Online giving is the future of fundraising, but not all nonprofits are prepared for it. Shouldn’t you be capitalizing on the potential of e-giving, too?
Online giving has been an important branch of fundraising for more than a decade now—but the pandemic has made the ability to accept donations digitally an absolute necessity. Donations made through online donation platforms climbed dramatically in 2020, even though the average amount of gifts has decreased.
And there’s a good reason for that: Younger donors are stepping to the forefront (Millennials and Gen-Z), and more average people and households are giving to causes they care about. Though both of these demographics have smaller cash reserves than typical nonprofit donors in the past, they’re also more generous than any generation before them.
So how do nonprofits harness all that untapped giving power? Develop an online giving strategy focused on recruiting large quantities of these small donors, and direct them to an online donation platform that’s easy to use and easy to complete.
If it’s easy to give, then donors give!
At Greater Giving, we’ve learned a lot from our clients’ successes about how to design an effective and profitable donation website. With our robust, customizable Online Payments online giving platform, even fundraisers with little web design experience have been able to create highly effective donation pages.
Donors want a straightforward and satisfying experience when giving to any charitable cause. Your nonprofit’s best chance to get donations online is to tell donors exactly what you’re about, inspire them to give, and complete the donation all in less than a few minutes.
– Bring in your nonprofit’s personality! We’ve seen our clients build some fantastic donation pages that tell people exactly who they are with just some well-placed images, good use of color, and an understanding of their nonprofit’s voice and style.
– Use images and/or logos in the page header that are high quality, high resolution, and instantly draw the eye. Try a large or close-up photo with lots of contrast and interest—something that embodies your brand and communicates your nonprofit’s mission fast. (Then draw the eye down to your nonprofit’s logo or campaign to fill in the details.)
If you’re fundraising for a specific purpose, say that! Using your logo as the header is fine, but be sure to communicate the cause or campaign somewhere noticeable on the page.
– Keep the message simple! Tell your visitor who you are, what you’re raising money for, and the goal you hope to achieve. Outlining a specific goal, such as purchasing a new piece of equipment or funding a new program, assures donors that your nonprofit’s ambitions are realistic. Staying focused on a single goal also offers the opportunity to show off your results the next time you ask donors to give!
TIP: Tangible goals sell better. Shooting to raise $5,000 begs the question of what that $5,000 will buy. What will it change? Donors want to know their generosity has a real and lasting impact. Show what that money can do.
– Employ your track record of success. Highlight your nonprofit’s past accomplishments (particularly if they resemble this initiative, project, or campaign) to demonstrate your organization has the experience to deliver on these goals.
– Use an easy and straightforward donation form so visitors know exactly what they’re expected to do. The last thing you want is for a prospective donor to get confused by your page and leave without completing their gift. Don’t bury or hide the donation button!
– Make your “Donate” button clear and prominent. The most important thing is that donors can actually give! In every online communication, social media post, newsletter or email, offer clear direction about how to donate.
– Encourage recurring donations. Don’t leave money sitting on the table! Most online donation platforms allow donors to make their donation occur monthly. Add some flavor text about why a small donation made monthly can make a huge difference!
– Include your Text-to-Donate number on all of your web pages, emails, social posts, and even snail mailings. Longtime donors and new, casual donors alike will love the convenience.
– Send donors a note of appreciation after they give. No matter how much or little a donor was able to give, it could still be the beginning of a long relationship. Make sure to capture enough contact information about donors that you can follow up later to show off what your nonprofit was able to achieve with the funding.
Make sure your donate button is large, clearly marked, and located in the center of your page so eager donors won’t miss it.
– Make guests search multiple web pages or scroll forever just to get to the “Donate” button. The path to donating should be crystal clear so potential donors don’t get distracted or lost on the way.
– Hide the donation button with images, text, or video. Remember, getting your donor to complete their donation it is the top priority! Make the form easy to find and even easier to fill out.
– Go overboard with colors, images, or text. There’s an important distinction between a page that conveys personality and one that’s just difficult to look at. Stick with one set color scheme for the whole page, and don’t try to cram too much into it.
– Pre-fill or “suggest” donation amounts that are too high for your average giver. People may feel left out if even the lowest option is outside their giving capability, or guilty that they can’t give “enough.” Even the smallest amount is enough! Especially if you plan to link social posts to your donation page, make those micro-donations possible so donors from any walk of life can give.
Some research has posited that higher pre-filled amounts secure larger donations— but that doesn’t take into account how many small donors were turned off or turned away. Donors who may very well have made a repeat donation down the line, if only they had felt that their generosity was welcomed and appreciated.
So should I use pre-set donation amounts, or just let donors fill in the blank? Listing a few suggested dollar amounts makes it easier to give, and can help an indecisive donor to complete the donation. But always include a blank pledge box for your donor to choose their own amount!
What is the best online giving platform for building my donation page?
We live in an era of technological plenty, and there’s a donation service out there for every possible situation.
Before you start shopping:
– Decide on a budget with decision-makers. Take into consideration how many donations you might get online, how you plan to advertise it and ensure it makes economic sense.
– Know what you need and what you don’t. There are a lot of services out there, all of them offering vastly different features. Look for an online donation platform where you can pick and choose services to suit your specific needs; you may find vendors charging for features you’ll never use, or you may find one with the exact offerings you need to replace other vendor products with a single solution.
– Select a donation platform that plays nice with existing services and vendors. How will your website link up with your donation platform? Some vendors offer embedded donation forms that can be tricky to figure out without web development experience, while others use an entirely separate ecosystem that you can link at will from your nonprofit’s main website.
– Know your own experience level and how much time you can commit. The “best” online giving platform is different for everyone. For many fundraisers, an online donation service that doesn’t take up too much time is a critical factor; look for vendors that offer a quick, easy donation page set up without too much tech know-how.