Online giving is a prominent force in fundraising. No longer are donors constrained by your nonprofit’s event schedule, location, or snail-mail methods of contact. Further, connections between digital giving platforms and CRM systems mean heightened, easily-organized donor insights for perfected fundraising going forward.
Whether for first-time visitors or long-time supporters, it’s important that your giving page is enticing to potential donors. Not only do you need donors to be able to simply find your giving page, but you want them to feel compelled to give through it and see the donation process through the end.
We’re going to explore the following ways to maximize the ability of your giving page to draw in donors:
- Ensure the page is easy to find.
- Display compelling reasons to give.
- Clearly feature recurring giving options.
- Include information on maximizing gifts.
- Don’t forget mobile accessibility.
- Provide a secure digital giving experience.
- Optimize for online best practices.
Your online giving page is a powerful tool in increasing donations to your nonprofit, especially if you optimize it for a few donor-attracting best practices. Let’s dive in!
Ensure the page is easy to find.
Simply put, you won’t be able to draw in donors through your giving page if they can’t find it to begin with. This tip is so important that it’s the first suggestion on Donately’s donation page best practices — this is a big deal.
Luckily, there are a few easy ways to fulfill this requirement:
- Prominently display a “Donate Now” button on your website’s navigation bar. This button should be eye-catching and brightly colored, so supporters can access ways to give as soon as your webpage loads.
- Include calls-to-action throughout your website. You can never be 100 percent certain which page on your website will be “the” page that convinces donors to give. Strategically place CTAs with inspirational words and links to your giving page to capitalize on that momentum.
- Link to your webpage and giving page across your other contact methods. For example, if you’re communicating with supporters via social networks or email newsletters, include a link to your giving page for a quick and convenient way to give.
The idea is that whenever your supporters are inspired to give, they should be able to access methods to do so quickly and conveniently.
Display compelling reasons to give.
Content is key in convincing supporters to give to your cause, and that’s true across your giving page as well.
Consider these examples of best online fundraising campaigns. What do they all have in common? They use donation software to their advantage and they feature compelling stories and imagery when doing so.
Stories are how people make sense of the world. According to David Hutchens, it’s the best method for “capturing ears and hearts.” In convincing donors to give, you need to do exactly that: catch their attention and compel them to give.
Now, your donation page is not the place for meandering case studies and huge blocks of text. Include a brief “why” for giving to your organization — a quick explanation of your nonprofit and what gifts to it will accomplish.
Clearly feature recurring giving options.
According to Nonprofits Source’s online giving statistics, donors that use a recurring giving model donate 42 percent more each year compared to those that make one-time gifts. Further, recent years have seen increasing recurring gift revenue (up by 40 percent in 2017), with that type of gift making up an increasing amount of total online gifts as well.
Recurring gifts are incredibly valuable for nonprofits for two reasons:
They often result in higher giving amounts when compared to one-time payments.
They provide a regular stream of income for nonprofits to plan around, rather than a few lump-sum payments to be allocated over months of time.
There are a few different reasons why donors might choose to not sign up for recurring giving programs, whether because they’re unaware of their existence or it’s simply too much of a hassle to join. Solve both problems by including a recurring giving button directly on your giving page.
Include information on maximizing gifts.
Increasingly, donors are more concerned with their impact than, say, the potential tax breaks associated with charitable giving. Use your donation page to show donors they can make an even bigger impact than they thought possible, and they’ll be more inclined to give (or even give more than originally intended.
Matching gift programs are a type of corporate philanthropy through which companies pledge to make donations to approved nonprofits matching those made by their employees. They’re a huge opportunity to double, triple, or more, a donor’s gift with no extra spending on their part.
The biggest obstacle to receiving matched funds is simply a lack of awareness of the programs, something that can be easily solved by your online giving page.
