If you asked a nonprofit twenty-five years ago how they asked for donations, they likely would have responded with some combination of in-person appeals, direct mail solicitation, phone donations, and fundraising events.
Today, those methods are still alive and well, but a few new players have joined the field.
Not only can nonprofits raise money via traditional fundraising routes, but they can also supplement those strategies with online and mobile fundraising methods.
These online donation methods give donors the opportunity to give when it’s most convenient for them, providing donors with great options to give on the go and with their credit and debit cards.
But with these new online fundraising strategies comes a challenge: your nonprofit has to have an awesome website and donation page.
To make sure that your website isn’t sabotaging your online fundraising efforts, we’re going to take a look at five key components that every great online donation page should have:
- Make your donation page easy to find.
- Reduce the clutter on your online donation forms.
- Offer different giving options.
- Offer recurring donations.
- Include social media information.
Some of these tips may be more pertinent than others for your nonprofit, but in general, they are all useful in helping bring in more donations and establish a better rapport with your supporters.
Now, let’s jump into the tips!
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1. Make your donation page easy to find.
The primary place donors come to contribute to your nonprofit is on your website. With that said, it’s important that your donation page is not only easy to find but also featured prominently throughout your website.
Imagine this scenario: an individual finds themselves on your nonprofit’s blog and is sifting through articles you’ve posted over the past few years. One story in particular really tugs at their heartstrings, and they feel moved to give to your cause.
But they’re months back in your archive, and you don’t have calls to action on any of your posts. Instead, the user ends up clicking back and forth several times to different pages, looking for a way to give.
The frustration of trying to find your organization’s donation page eventually causes them to give up and leave your website without contributing.
The issue could have been easily solved had you included a link to the donation form on all of your blog posts and pages.
Alternatively, having a “Donate Now” button predominantly displayed on your website’s navigation means that supporters can easily click on your online donation form no matter what page they’re on.
And for more tips to improve your nonprofit’s website, check out @Pay’s web design tips.
Pro Tip: Making your donation page easy to locate is the first step in receiving more online donations. People can’t give to your organization unless you give them a way to do so.
2. Reduce the clutter on your online donation forms.
Your donation page should be free of distractions and links that might lead users away from your form before they complete the donation process.
Once you have a donor on your page, you want to make sure they stay there for a while.
You can still include images and text that enhance your donation page, but don’t drive donors away before they have a chance to finish their donation.
For instance, you can try explaining to donors where their donations are going and reminding them that the form is secure. Use a combination of text and images to help tell your story, adding to the giving experience in a way that doesn’t confuse or distract donors with additional calls to action or links away from the donation form.
Adding a single, emotional image and compelling copy at the top of your donation page will remind donors of why they’re giving in the first place.
It’s also important for your donation forms to stay short. The quicker a donor can get through the process, the more likely they are to confirm their donation.
Let’s say that you’re raising funds for a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, and your donation form includes several fields to get to know your new donors better. While this information can be useful for your donor profiles, it’s probably more effective to collect just the necessary information, like:
- The donor’s name
- Payment and billing information
- The donor’s email
Donors don’t want to fill out a donation form that requires them to give an overwhelming amount of information. This way the donor can quickly finish the donation process, and you can capture additional information later.
Pro Tip: Keep your donation forms distraction-free and short so that donors are more likely to complete their gift.
3. Offer different giving amounts.
When a donor gives, they’re often unsure how much to donate. That’s where the trend of preset donation amounts come in!
When you include suggested donation amounts on your form, it not only allows them to see what an average donation amount might be, but it can also encourage them to contribute even more to your organization than they originally intended.
Think about it. Instead of landing on a donation page with an empty field next to “Donation Amount,” your supporters see various levels ranging from $10 to $250.
On the first donation page, a donor might give a more conservative amount. On the second, the options that have been laid out for them lead to a more generous donation because it’s more convenient to just click a button rather than enter a specific amount.
For example, if John Smith lands on your online donation form with the intention of giving $15, but there is a $20 suggested donation amount, he’s more likely to give $20.
To further encourage donors to use the preset donation amounts, you can tell them the impact that their donation will make. Instead of just having a button that says $20, for example, let donors know that their donation can help provide a day’s worth of meals to three children.
With more specific donation amounts, you’ll be able to motivate donors to give more because they can see how their donation will impact your cause.
Of course, you should always include an “other” field where donors can fill in their own amount in case there isn’t a gift size they want to donate.
Pro Tip: Offering different giving levels on your online donation form will help encourage donors to give larger contributions and can speed up the donation process.
4. Offer recurring donations.
In addition to providing suggested donation amounts, your organization should also offer recurring donation options.
In the fast-paced world we live in, it’s easy to forget to get the clothes from the dry cleaners, feed the dog, and give a monthly gift to a nonprofit.
You can help donors with one of those tasks by giving them the option to set up a monthly, quarterly, or yearly gift without ever having to revisit your donation form.
Recurring donations are also beneficial for nonprofits because they allow organizations to have a consistent source of revenue and some indication of which donors are could evolve into major supporters.
It’s a great option for donors who want to support you on a regular basis but are worried about remembering to log on every month.
It’s also a good way to give your donor retention rate the boost it may need. Past giving points to future giving, and current online giving will lead to future online donations!
Pro Tip: Make it easy for donors to set up consistent donations through recurring gifts. Donors are more likely to give regularly if setting up a monthly donation can be set up with a few clicks of a button.
5. Include social media info.
It seems like everyone is connected to one another through social media. Whether they’re commenting, liking, snapping, or retweeting, people are talking to one another on a multitude of social media sites.
Since so many people are on social media your organization should use it to your advantage.
Why not give your donors the chance to brag on themselves (and give your nonprofit some good press at the same time!) by adding social media sharing buttons on your donation form?
After a donor contributes to your nonprofit, give them the option to post their donation on Facebook or Twitter.
Donors will be able to let their followers know about the organizations they’re passionate about, which can encourage friends and family members to learn more about your organization.
Naturally, these sharing capabilities wouldn’t reveal any personal information about the donation, but it would encourage your donors to spread the word about their contribution in general, and perhaps persuade more advocates to give to your cause.
Pro Tip: Organizations can use social sharing buttons as a way to encourage donors to spread the word about your nonprofit and, hopefully, motivate others to give too.
Your nonprofit’s online donation page may soon become one of the primary sources of contributions. Don’t alienate your key supporters with a lackluster donation form! Incorporate these five features into your donation page to start bringing in more donations and boost your fundraising efforts.
Abby Jarvis is a blogger, marketer, and communications coordinator for Qgiv, an online fundraising service provider. Qgiv offers industry-leading online giving and peer to peer fundraising tools for nonprofit, faith-based, and political organizations of all sizes. When she’s not working at Qgiv, Abby can usually be found writing for local magazines, catching up on her favorite blogs, or binge-watching sci-fi shows on Netflix.