Ah, New Year’s Eve: time to reflect, celebrate, and roll in the new. For non-profits, the New Year often signifies the end of one of the most lucrative donation seasons.
So NOW is the time to maximize your potential donations by creating irresistible donation pages your donors can’t miss and can’t resist. Here’s how…
1. Add Crystal Clear Donation Buttons
The WORST thing that can happen to a potential donor? Literally getting lost when they visit your website. Even if you offer great content and excellent resources, it won’t matter one bit if your donor can’t find that donate button.
Donation buttons should be prevalent on your homepage, not hiding in a corner or behind a tab. Include big, clear bells, whistles and arrows pointing donors to the right place—but not so many bells and whistles (or banners, pop-ups and confusing distractions) that your donors get distracted by something shiny, then click away from your donation page, entirely forgetting to donate.
Offer no more than four dollar amounts and a write-in: $5, $10, $15, or more, for example. Assign each amount to its impact: “Your gift of $X today will allow us to provide Y for Z.”
Avoid vague language on your donation button, such as “Friends” or “Supporters.” Polite non-profits often feel brash saying “GIVE US YOUR MONEY,” but don’t hold back.
Your best button word? DONATE. Test your site with a few fresh eyes to ensure any visitor can quickly find the donation button in a few seconds.
2. Offer Easy-Peasy Donation Methods
It may seem like a no-brainer, but be sure your donation page allows your donors to give easily and quickly. Nothing sours a charitable mood quite like wading through a page that takes forever to load, shows signs of sketchy security, or requires your donor to fill out a tedious form or go through a lengthy login process just to make a simple donation.
Don’t make your donors jump through hoops. If donations require more than two clicks, you’re going to lose your donor.
Many vendors, including Square and BluePay work with non-profits for low rates or no extra fees, allowing your organization to accept donations easily and securely. Consider offering PayPal as a familiar, secure and simple payment method. Check with your local credit union—oftentimes they’ll work with your non-profit to set up an EFT system.
Thank your donors with one clear, simple email acknowledgement. Don’t clog up their inbox or your donor might get in the habit of ignoring your future correspondence—or worse, flagging your emails as spam.
3. Tell Your Story
Your donation page should be simple. Reach into your elevator pitch bag and pull out your most poignant, shortest story that clearly sums up your mission. Help your donor quickly realize why their donation is so vital. Save your novel for your annual report.
Include strong, clear photos on your donation page to help your donor envision the population they’re backing. Choose a few powerful images so your supporters feel like the superheroes they are.
4. Craft Can’t-Miss Calls-to-Action
Always end your donation page story or request with a strong call to action. For example, “Help us today,” or “Your gift today helps us reach our goal of sponsoring XX students in 2015. Donate today.” Be sure donors understand your urgent need for their gift. Many a gift has been put off for a rainy day and forgotten. You need donors to click now.
Try including a progress meter illustrating how each donation contributes to reaching your overall goal. Crowdfunding sites such as Fundly, GoFundMe and others use this tactic, as it often pushes donors to dig deeper and give that little bit extra to help meet the target.
5. Keep Your Bottom Line in Mind
Maybe you have several important needs and you think donors may feel stronger about one aspect of your organization than another. For example, a disaster relief organization may offer the option to give to the overall fund or just to a recent mission.
Providing this option can help donors feel they have more control over where their money will be allocated.
However, for most non-profits, your entire mission is important. Many non-profits operate on a shoestring, so you don’t want to filter too much money to only support one shoe. Limit donor choices to one “special” option if you really feel it’s driving donor traffic to your site. Offer too many choices and you’re creating a nightmare for your accounting team, plus you may actually cause deficits in other areas of your organization.
Consider encouraging donors to donate to your organization as a whole, then let them know ALL of the great ways their gifts will further your mission. Helping donors focus on the big picture helps you keep an eye on your bottom line and gives you the ability to allocate funds to areas with the greatest need.
Use these smart donation strategies for your non-profit donation pages and you’ll be ringing in the New Year in a celebratory mood, knowing you’ve maximized your year-end donation potential!