The role of technology in the workplace has grown exponentially in the last few decades, and it is no wonder that today, more and more organizations are turning to the digital world as an NGO funding source.
In the 21st century, the internet allows organizations to reach an unparalleled target audience. Like-minded individuals and other organizations in the field can all act as alternatives to traditional non-profit funding sources such as governmental grants or loans. Online fundraising comes in many forms, from crowdsourcing sites such as Gofundme to databases of thematic grants, but regardless of which type you use, here are some tips to improve your results!
1. Go Mobile!
In 2016, 17% of all online transactions were made using a mobile device, a 21% increase from 2015. You can use a website analytics tool like Google Analytics to see how many of your viewers are accessing your page through a mobile device, and how this number has changed over time.
Since most of your traffic will come from smartphone users, you should optimize your donation form for mobile users. A key reason potential supporters don’t complete donation forms or return for recurring donations is because the forms were too difficult to access on mobile.
2. Grab people’s attention
Just because someone is viewing your site doesn’t necessarily mean they’re giving money - make sure your visitors are actually donating! It is important to immediately draw their attention to your donation page.
Make your donation button easy to see and access, with effective supporting elements such as strong, quality imagery, information on how their donation will be used, and how to make their donation a recurring contribution. For a great example, check out charity: water’s page.
3. Work on branding
You’ve worked hard to build a recognizable brand for your company - make sure to include it on your donation forms too! This includes your name, logo, matching typography, and a cohesive overall look.
Having a consistent brand will help potential donors feel secure by offering a way to ensure they are in the correct place. A familiar page fosters trust and confidence, thus increasing the probability that they will complete the donation.
Customize your donation page for its purpose! While navigation, search tools, pop-ups, sidebar navigation, advertisements and more have their place on your website, the donation form should be simplified to make donating as easy as possible.
Autism Speaks has a clear, easy-to-navigate donation form with a few key changes from their main website:
- Simplified their top navigation bar
- Removed the search box, right and left columns, and promotions
This allows the visitor to focus solely on donating or getting involved.
5. Simplify even more!
All your work thus far has brought your audience to your donation page - congratulations! Don’t lose them when they are only minutes away by simplifying your actual donation form too.
People don’t like to give away too much information online or spend a lot of time filling out a long form. Limiting your donation form to only the fields you need to complete the online transaction will help ensure you don’t lose potential donors at the last step.
6. Add gift suggestion boxes
Evidence suggests that providing donation ‘levels’ leads to an increase in average online donation amounts. Instead of asking people to type in the amount of their donation, suggest a few amounts. The goal is to get people to give larger quantities than originally would have.
Livestrong starts their giving levels at $25 and increases them in increments to reach $1000. They also include a box for “other”, so that people can choose a different amount to donate.
This also serves to further facilitate the giving process.
7. Promote recurring donations
Getting a one-time gift is great, but receiving a monthly or recurring donation, even if for a smaller original amount, is better! On average, donors that opt to give recurring donations give 42% more annually than one-time donors.
By securing a recurring donor, you’ve shown you are able to improve long-term online fundraising performance and also increased predictable monthly revenue. These types of donors are also more likely to continue supporting your organization for a longer period of time.
Increase your chances of attracting monthly donations by including a simple option to make a donation recurring in a prominent location.
8. Add multimedia proof to improve transparency
Build confidence in potential donors by including information about reported results, as well as how their donations will help further your organization’s specific goals. Donors want to know how their money is being used and what type of changes your organization is effecting.
Today, potential donors can gather information about how much of each donation goes directly to charitable programs through websites such as Charity Navigator. Providing multimedia about previous projects improves the online donation experience and increases your accountability and credibility.
9. Prioritize security
Though financial transactions online have become fairly common occurrences, people still like to know that your website is secure and that you are taking precautions to ensure their information is reliably protected.
The Arthritis Foundation added a Norton/Verisign logo to the bottom of their donation form. While donors do not often intentionally seek such verification when making a donation online, these signs are reassuring when they do appear and should not be underestimated.
10. Give donors a way to stay in touch
The time immediately after someone has given you a donation is perfect for establishing a longer-term relationship. Someone has decided to financially invest in your organization, and you can make the most of this demonstrated interest by advising how they can continue supporting you in the future.
On your confirmation page or thank-you email receipt, you should ask donors to join your mailing list to stay updated on how their gift was used, and promote your cause on social media. Both of these things can be done relatively quickly and effortlessly.
11. Offer donors something in return
Consider enhancing the giving experience by offering donors a thank-you gift to show your appreciation. This should align with your organization’s mission and core interests (such as a tote bag for conservation-oriented groups), and be branded to remind people of your organization when they see it. If your organization is member based or has subscription-only content, you could also offer a free premium trial.
You can also include an option for donors to opt-out of this gift to maximize your donation.
12. Have a “soft launch”
Crowdsourcing campaigns can be difficult to get started; people may feel uncomfortable donating to a campaign that has $0 raised but would be attracted as fair-weather fans and bandwagon joiners.
Before your campaign publicly launches, consider holding a “soft launch” for friends, advocates, and established partners whom you know will support the organization. You can request them to donate on the first day, or even before it is officially released to make sure that by the time it’s unveiled to the public, numbers are already well above point zero.
13. Take advantage of the moment to promote your organization
Empower your donors to share their passion for your cause through social media! Create a badge or widget for supporters to incorporate in their blogs and social networks to spread word about your nonprofit. Make it easy for supporters to share information about your cause and reach a wider audience.
14. Offer Supporters Different Ways to Engage
Just because someone might not make a monetary donation doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t want to support you. Including information on “More Ways to Give” will appeal to a wider range of preferences and increase supporter engagement. Alternative ideas include:
- Sharing petitions to raise awareness about your cause
- Offering information about how supporters can participate in volunteer events
- Asking for community feedback via surveys to improve
- Encouraging supporters to host their own fundraisers in a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign
15. Consider exit-intent popups
While pop-ups may be annoying interruptions to the user experience, exit-intent popups have been able to increase email subscriptions by up to 100%, as in the case of ManyBooks, because they are effective at converting visitors into leads.
The idea behind using an exit-intent versus a traditional popup is that visitors who are going to leave your website will do so anyways, and a pop-up request is worth trying as a final recourse. In fact, industry research shows that 10%-15% of lost visitors can be recovered by using exit-intent popups.
With these tips in mind, you could raise just as much as, if not more, money online comparative to the amount offered through some small grants for NGOs!