Ready for #GivingTuesday? Make Your Nonprofit Website Donor-Friendly NOW!

"Donate Now?" buttonGiving Tuesday is coming up December 1st, ((For those who don’t know, Giving Tuesday is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and a day that nonprofits use to raise funds after the consumerism of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and—we’re still not done—Cyber Monday.)) and year-end giving is just after that. Is your website ready?

Just last night, I attended a great SeaTech4Good meetup about running your #GivingTuesday campaign. The three presenters came from marketing and communication backgrounds, so they spoke about social media, emails, infographics, and more.

My interest lies more simply in making sure you follow the most basic and important best practices for getting people to donate once they’re on your site. These really are simple guidelines, yet many organizations don’t follow them!

Before You Get Started, Make Sure it Works

Have you received an online donation in a while? If not, are you sure your donation form is even working? In a perfect world, you’d test a small donation on your site at least once a month, but at least, make sure to test it going into this giving season. If you can, try two donations, one on your computer and one on your phone.

By doing this, you’ll gain the peace of mind that your form works and remind yourself of the online donation experience. If it’s not great, make changes now!

The Basics: Be Clear and Make it Easy

Last year, I wrote “Getting Users to Donate on Your Nonprofit Website.” In that post, summarizing this great article, I encouraged you to:

  1. Clearly explain what your organization does. Do this both on your home page and a good About page.
  2. Provide information about how your organization uses donations.
  3. Make sure people can easily find your donate button! Use the label “Donate” or “Donate Now” since that’s most familiar to visitors.

Keep it Relevant with Embedded Calls to Action

I love the article “The Core Model: Designing Inside Out for Better Results” from A List Apart which includes a fantastic technique for increasing online donations.

Ask your visitors for donations throughout your site on pages that potential donors visit and find most useful. When doing so, make the appeal directly related to the content on the page. Here’s the article’s explanation:

[Asking for donations] has to be done in the context of user tasks. If someone is visiting the website in a fearful state, hoping to find solid information about melanoma, do we really want to conclude their journey with a flashy “Donate!” message? Not really—that would just be rude and insensitive, and is unlikely to encourage donations anyway. However, many users do look for general information on cancer research, and in this context, we can frame it more specifically: “If you think cancer research is important, you can help us by donating.”

Once one organization incorporated these requests and removed their most prominent banner donation buttons, they saw extraordinary increases in online giving!

Next Steps: Grab the Moment

When someone makes a donation on your site, they are telling you—really screaming at you—that they are committed to your organization. Take this moment and direct them to ways to stay engaged, like email or social media while also providing a warm and, if possible, personalized thank you.

I reviewed giving online to 13 organizations in 2011 and Nonprofit Tech for Good gave to 32 organizations in 2015, but we both found that few organizations were following up and encouraging more people to engage. Use this moment to raise funds now and in the future!

Do it! (And tell me what I missed!)

You could do a lot of these things in an hour or two on your site and you may well raise extra funds to support your mission in the process. That’s worth it, right?

What else are you doing on your website to make sure people donate once they get there?

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