Is Your Website Slamming the Door on Donors?

Image: marcolm at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: marcolm at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Online donations continue to rise as a revenue stream for many nonprofits. Many Internet-based mechanisms fall under the online giving umbrella (think Facebook, e-newsletters, etc.) but your nonprofit’s website is often the centerpiece for online donations.

Make sure you’re welcoming donors and making it EASY for them to support your mission – at the very least be sure these website pitfalls aren’t holding you back:

Your Story is MIA

The story of your impact should be easily found and available on your homepage. Use a combination of photos and other visuals, data and compelling client stories

Succinctly tell the story of the problem or challenge your nonprofit is trying to solve and your success so far. And keep your storytelling donor-centered! For example, instead of saying, “We are helping students like Tara to succeed” say, “Because of your support, we are able to help students like Tara to succeed.”

Financial Mysteries

A source of anxiety for many donors is that nonprofits will fail to use donated funds as they said they would. And when stories like this are in the news, scrutiny of nonprofits and their spending will naturally increase.

Of course, the vast majority of nonprofits are careful stewards of donor funds. And you want to use your website to provide financial transparency to your donors – to show them you are one of the “good guys.” 

You could do this with an infographic that shows the impact of a $500 investment in one of your programs. Or you could provide a link to your most recent annual report and Form 990 on your website so prospective donors can understand the bigger picture of your organization’s finances if they so desire.

Current and potential donors visit your website for 2 reasons – to learn more about your organization’s work, and to make donations. Your website must offer engaging info to those in research mode, and an easy way to take action when a website visitor feels inspired to invest. 

No Easy Way for Donors to Take Action

If potential donors can’t find a donation button on your site, they’ll have a hard time investing. Put a donation button or link on every page of your site and, for consistency’s sake, keep it in roughly the same spot on each page. 

Studies show that “Donate” or “Donate Now” are the terms most quickly and easily recognized. Once donors find a link, make sure their donation experience is as simple and streamlined as possible. Think: under 4 minutes to complete a transaction.

Stumped on practical ideas for improving your website? Borrow from others! Check out the sites of nonprofit organizations in your community that you admire. And if you need help setting up your online fundraising platform, check out this list of 12 Top Online Fundraising Platforms from Mashable.

What tips do you have for creating donor-friendly websites that help encourage online giving? Please share your ideas, successes or challenges in the Comments box below! 

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