Asking for donations from your supporters is hard work. While face-to-face asks tend to have the highest success rate, it’s often a struggle to meet fundraising goals with face-to-face asks alone.
Since this is the case, many nonprofits have developed an online system so supporters can donate remotely. Plenty of organizations do great work in the design and optimization of their website so that donations can be made easily and quickly.
However, despite your nonprofit having a sleek donation page, you can probably make lots of improvements to your form that will streamline the process and improve your organization’s efficiency when asking for gifts online.
Even small organizations with low overhead costs can:
- Improve your donors’ experiences.
- Customize your giving experience.
- Empower your mobile donors.
- Leverage peer-to-peer fundraising.
- Encourage donors to create accounts.
These five improvements can do wonders in maximizing both the number and size of gifts that your organization receives.
Let’s get started making your donation page the best it can be.
1. Improve your donors’ experiences.
Have you ever tried to send an online gift to your favorite nonprofit and found the process difficult and frustrating? You’re not alone.
Sometimes donation pages make donating a complicated process instead of making it quick and easy. So, first, audit your own process by making a gift to your organization; then see what is less than optimal.
If you work on finding ways to take the guesswork out of the online donation process, your supporters might surprise you by upping their gift-amounts.
There are a lot of fantastic services out there that can help you with this process. When you’re working toward improving your donor experience, try and find ways to implement:
- Suggested donation amounts. Suggested donation amounts are a highly-effective way to increase your average gift amount with relatively low effort. If you include the most commonly-selected donation amounts on your page and allow contributors to select them quickly, supporters tend to give larger gifts than they do if they don’t see suggested amounts.
- Recurring gift opt-in. Always have an option for donors to set up a recurring gift! This makes giving a long-term gift more convenient for your donors and can inspire first-time donors to become returning givers.
- Offset processing costs. Give donors an option to offset the processing costs of their donation. You’ll find that many supporters will be happy to do this! It can save your organization some financial headaches and free up more cash flow.
These improvements will help you offer the best-possible donor experience to the people who land on your page — and they’ll help you raise more money, too!
2. Customize your giving experience.
Improving your donors’ experience includes more than a streamlined donation form. It also includes customizing the look and feel of your donation form in a way that makes your donors comfortable and confident.
Any attention given to the visual and design aspects of your form will result in increased donor satisfaction with your website as a whole.
Although these elements may seem superficial when compared to more technical improvements to your donation page, they’re important! When considering improvements to your website’s giving experience, you should:
- Build a custom giving form for each campaign. A custom giving form is an opportunity to establish a deeper connection with your donors. You can use images, videos, or language from your organization’s individual campaigns to display your nonprofit’s cause and mission. This kind of connection will preserve the initial emotional connection that inspired them to give in the first place.
- Use branded colors and logos. Never underestimate the power of a good logo! Giving your organization an identifiable image helps it stand out from similar organizations. Don’t forget to include any branding you use on the donation page itself to help with donor engagement. Including a logo on the donation form also makes donors feel confident that they’re supporting you — not a random third party.
- Streamline the giving process. We’ve said it once, but it bears repeating: the quicker and simpler the donation process is on your website, the more gifts you’ll receive. Don’t overlook tiny details on your donation page that could prevent further engagement, and make sure all website design enhances the donation process instead of detracting from it.
Following through on these ideas will make donating online a fun and enjoyable experience for your contributors. They’ll be confident, comfortable, and excited about giving to you instead of distracted, frustrated, and disengaged.
3. Empower your mobile donors.
Changes to your online donation page will not only affect donors on their computers — they’ll also affect anyone browsing your website on a mobile platform.
Creating a positive experience for mobile users reflects positively on the rest of organization, and it improves the likelihood that mobile donors will make a gift.
Mobile optimization also improves your organization’s brand, makes it more likely that your donation form ranks on Google searches, and will increase the likelihood of gift-giving on your donation page. If your donation page is tough to navigate on a mobile device, you’ll probably miss out on a number of potential gifts.
Plenty of methods exist for improving mobile functionality on your donation page. It is usually good practice to try to integrate:
- Mobile-responsive giving forms. If it’s frustrating to use your donation page from a mobile device, most mobile donors will give up quickly. Make sure your website is optimized for mobile users, especially when it comes to the giving form.
