Your web strategy for online fundraising should include three main objectives: maintain a site design that has high usability, remember that content is king, and determine ways to increase site traffic. Work these initiatives into the part of your online fundraising plan dedicated to website improvement:
Nonprofit Website Design Tips
- Make it easier for people to donate. Put your "donate" button above the fold, and make it BIG.
- Make it interactive with email capture, surveys, contests and other dynamic content. Here are examples of dynamic content from two different animal organizations: big and not-as-big.
- Make it accessible. You know that different people will visit your site for different reasons (to research, to donate, to kill some time). Give them each a chance to shine. Check out an example of putting out different welcome mats--for donors, seekers and Web-surfers.
- Make it simple to spread the word. Incorporate tactics to increase word-of-mouth marketing, such as tell-a-friend, email links and downloadable materials for your constituents to share.
Nonprofit Content Tips
Incorporate the four parts of a great message:
- Connect to things your audience cares about: saving time, feeling good about themselves, feeling powerful, etc. Check out this great example of a site effectively connecting with visitors through their love of pets and the use of an unconventional messenger (a dog!).
- Identify and offer a compelling reward for taking action: Remember that good rewards are immediate, personal, credible and reflective of audience values.
- Have a clear call to action: Good actions are specific, feasible and filmable (in other words, easy to visualize doing). They should also measurably advance your mission.
- Make it memorable: What makes something memorable? It's memorable if it's different, catchy, personal, tangible and desirable. But a word of caution: memorable elements should always be closely tied to your cause. Think of all the advertisements that were so funny or memorable that you told a friend about them, but when asked what product the ad was for, you couldn't remember.
Driving Site Traffic Tips
- Increase your visibility on corporate partners' websites. Does a local restaurant provide in-kind support for your events? Do you hold Board meetings in a local office building's conference room? You both win if you make a plan to make your presence known on their websites. (Think a twist on the old Vidal Sassoon ad: If I (for-profit partner) look "good," you (non-profit) look good.)
- Promote your events on event-listing services like CitySearch.com, local message boards, etc.
- Improve your searchability. Invest in AdWords. Learn what meta-tags are.