Seven things non-profits need to check off their list this giving season

Checklist non-profit online giving page.png

This is it. We're clearly right around the corner from "giving season" and non-profits that haven't suited up ready to play ball are going to miss out - big time. But before you rush to start sharing your online donation page every day on social media (a big no-no, by the way), you're going to want to make sure you have these seven items checked off your list.

1. Write strategic content for your online donation page and have someone else read and proof it. 

This is the time to change the text on your online giving page. By changing it up, you offer visitors a reason to visit the page again and you help your SEO by giving Google something new! What should it include? At a minimum:

- Who you are (don't use jargon - talk like you're telling a friend what you do)
- What you need (be specific and talk about people - not equipment, buildings, etc.)
- What impact you make locally (what is different in the community because of you?)

Then, ask someone else to read it and ensure it's clear, concise, and free of grammar or spelling errors. 

2. Ask for one gift to one fund. 

This is not the time to ask for multiple gifts or give people options. Be clear in your ask and tell them exactly what you need and why you need it before December 31st. 

3. Provide clear evidence that you are a qualifying charity.

Most of your late December donors understand the tax benefit of their gift. Make it easy on them and provide evidence right on your giving page that you are a qualifying charity and that gifts to your organization are tax-deductible. It doesn't need to be the main focus of your page - including it at the bottom in a smaller font is perfectly fine. 

4. Include some social proof that your campaign is going well.

This is not the time to sound desperate or tell donors you won't make payroll without them. No one wants to give to an organization that sounds like it might not be around much longer. Include a quick testimonial on your giving page of someone who is a long-time supporter or a first-time donor. Let visitors know where you are in your campaign (include a "last updated" disclaimer) and be sure to keep this part updated throughout the giving season. 

5. Choose a secure payment processor.

If you're launching online giving for the first time, be sure to choose a secure payment processor that instills confidence in the donor. Some of my favorites are Stripe and Authorize. Net

6. Test, test, and re-test.

Even if you've used your online giving page for years, test it again. Some payment processors change what information they require or your website host may have had software updates that affect the online donation process. Ask your board members or volunteers to make a gift so that you can test the page and then gather their constructive feedback to make any needed adjustments. And yes, keep those gifts! They absolutely count toward your campaign :)

7. Start early. Giving Tuesday is November 28 -- be ready! 

Your online giving campaign should be kicking off any moment now. It gets incredibly crowded "out there" right after Thanksgiving when most non-profits starting thinking about how much money they'd like to raise before December 31. Get a head start and you'll have a major advantage. Sit down with your board and talk about goals, communication strategies, and how your online giving campaign will coordinate with other efforts. Set a realistic goal and then measure your progress each week. Watch your website analytics to see if people are getting to your page but just not giving and then make adjustments accordingly. And, of course, follow-up quickly with those who do make a gift with a personal acknowledgment. 

Bonus tip -- once you have your online giving page ready to go, be creative in how you share it. Do not just share your link on Facebook every day. You'll only hurt yourself by pushing people to unfollow your page. Share some inspiring stories about your cause that have happened throughout the year and ask if your followers want to be a part of your work, then include your link. 

Want more tips on how to promote your online giving page? Follow One Nine Design on Facebook where I'll be sharing some great ideas in November! Happy fundraising! 

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