It takes a village to accomplish your nonprofit’s mission. Of course, your team is full of hard-working, philanthropically-minded folks who will do whatever it takes to help your constituents. But there’s only so much that your team can accomplish alone!
Donations keep the lights on in your headquarters, purchase necessary supplies, and pay the aforementioned hard-working staff members. At the end of the day, your nonprofit’s efforts are fueled by generous donors. That’s why you probably spend significant time dreaming up and planning a calendar full of nifty donor engagement strategies — peer-to-peer fundraisers, fundraising events, and direct mail campaigns galore.
But did you know that your nonprofit’s website can be one of your greatest assets to inspire supporters to take action?
On your nonprofit’s website, you likely share updates, discuss opportunities to engage with your organization more generally, and even collect donations. How well does your website inspire your supporters to take action for your mission?
In this guide, we’ll cover top web strategies that you can use to activate your supporters and get them even more engaged with your fundraising efforts. Let’s get started!
Making the Most of Your Website For Fundraising
When it comes to empowering donors with your nonprofit’s website, convenience and straightforward navigation are the name of the game.
Put yourself in your donors’ shoes for a second. You want to give to a cause you care about, and you have your credit or debit card at the ready to make an online gift. But, if you struggle to find and use the online donation form in the first place, you might give up on the process altogether!
This is called “shopping cart abandonment,” and it’s a real phenomenon — as many as 69.75% of people leave a checkout page on desktops (and for mobile, that percentage hops up to 85.65%!) before completing a transaction.
Set your well-meaning supporters up for success with the following tips. We’ll first discuss strategies for your donation form itself before turning to your call-to-action strategies.
Focus on streamlining your donation form’s user experience and making it as easy as possible for supporters to complete the form. Consider these tips:
- Limit the number of form fields. Your donation form is an opportunity to learn about your supporters. It can be tempting to ask many questions in your donation form (“How did you learn about our nonprofit?” “What part of our cause interests you the most?” “How would you like to engage in the future?”), but you should be a ruthless editor when it comes to paring down these questions. By limiting the number of form fields, you can increase how many supporters will complete the form.
- Be careful with required form fields. Alongside limiting fields more generally, try to limit how many fields you mark as “required.” The more fields you require, the longer it will take for a donor to fill out the form. Additionally, make sure that any required fields are clearly labeled using both color (i.e. bright red) and a written indicator, such as with an asterisk. That way, donors can see what they need to do to move to the next step in the process — there are few things more frustrating than being stuck on a page and not knowing what you need to complete to progress!
- Make sure the form is mobile-optimized. Your donation form should adjust to fit the size of the screen that supporters are viewing it on, whether they’re using a desktop computer, a mobile phone, a tablet, or an over-sized-TV-screen (technically, it could happen!). Furthermore, the form should be tab-friendly; essentially, this means that supporters can hop from field to field by pressing the tab button rather than trying to click on each with a mouse or with fumbling fingers on a touch screen. This also helps improve the accessibility of your forms for assistive devices like screen readers.
- Directly embed the form on your giving page. Your supporters are entering their financial information into an online form, and that can feel risky even on websites that they know and trust. By embedding your giving form directly on your nonprofit’s website (trustworthy), you can avoid sending supporters to a third-party page (unknown branding, potentially dangerous). Mightycause’s Advanced plan provides organizations with an embeddable donation form that you can easily add to your website!
Remember that the online giving experience doesn’t end when the supporter hits “submit.” There is valuable digital “real estate” on the donation confirmation page, and you can use that to encourage further action!
For example, after a quick thank-you email, you could include information about matching gift programs and how their donation may be eligible for an employer match. You could even embed a matching gift search tool directly on the confirmation page. Double the Donation’s guide to matching gift software vendors includes options for plug-ins that you could easily add to your site.
You could also encourage supporters to take non-fundraising-related actions, such as signing up for volunteer opportunities or signing a petition.
Once you’ve created a stellar online donation form, you’re going to want to make sure everyone on your site can find it.
Strategically place calls-to-action across your website so your donation form is impossible to miss. This includes CTAs such as:
- “Give Here!” buttons. These are the standard CTA buttons with which you’re probably already familiar. Include bright, eye-catching buttons across your website. Remember to check that there is sufficient color contrast between the page itself, the background of the button, and the button text. This ensures the buttons are accessible for site visitors with visual impairments.
- Lightboxes. These are essentially pop-up boxes that show up when a site visitor navigates to a certain page on your website, such as when they first arrive on your homepage. These nifty boxes direct visitors to take a specific action, such as making a donation via your online donation page. And, despite how fancy they look, they’re actually pretty straightforward to make using WordPress plug-ins (like WP PopUp). Check out the example from Cornershop Creative’s guide to digital fundraising to see what we mean. In this example, FINCA.org used custom-built lightboxes to improve their digital fundraising and increase their recurring giving:
- Text mentions. This one is fairly straightforward — whenever you mention giving to your nonprofit or fundraising more generally, include a link to your online donation form! You could even include a quick sentence to make it clear where the link points to, such as “Want to support our mission of [description]? Give here!” These mentions could be on your homepage, in blog posts, and generally anywhere that you discuss fundraising online.
You can boost your online donation page even further by including mentions and links to your form throughout your overall multichannel marketing strategy. Include links in social media posts, mention your form in conversations with donors, and even consider creating a quick QR code and printing it on your direct mail communications.
So many factors play a role in your nonprofit’s fundraising success. The economy, how many prospective donors you’re able to connect with to chat, and how well you’re able to tell your nonprofit’s story can all impact how successfully you fundraise during a campaign.
It’s time to add your nonprofit’s website to that list! With these donation form and CTA strategies, you can make the most of your website to raise the needed funds and bring your mission to life. Good luck!
About the Author
Sarah Fargusson, Director of Digital Strategy at Cornershop Creative
Self-described as a “non-profit junkie,” Sarah has dedicated her career to serving the needs of the non-profit sector. Her project management experience spans a variety of non-profit management disciplines including strategic planning, community engagement, capacity building, fundraising and research. She has worked both in and for the non-profit sector at the Feminist Majority Foundation, the Sadie Nash Leadership Project, and the consulting firms The Lee Institute and The Curtis Group. With her ever expanding non-profit tool belt, Sarah joined Cornershop Creative to tap into her techie, creative side, while developing meaningful partnerships with her clients to help them more effectively achieve their goals.
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