Raising money is both the most important and most difficult objective for nonprofits to fulfill. Luckily, as organizations grow their digital profiles, they also grow their opportunities for fundraising. We pulled together some easy ways you can give your donation efforts a big boost.
1. Use strong calls to action.
Your “donate” messaging is the single most important factor when it comes to getting potential donors to support your nonprofit’s campaign. Say it loud and proud! Here are some ideas for making fundraising front and center.
- Use an eye-catching button: A prominently placed, brightly colored button urging potential donors to open their wallets should be the first thing they see when they come to your site. Use it in more than one place throughout your website, like the top navigation, footer, and within feature boxes on every page. Mercy Home for Boys and Girls has a donate button in their top navigation and at the top right corner of each page, as well as at the bottom of the page with a small overlay asking visitors to take an action.
- Think beyond “donate.” Use campaign-specific messaging to create a stronger call to action than simply “donate.” Rails to Trails, in addition to their regular “donate” options, has a “Join the Community” CTA button as well as a “Support Us” navigation item that’s highlighted, drawing a visitor’s eye. It’s another call to donate, but the messaging is designed to appeal more to potential donors’ emotions.
2. Leverage social proof.
Social proof is a powerful tool for decision-making online. If a friend or family member likes an organization’s page on Facebook, you’re more likely to click than you would by simply seeing an ad promoting it. The actions and support of others carries more weight than brand messages. Here are some easy ways to leverage social proof.
- Add social sharing buttons: Make your website and campaign content easy to share on social media with AddThis Sharing Buttons. These buttons are especially useful on donation “thank you” pages. Give donors the ability to let their social media friends and followers know that they just gave to your cause – it will make those users more likely to click the link and support it as well.
- Show your stats: Quantify your social proof and use it as a selling point. Show how much money you’ve raised for a campaign and how many people have donated; display the number of followers you have on social media; or share how many visitors signed your last petition. (RED)’s donate page lists their number of followers, and how much they could raise if everyone donated $1. Also highlighted is the amount of money they’ve fundraised to date.
- Create a hashtag: Creating a hashtag for a specific campaign will help donors or supporters to stay engaged with your nonprofit organization while also spreading the word. AFS-USA, an Intercultural Exchange program, encourages the students involved with the program to use the hashtag #AFSlife on Twitter and Instagram to share their adventures and experiences while also helping to raise awareness and brand recognition.
3. Make your website mobile-friendly.
Within the past four years, mobile use has grown nearly 400%, and 80% of online searches are now done on a smartphone. This means that there’s a good chance many of your website visitors are on a cell phone or tablet. Giving them a clean, easy-to-navigate mobile experience will ensure that you don’t lose potential donors.
The nonprofit charity:water does most things right in the digital space, and their mobile site is no exception. Not only is it beautiful and pared down, the donation process is stripped down to the essentials in a simple, multi-page experience with minimal scrolling.
4. Suggest donation amounts and frequency.
For a first-time donor, it’s hard to know what amount will really make an impact. Suggesting donation amounts makes it easy for them. It’s even better if you can illustrate exactly what each giving level can pay for. Restore NYC offers concrete examples of how much services cost, different giving levels, and the opportunity to make your contribution recurring on a monthly basis.
5. Keep in touch with donors through email.
If donors give to a cause, they want to hear about how it’s doing! Keep in touch with those who have donated with news and updates about how their contributions are making a difference. And think beyond just donors when it comes to growing your subscriber list. A visitor to your website may not donate the first time they visit, but with a reminder and more information, you can convert them to a donor. Here are a few ideas for using email marketing to grow your fundraising.
- Use marketing tools to collect email addresses: With the AddThis Audience Targeting Rules, you can show a sign-up message to a visitor based on their source, behavior or interests. For example, if someone visits your donate page but doesn’t donate, you can target a message to them before they exit your website urging them to sign up for your email newsletter. If they were interested enough to click on your donate button, they probably won’t mind the occasional email.
- Create a pledge: Giving visitors a way to support your nonprofit organization without a donation is a win-win – they feel like they’re helping to support your cause; and you get the opportunity to educate them about your organization and convert them to a donor later on. Creating a petition or pledge is a great way to add new subscribers to your email list. The Earth Day Network creates timely pledges and petitions to get visitors involved and grow their network.
- Use social media integrations: Many newsletter services like MailChimp and Constant Contact offer integrations with your social media profiles. Use them! They’re a great way to capture a user sign-up while they’re on social media, instead of requiring them to visit your website.
Engaging with your website visitors will go a long way toward building relationships with them—whether they’re regular or one-time donors, or simply those who are interested in your cause. Those relationships, and the trust and passion they’re based on, are what will ultimately make your fundraising efforts a success.