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As the year-end giving season approaches, nonprofits can benefit by improving their website donation pages. Whether clicking through on email appeals, visiting your website after getting an appeal in the mail, or doing a web search, a lot of prospective donors will end up on your donation page.
But don't take it for granted that all your visitors will make a gift once there. The truth is, many prospective donors leave uninspired, confused, or frustrated.
Here are 10 tips to help you improve your year-end donation pages:
The first two questions of any visitor to a web page are: Where am I? What can I do here? The most effective way to answer both is with a clear and compelling page headline.
The best headlines are succinct and to the point but also tap into the reason your donors are motivated to give in the first place. "Donate to save children's lives" typically results in more donations than just "Donate now." If the donation page in question is reachable by clicking on an email appeal, make sure the message and ask is consistent.
Once visitors have figured out what they can do on your donation page, the next question they ask themselves is, "Why should I do it?" Presenting a strong value proposition is essential to convincing more people to give.
Often images are more powerful than words when it comes to communicating how a donor's gift can help others. Featuring an image that reinforces your core message and mission, and is well-integrated with the rest of the value proposition on the page, can significantly increase giving.
Many donation pages are cluttered with navigation elements at the top, left, and bottom, plus sidebar elements. This results in a lot of distraction and provides opportunities for visitors to leave the page before making a gift. Simplify your donation pages with as little extraneous navigation as possible, so the visitor sees just one choice: giving!
You risk losing donations on your site if you ask visitors to click through multiple pages to reach a donation form or to confirm their donation with another click after submitting the form.
It's essential to display a recognized security seal on your donation page so prospective donors are confident their personal information won't be compromised.
There's a wider range of donors on your website than ever before — young, middle-aged, and older donors; first-timers and long-time members. Make sure your donation pages provide both flexibility and clarity to meet a broad range of donor preferences around giving options (one-time gifts, monthly gifts, gifts in honor of someone or something, gifts of stock) and payment preferences (credit card brands, Paypal, checking account debits).
More and more visitors will reach your donation page with smaller size digital devices such as smartphones, and small and mid-size tablets. Make sure your main donation page (clickable from your website home page) and any donation pages reachable by clicking on an email giving link are optimized for all sizes of mobile devices.
Large and colorful donate buttons at the bottom of the donation page that look clickable and feature goal-oriented language often outperform donate buttons that are small, use pale colors, and feature generic language. So, "DONATE to help the kids" is often stronger-performing language than just "DONATE."
Small font sizes and pale text (grey is surprisingly common) can make reading your donation page a real challenge. Make sure your page copy (both headline and body text) uses a dark font (preferably black) on a white background and is of sufficient size to maximize readability on wide variety of devices.
This post is inspired by an article written with Dawn Stoner that was originally published on the Donordigital Blog.
Image: SplitShire.com / CC0