So why aren't more nonprofit websites designed that way?
As we in the nonprofit world know, getting over the awkwardness of making "the ask" is a trial in itself. But, we also know that to fulfill our missions, good wishes and kind hearts don't keep the lights on or the soup flowing. We need to be proactive about asking for support. We can't hesitate to ask for gifts or involvement on our websites. We need to understand how to ask for donations.
Here are a few tips for making the all-important "ask":
- Make your donate button BIG. If you've been readings Tips for awhile now, this first point isn't news, but it's still of paramount importance. Make your button BIG, BOLD and ABOVE-THE-FOLD. Check out examples from Clowns Without Borders and Blue Frontier.
- Connect to content. Saying "donate now" is not a compelling solicitation. (But, ah, if only it were that easy...) You need to make a tangible appeal to your potential donors. Include an image. On a webpage about your organization's homeless shelter, make your button say something relevant: "Feed five people with a $50 donation now! Any and all support makes a difference in the lives of these families.
- Show your potential donor him/herself. Sending out an email solicitation? Include a testimonial of one of your constituents or of another donor. People want to see themselves. Hold up that mirror, and show them, "Hey! You can help Susie and others like her by supporting local research..." or, "Hey! You can make a difference just as Donnie Donor did!" Check out another example of a good fundraising appeal.
- Give donors options. Think big. Online donors are as diverse as offline donors-they want to set up recurring gifts, planned giving, stock donations and otherwise. In addition to your online donation form, be sure to include surrounding text about the variety of ways to give. Be sure to include contact information!
- Ask for more than money. What's a precious commodity that doesn't include a dollar sign? A person's time -- it can be priceless. Give all the facts and opportunities for volunteerism. Show how organized your program is and what an impact it will make on the volunteer and the project they're doing.
- Just do it. Frame your appeal in such a way that it answers donors' immediate questions: Why me, why now, what for and who says? How do you do that? Learn the tactics.
Keep this in mind: You have a variety of online channels (your website, email communications and champions on social media) to ask for donations, and you have the know-how to make your organization and a donor's potential real. Go make it happen!