The best nonprofit websites empower donors to crowdfund on your behalf and spread the word of your mission. Learn how to optimize your own site in this guide.

As a fundraising leader, you already know the value of your donors. It’s with their support that you can raise the necessary funds and drive the actions that further your nonprofit’s mission. In fact, without your donors’ help, your organization could not have accomplished all that it has thus far.

Did you know that your donors can do even more by fundraising on your nonprofit’s behalf? Also known as crowdfunding, this type of fundraiser puts the power back into donors’ hands. They’re the ones promoting your organization and collecting gifts from their networks of friends, family, and peers. 

To empower donors to take that additional step, use your nonprofit website. As the centralized hub of most of your online engagements, your nonprofit site is your most powerful marketing resource

Utilize the investment you’re already making in your nonprofit website to build digital toolkits that empower donors. But how can you leverage your website in this way? We at Kanopi are consultants for nonprofit technology and work with organizations like yours to develop the best website content and strategy. Using our expertise, we’ve compiled these tips:

  1. Showcase the impact of your organization
  2. Empower users to take action with education and tools
  3. Shoutout supporters who’ve furthered your mission
  4. Offer additional fundraising opportunities

All of the best nonprofit websites provide the necessary information for donors to take the initiative to crowdfund on their own. However, not every website organizes content in an easily digestible and intuitive format, which can act as its own barrier to donor empowerment. To prevent this obstacle, keep on reading to dive into our tips.

1. Showcase the impact of your organization

If you want to empower your donors to do more for your mission, you’re going to need to prove that your organization is worthy. Similar to how you might use past fundraising data to convince businesses to sponsor you, your website can showcase your organization’s impact and inspire donors.

Do this with specific website content that demonstrates how your organization is making a genuine difference. It’s best to be as direct and concrete as possible— many nonprofits fall into the trap of being too general. For example, some organizations use vague phrases like “Your donation will make a difference” as opposed to a stronger statement of “Your donation will provide 10 meal kits for families.” 

Real data and stories will be your best bet. Showcase the impact of your organization by developing site content like:

  • A mission statement and an about us page, directly stating the cause you’re trying to help and how your organization will do so
  • Blog posts that summarize past nonprofit campaigns and events as well as their results
  • Case studies on high-impact fundraising events along with the funds raised and the specific uses of the funds
  • Community stories by the people that your organization serves to provide first-hand accounts of your impact
  • Annual reports with concrete metrics on your yearly fundraising revenue and the accomplishments your nonprofit has achieved

The donors who want to support your mission further need to know that your organization is worth crowdfunding for. As an easily shareable tool and critical component of your digital strategy, your nonprofit website is the best place to host this information. This way, donors also have easy access to content they can share and reference themselves.

Take this a step further by providing substantial resources for supporters, which we’ll dive into in the next section. 

2. Empower users to take action with the right resources

The first thing you’ll need is an online donation page. Supporters can share this with their social networks to solicit donations. Go the extra mile by creating a dedicated crowdfunding donation page. This way, you can more accurately track which donations are coming from your supporters’ efforts instead of lumping them in with your general online gifts.

To increase your online donation form’s completion rate, it’s recommended to optimize the page to streamline the giving experience. Common obstacles that nonprofits face include a donation form with too many questions or creating a too busy donation page, making it harder for even your most passionate donors to give. Here’s how:

  • Take an inclusive approach and make your donation page easy to find with prominent calls-to-action as well as a link on the main navigation menu.
  • Only ask the necessary questions, like name, donation amount, and payment information. Other fields should be marked as “not required.”
  • Embed the donation form into the page instead of taking users to a new window. Redirection will just lengthen the giving process further and might risk coming off as untrustworthy to potential donors. 
  • Include social media sharing options to advertise the online gift to the donors’ friends and family.

For more guidance on displaying your donation page content, you can take inspiration from these iATS Payments’ donation page examples.

However, your donors can benefit from more than just a dedicated donation page to share. Additional resources include:

  • A condensed version of your nonprofit story that donors can easily share with friends and family
  • Social media post opportunities, like fill-in-the-blank prompts, a list of “tweet-sized” posts, a specific hashtag, and images or graphics for donors to post themselves
  • Educational links like instructions on setting up a Zoom call or tips on talking to potential donors online

When your nonprofit supporters have the right resources, it’s much easier to empower them to fundraise on your behalf. And your website is the perfect place to host these resources! Ensure that donors know where to find them by including links with clear and actionable anchor text like “Want to make an even bigger impact? Share this image on social media!”

3. Shoutout supporters who’ve furthered your mission

According to some sources, new donors who receive a personal thank you within 48 hours are four times more likely to give again. The simple act of showing appreciation can increase donor renewal rates by 400%. Donors want to know they’re valued, and they want confirmation that their gift made an impact. 

The importance of showing appreciation is the same with the donors who are fundraising for your mission. A simple tip to tracking which supporter is making a difference? Within your crowdfunding donation page, add a field asking how the prospect found out about your organization. If it is due to a specific person, this is the area that they can note this in. 

Since sending thank you letters requires an email or physical address, devote an entire website page to shouting out these individuals. Shouting out your most passionate supporters for the excellent work they’re doing is a great way to encourage them to continue and showcase your appreciation. 

This page can be a simple list of names, or you can do a little more work to include a photo and the direct amount of funds raised. For example, you can say, “Taylor Smith helped raise $500!”

You can also use social media to call out your superstar supporters (if they’re comfortable with this) along with posting this on your nonprofit website. People will love seeing their names and hard work celebrated online!

4. Offer additional fundraising opportunities

How else might your website empower your donors? Consider these additional fundraising opportunities that encourage your supporters to take the initiative and bring in some much-needed funds for your mission:

  • Peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising is a similar social fundraising method to crowdfunding. Except instead of supporters sharing your dedicated crowdfunding donation page, they each get a P2P page. Donors can customize this page to highlight their personal connections to your organization and why they’re advocating for your cause. To create your P2P campaign, promote the event to supporters and start actively recruiting. Make sure that supporters have access to the information on how to participate on your website.
  • DIY, or do-it-yourself, fundraising has been rising in popularity for some time. This involves inspiring supporters to create their specific campaign or event for your organization. This is a step further from crowdfunding as supporters need to do more than sharing a donation page or creating social media posts. DIY fundraisers can range from more comprehensive events like a school walk-a-thon to smaller efforts like a workplace money jar where employees have to input a small amount of money each time a “rule” is broken. Create a page on your website promoting DIY fundraisers and employing them with tools like customizable online event and donation pages. 

Your nonprofit website is the focal point of almost all of your online engagements and should be the go-to resource for donors that want to do more. To empower your passionate supporters, make sure that your website provides the opportunities to do so. 

Wrapping Up

The most engaged donors are the ones who support your organization for the long haul and act as advocates for your mission. To do so, you need to provide them with the necessary information so that they can communicate your nonprofit’s impact accurately. Make sure that your nonprofit website supports your passionate supporters by educating them on your past efforts, providing the right resources, and showing them your appreciation. Good luck!

About the Author

Donna Bungard, Accessibility & Community Manager, Kanopi Studios 
Donna began her Drupal career as a designer and themer, then transitioned to the project management and strategy side over the years. Her range of skills and experience help her effectively lead teams as a project manager, and her knowledge of accessibility allows Donna to grow and enhance Kanopi’s accessibility offerings. Donna also assists in building and solidifying more processes around Kanopi’s participation in the Drupal and WordPress communities

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