Because of its convenience, efficiency and speed, online giving is becoming more and more popular among donors. According to a Kintera study, more than 65% of donors visit an organization's website prior to making a donation. So you know that an organization's online presence is important to its overall fundraising success -- how do you make sure you're getting your fair share of this action?
Below are 10 easy steps (and a few affirmations) for getting an online marketing and fundraising plan off the ground.
- Put a donate button online now. You can do it! You don't need to be a technologist. You don't even need to have a website. You just need to get online.
- Put yourself in your donors' shoes. If you want to reach people, motivate them to action and cultivate a deep, profound relationship with them that's successful over time. You need to put yourself in their shoes, think about their perspective, and appeal to that perspective. Show people what difference they can be part of. Show them the change that they can help achieve. You want to demonstrate them that they can make a difference that's going to make them feel great as a person.
- Make your ‘donate' button obvious. People are skimmers online. They are snackers. They are not there to read or take in a whole meal of information.
You need to have a gigantic 'donate' button that someone can find in one second or less. And, in addition to a big button, you should have a button in the navigation bar so you can reach people who search for information that way.
- Put out three welcome mats. As my colleagues at SeaChange Strategies like to say, there are three different audiences likely to hit your organization's web page: People ready to give right now, people who stumbled across your organization but aren't necessarily sold on donating yet, and people who are there who will not donate at all (they may be there to research other information). Be sure to cater to each of these audiences:
- The ready-to-donate visitors: Make your ‘donate' button prominent.
- The not-yet-ready-to-donate visitors: You need to have some compelling content or a clear link going to compelling content that's going to lead them into why they should want to support you.
- The will-not-donate visitors: You want to have really solid navigation for them and enable them to find what they're looking for.
- Answer the question, "Why me?" for the visitor. Sometimes you can answer, "Why me?" with a compelling picture, by tapping into current events that people are talking about and/or by doing really good audience segmentation and understanding to whom you are sending an email appeal. But regardless, you really want to connect with what people care about.
- Answer the question, "What for?" Be sure to provide information about what's going to happen if that person decides to give you money. Donors are getting more and more skeptical about nonprofit organizations, and you need to reassure them with information on the kind of impact will result and how will the world be a better place because of their generosity.
- Answer the question, "Why now?" We have a lot of things competing for our donors' attention in any given moment, and so you need to lend a sense of immediacy to your appeal.
- Go out and find people. Just putting a button on your site won't alone constitute online fundraising. You have to get people to come to your site. There are a couple of ways to do that:
- Email them. You need to reach out to them to come and donate to you.
- See who's talking about you: Using search and social media, you can fiind a passionate community out there who will probably care about your issue. Set up Google Alerts. Check out Technorati for relevant blogs. Search for mentions of your cause or organization on Twitter.
- Provide a mechanism for lead generation. Not everyone is going to be ready to give. But imagine if you got the email address of every single person that came to your website-you would have quite a nice list! Offer someone something of value, some kind of information of value that really attracts email addresses and allows you to build a list.
- Thank your donors. The number one reason people cite for not giving to nonprofits again that they have supported in the past is how they were treated by the nonprofit. You need to do a really good job of acknowledging your donors. Heed a classic business truism: "It's much easier to keep a ‘customer' than get a new ‘customer'."