As more donors opt to complete their donations online, it is our job as nonprofits to encourage and support that giving preference. You can maximize your online fundraising results this year by making online giving an easy, memorable and readily available option.
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Whether you're currently not raising money online, or if you're using a shopping cart service that feels more like e-commerce than fundraising, or if you're simply not getting the online results you want, here are some tips to help you feel confident and competent when it comes to dollars rolling in via the Web.
- Use a reliable, flexible solution for online donation processing. Your service should provide a seamless experience for your donors. It should also be full of your branding and language. You should be able to customize your donation form to get the information you need for targeted follow-up. When using the service, your donors should feel like donors instead of shoppers, with access to basic fundraising options like dedications, designations, recurring gifts, and e-newsletter sign-up. (Need a reliable & customizable online donation service that's easy to use? Find out more about DonateNow.)
- Don’t be ashamed to get active. All too often, small- to medium-sized nonprofits sign up for online fundraising services and stall when it comes to configuring their service and making the donate button live on their site. It's time to make the leap! When your site lacks a prominent donate button, your organization is telling people, "We don't need donations."
- Leave the door open to donations everywhere. Always, always remind the people with whom you interact that they can give. Will every donate link yield huge results? Definitely not. But just like with traditional commercial advertising, the more impressions you leave, the more likely the conversion when someone is ready to give.
- Track your donations. You want to continually learn what is working and what isn't when it comes to your online appeals. Take advantage of unique tracking URLs so you can track which donations came from which source. Set up Google Analytics on your website so you can monitor which pages are getting the most hits and which sources are sending the greatest number of visitors to your donation page.
- Make giving about the donor, not about your organization. Whenever you request a gift, remind the prospective donor about the good she will be doing. Once she makes the leap from "prospective donor" to "donor," make sure your thank-you messaging reflects the same gratitude and appreciation for the difference she made in the world. All too often we fall into the pit of the great work our programs did. Sharing the spotlight—or shining it entirely on your donors—isn't just good for business; it's good for repeat business!
- Be transparent. As you reinforce to your donors the impact they made (or will make), be specific: How will the funds be used? Who will be helped? What tangible difference is being made? If your nonprofit has been rated by organizations like the Better Business Bureau or Charity Navigator, share that information freely and proudly. When possible, include testimonials, quotes, and stories from those who have made donations and those who have benefitted from them.
- The first step in your online campaign: Set up your donation platform so your supporters feel like donors, not shoppers.
- Make sure your donate button is prominent on your website and included in all of your online outreach.
- Make the giving process obvious, easy, and transparent.
- Remember to track which methods garnered the best results, and repeat them. Set up Google Analytics for a free way to measure your traffic.