Here's how to get donors to give online

A checklist for the non-profit donation page

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It's every non-profit leader's dream. You open your email in the morning and you see it. Someone made a gift to your organization through the website. These gifts are some of the most coveted gifts in the industry because they *seem* to have come without any work at all.

However, we know that the work was done. It might have been prompted by that talk you gave in the community last week. It might have been prompted by a mailer that listed your "easy to use online giving page" or a variety of any other efforts you're out there making each day. Regardless, when a donor finally lands on the donation page, you want to make sure you are taking advantage of this unique opportunity to convert that view of your site into an actual gift in your bank account. Here's how:

1. Capture attention by placing a high-quality photo near the top of the page. The photo should evoke some emotion about your organization and have a concise caption that explains its relevance. This is not the time to use a generic stock photo. {Remember to always get permission to use photos in your marketing efforts}. 

2. Lead with impact. Your "pitch" should always begin by telling how your organization is making an impact on your service area. Never lead with what you do, but rather with why you do it.  Give concrete examples of how donor funds have made a difference and when possible, detail what level of giving made it happen. The donor who has $25 to give needs to be motivated differently than the donor who has $2,500 to invest in your cause. 

3. Build trust. More than ever, donors are leary of those seeking funds online. Be sure to link to your Charity Navigator profile or take advantage of badges offered by organizations like Guidestar. And don't assume others know your site is secure - tell them it is. 

4. Use a simple giving form. Don't ask for more information than you need. Keep your online donation form simple and just capture what you absolutely have to have to process the gift and thank the donor adequately. If you add too many fields, you'll lose them before they get it completed. 

5. Give an alternate way to support you. Some people are coming to your donation page to learn more and not actually shell out cash. This is a great place to link to volunteer opportunities or let people know about how an in-kind gift would help. Remember, if you get them engaged, you'll have more chances, later on, to ask for a monetary gift.