Consider investing in a searchable matching gift database or even an automated matching gift software, so a donor’s match eligibility can be easily searched immediately after they use your giving page. Or, if you’re brand new to matching gifts, simply include educational information around matching gifts on your page to begin with. As you begin to see the benefits, consider investing in a heftier software-based solution.
Check out 360MatchPro’s guide to matching gift programs for a deeper dive into this opportunity.
Don’t forget mobile accessibility.
At one point, you could confidently say that most, if not all, visitors to your website were accessing it via desktop. However, the rise of smartphones means that now, the majority of visitors to your website are likely accessing it through mobile means. In fact, mobile phones are so impactful now that Nonprofits Source has reported an increase in mobile giving by 205 percent in recent years.
It’s crucial that all visitors to your site, whether those using a full-sized desktop computer or those using a small smartphone screen, are able to easily access and successfully use your giving page. Donors should be able to give through your giving page at any time and from any place, using a device in the palm of their hands.
There are a few best practices when crafting a mobile-responsive donation page:
- Ensure the page adjusts to fit the smaller screen. Donors shouldn’t have to zoom in or out to make their gift. A mobile responsive page should adjust to fit whatever screen it is viewed on.
- Keep content concise. The mobile device viewer’s attention span is shorter than ever!
- Ensure all images and graphics are viewable. This includes making sure they’re loading on mobile and adjusting to fit the smaller screen.
- Create tab-friendly fields. If donors can easily click “next” through donation form fields, they’ll be more likely to complete the giving process.
Optimizing your website for mobile protects your nonprofit’s ability to keep fundraising online by ensuring all users can easily access and use it. This accessibility will draw supporters in from all types of devices.
Provide a secure digital giving experience.
Financial information is sensitive. There are few things more discouraging to a donor than being directed to an unfamiliar, third-party website to complete the giving transaction.
Ensure donors feel secure giving through your digital methods by putting thought into and prioritizing your nonprofit donation processing. This refers to the procedures involved in managing an online giving transaction, from first collecting a donor’s financial information to when that donation is deposited into an organization’s merchant account.
Keep donation processing in mind when first choosing an online donation platform as you’re unlikely to be able to change processing factors once you’ve chosen a platform. Look for an online donation tool that offers integrations with popular payment processors, such as Paypal or Stripe, so donors feel comfortable submitting their financial information to the familiar servers.
Optimize for online best practices.
Just as with any other web pages, it’s important to optimize your donation page for online best practices to ensure it’s easy to use and effective for your organization and its donors.
A positive donation page experience dramatically increases the likelihood a donor will complete a transaction through it. When a page is easy to navigate — and doesn’t take forever to load — user experience is significantly better.
There are a few best practices when it comes to donation page optimization:
- Test all images. Graphics and photos that are too large will slow down the load speed of your donation page. Make sure your images are only as large as they need to be, so donors aren’t wasting too much time waiting for the page to load.
- Make structure as straightforward as possible. Aim to include all essential information “above the fold,” that is, in view without any initial scrolling. Make sure each successive step toward donating is clear and easy to follow for quick and efficient navigation.
- Make it as simple as possible. Avoid cluttering the page with extraneous, distracting details and only include needed information.
Many steps in this valuable nonprofit web design guide aim to create a clear, easily navigable website. That’s because ease of use is truly that important!
Online giving is a powerful tool in fundraising for two reasons: 1) It’s convenient for donors, and 2) Your nonprofit can easily collect and evaluate key information regarding how donors interact with your organization.
In order to make the most of these benefits, however, you have to draw in donors to your page to utilize it in the first place. With the above tips, you’ll be off to a great start.
Andrew Berry is the head of marketing and customer success for Donately. After getting involved with nonprofits at a young age, he discovered a passion for helping the organizations that are making the world a better place. Knowing how vital online fundraising has become, his goal is to help nonprofits raise more money online each year! In his spare time, you will find him cooking up dinner, playing with his dog, or cheering on Boston sports teams.