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Giving Tuesday and the remainder of the year-end giving season are approaching! You can benefit by improving the online donation pages that are connected to your website and your email appeals. 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.
Don't take it for granted that all your visitors will make a gift once they reach your donation page. 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 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 "Thank you for your donation." If your donation page is reachable by clicking on an email appeal, make sure the headline is consistent with the theme of the email.
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?" Make the case for giving by presenting a strong value proposition and also showcasing what their dollars go towards.
Images are often 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 is left with just one course of action: Making a gift!
Don't ask visitors to click through multiple pages to reach a donation form or to confirm their donation with another click after submitting the form. You risk losing donations.
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.
You want to enable one-time gifts, monthly gifts, gifts in honor of, and gifts of stock. You also want to support a variety of payment options (credit card brands, PayPal, and 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 and any donation pages reachable by clicking on an email giving link are optimized for all sizes of mobile devices.
Good: large and colorful donate buttons at the bottom of the donation page that look clickable and feature goal-oriented language. Not as good: 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. Check that it's of sufficient size to maximize readability on wide variety of devices.
Graphic: Wes Holing
Hello. I am new to online giving, and I am wondering if you can suggest inexpensive ways to have a donate button on your website. At present, the organization I am working with has a corporate company like TransFirst charging monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, and annual processing fees for the button. Since our button is not utilized often, we are paying more in fees than we are receiving in donations. Maybe incurring large processing fees (even when no donations are being processed) is just the price to pay for the button? But I'm thinking that, if they exist, you might know of less expensive ways to have a button and process transactions? Any advice/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
I would recommend Network for Good, which has some great tools that you can easily plug into your website. You can learn more about their donation page service here: www.networkforgood.com/.../donation-pages
Thank you for your reply. It doesn't look like our fees will be reduced that much. As a small nonprofit, maybe it is just not economical for us to have a donate button, I guess. Thank you. (Other suggestions still welcome, but not expected).
siegel- Check out Paypal. There is no annual feed and the transaction fees for nonprofits are lower than most. You can't create custom pages and don't have much control over the page, but for straightforward online donations it's a good option.
I second the recommendation for PayPal. It sounds like the perfect solution for your org. I have others noted at my blog on this very subject: coyotecommunications.com/.../onlinegiving
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