With the help of donor management software, online platforms are a perfect donation portal. The simplicity of online giving can boost the number of donations a nonprofit receives, noted Kristen Gramigna, Chief Marketing Officer for BluePay.
Of course, creating a website and adding a "Donate Now" button is not a magical two-step formula for gathering donations. The logistics of online fundraising require a little more care.
To create the right website content and design, nonprofits should bear in mind the following tips and tricks:
Less is more
The first rule in keeping a loyal website following is to not create too much work for your readers. Content should not be a chore to read and information should be easy to find, according to The NonProfit Times. If steering from Point A to Point B requires too many steps, frustration might keep potential supporters from coming back to the website.
De-clutter the design
A jumbled presentation is sure to divert audience focus away from important content on a website. Readability should be at the core of the design. Banners should be used sparingly and color schemes should be kind on the eyes.
Navigability means nothing if a prospective supporter can't read the home page. It's imperative that a website's design is mobile-friendly. It's a good idea to ask volunteers to test a website's usability. Their valuable feedback can be organized in a donor database.
Clean up the copy, captivate without words
It might feel as though concise copy is less powerful. Here's where gripping images can stir your audience without muddling the page, said Nonprofit Hub's Jay Wilkinson.
"Readability should be at the core of the design."
Clean, straightforward copy is the key to effectively engaging readers. Placing small bites of text on each page allows readers to digest essential information.
Form is function
Navigation of a website needs to be intuitive and direct. Too many clicks lose an audience.
This is especially true for donation forms. The fewer fields that need to be filled, the better. A quick, direct form demonstrates respect for the time and privacy of donors. This is another place where soliciting volunteer feedback on usability can be helpful.
Answer before asked
It's also critical for a charitable organization to be transparent about how donation money will be used. This is one place where a nonprofit should not pare down copy. A detailed, concrete plan is essential for donor trust.
Carrying out that plan with accuracy is easily achieved with the help of donor management software. A nonprofit's mission, goals and objective are the most crucial pieces of information for their website.
Stand out from the crowd
Of all the things a potential donor needs to know, these three elements should be the easiest to find on a website. Ideally, a user will feel like he or she didn't even have to look for this information before it was presented.
"Transparency is essential for donor trust."
A PayPal link isn't as effective as a customizer pay button. Donation forms should match the rest of your website, said Randy Hawthorne, publisher and Executive Director of Nonprofit Hub. This means branding everything, right down to creating a unique donate button.
To convince indecisive donors, charitable organizations can ascribe a compelling name to the form's donate button. Instead of the ubiquitous "donate now," one might consider something like "be a part our mission."
Placement of the donation button matters, as does its appearance. High contrast colors draw a more immediate connection to a potential donor. Centering the button at the top of a donation page curbs any possibility that it will be difficult to find.
Directly below the donation button, a compelling call to action can help convince an indecisive audience to donate. Crafting this call to action might take a few drafts to perfect, and donor software analytics can help an organization track which messages garner the most donation button clicks.
There's one way in which only an online platform can engage a potential donor's attention: Real-time interaction and support, enabled by tools such as StudioOnline. Interactive conversation gives a new layer of presence to a charitable organization.
A note on thanks
The immediacy of online giving calls for an equally instant response. An email thanking the donor and providing a printable receipt should automatically follow the donation. Though it would be impossible to carry out this task manually, donor management tools such as StudioEnterprise automate the process. Nonprofits never need to worry about forgetting to send proper thanks.