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Lately, it seems like everyone including your grandma, Bill Gates, and the Dalai Lama are talking about increasing online donations. Voices are constantly peppering you with how to simplify your donation form, employ stronger calls to action, and use headlines that even a 15-year-old playing a video game wouldn't be able to ignore.
But what about all the other ways visitors can engage with your nonprofit online? Keep in mind one of the greatest truths in fundraising: People will only donate to organizations they trust, and trust doesn't happen at the first handshake or website visit.
When I talk to nonprofits, I hear one of two things:
"When new people visit our website, a lot of them will donate online immediately."
"There is no way someone is ever going to donate through our website."
Both statements are often far from the truth. Almost always, donations come after people have engaged with your nonprofit in some other way. The process of becoming a donor typically looks more like this:
In this story, you can see how every form of online engagement has the ability to contribute to starting relationships, building trust, and ultimately driving folks to donate.
So that brings us to an important question surrounding online engagement: How else can people take action on the Internet outside of making a donation? Since every nonprofit is different, it's not going to be helpful to tell you exactly how you should encourage people to engage with you. But I can give you a list of actions to pick from, and you can take it from there. With that said, here is a list of 44 different ways people can engage with your nonprofit online outside of making a donation.
These actions can be taken by visitors directly on your website.
Your website isn't the only place people can engage with you. There are also many ways they can connect with you through social media.
Just like social media, email is a great way to drive engagement where people are, rummaging through their inbox.
Hopefully this list helps you start thinking about the process someone might take to build a relationship with your organization online. Once you've provided opportunities for visitors to take action, it's your job to then drive them to engage. And only after they've acted, when a relationship really exists, should you consider trying to turn them into a lifelong donor.
This post was written by Jonathan Goldford. Jonathan is a partner at Wired Impact, a web design company that builds websites for nonprofits. He spends the majority of his time focused on web development and is passionate about encouraging nonprofits to use the web as a tool to improve the community. Jonathan has written articles on web and online marketing for publications such as Mashable, Business Insider, and American Express OPEN Forum.
Image: Startup Stock Photos / CC0 Public Domain
This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License.
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