- Text-to-give. Text-to-give is one of the most efficient methods of mobile donation, especially at in-person events or print advertising. Implementing a text-to-give option makes it easy for donors to support you no matter where they are! Check out the re:Charity guide on text-to-give, which is a fantastic resource if you want to get started implementing this type of fundraising.
- Social media giving. A large portion of time spent online is on social media platforms. Don’t be afraid to integrate social media websites and online giving! Making your donation page shareable or embeddable on social media and having an active presence on these platforms is a great way to get more eyes (and donations!) on your donation form.
With these tips in mind, spend some time exploring how you can make donating easier for your mobile supporters.. Place yourself in their shoes, make a mobile gift, and identify your weak spots. Then go back and optimize the process!
4. Leverage peer-to-peer fundraising.
Most fundraising campaigns focus on recruiting individual donors, one at a time. But, what if you could recruit whole groups of people simply by leveraging your appeal to one donor with a request that they share your appeal with their network of friends, family and colleagues. You can!
The rise of social media has enabled nonprofits to take online fundraising to the next level. Most of your constituents will already have existing social networks in place. If you can access your supporters’ networks, you can increase the amount of gifts you receive.
How do you tap into those networks?
By implementing peer-to-peer fundraising options, you can increase the number of potential contributors to your organization by a huge amount.
Let’s take a look at how you can use peer-to-peer fundraising to your advantage:
- What is peer-to-peer fundraising? Think of crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter or GoFundMe. Now, imagine if, instead of raising money for individuals, these platforms could raise money for your nonprofit. That is essentially what peer-to-peer platforms do. In peer-to-peer fundraising, individuals set up their own personalized fundraising pages and ask their friends and family to support your organization. They can collect donations right on their page, and they can also recruit other individuals to raise money for you.
- How does peer-to-peer fundraising work? By using a peer-to-peer fundraising platform, you can find multiple ways to integrate peer-to-peer fundraising into your donation page. You can also include different forms of media, like photography and video, to make a powerful case for support that will inspire donors and recruit participating fundraisers
- What makes peer-to-peer fundraising so powerful? It allows each donor to build a personalized fundraising page where they share their connection with your nonprofit’s mission. It also allows these donors to tap into their social networks to spread the word about your organization.
Using peer-to-peer fundraising strategies can be a powerful way to take your online fundraising beyond simple donation forms. . After all, if a donor is engaging with your organization online, they will most likely have other friends, family, or colleagues who could engage with your nonprofit as well.
Double the Donation’s page on peer-to-peer fundraising is a great reference point for improving this part of your fundraising strategy.
5. Encourage donors to create accounts.
The primary goal of your donation page is to accept donations. The secondary goal of your donation page should be to allow supporters to continue their engagement.
When looking at the function of your donation page, make sure that continued engagement with your organization is as easy and as straightforward as possible.
Allow donors to create their own donor accounts directly on your donation page to add a whole new depth to the donor experience.
Allowing donors to create their own accounts makes it easy for them to manage their engagement with you because it:
- Saves their contact information. This is important! Creating an account lets donors manage their contact information, which is great if they move or get a new phone number or email address. Instead of calling you to update their donor information (or just getting lost in the shuffle and disengaging), they can make those changes themselves.
- Saves their payment data. Imagine how much easier it is to give again when your payment information is already saved! This eliminates the hassle of re-entering personal information when they give again. It also means donors can manage their payment information instead of having to call your staff to update their credit cards or bank accounts.
- Increases likelihood of future giving: Donors are much more likely to give in the future if it’s easy to do. Donor accounts make that possible! After all, donors already have their contact and payment information ready — making future gifts takes just a few seconds.
Be smart and add account functionality to your donation page! You’ll start seeing results in no time, and your most dedicated supporters will be happy that you made their experience that much quicker.
Improving your online donation processes doesn’t need to be difficult. There are a number of methods you can use to keep your donors’ experience simple and straightforward.
As long as you follow these helpful tips, you shouldn’t need to worry about your donation page’s efficiency or design for a while (although it’s always good to check every now and then!). You’ll soon be raising more money, retaining more donors, and keeping them engaged longer!
Abby Jarvis, guest blogger, is a 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.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.