence: Place your Charity Navigator and Better Business Bureau badges prominently on your homepage and donation pages.
- Integrate your online giving with other marketing channels. E-mail marketing still works. E-mail (e-newsletters) can feature content on your website. Always leverage offline promotion to compliment what you are doing online.
- Freshness. Provide fresh and up-to-date content.
- Use social technology. Provide tools for your visitors to share what they see via social networks. An easy and inexpensive way to do this is to include Twitter and Facebook buttons. There are also free “Tell a Friend” scripts that you can integrate on your website. Statistics show that word of mouth is still one of the most powerful marketing tools. People react positively to recommendations from their friends and colleagues.
- Acknowledge your donors. Find a space on your website to publicly thank your donors.
- Track users. The only way to improve your pages is by knowing your user’s preferences. Use a tracking tool to know where viewers go within the site and know how successfully you are leading them to donation or involvement options.
In sum, your website design should acknowledge your donor’s experience. Put yourself in their shoes and understand how they will interact with your communication. Your website design is experienced in stages — from the first impression to the last click. It is not just about your donation page. Recognize that more and more donors are taking action online. Use the 10 tips above to enhance your messaging or engagement strategy today.