The Art of Increasing Online Donations for Nonprofits

Kristen Gramigna is a guest contributor for Nonprofit Hub and the Chief Marketing Officer for BluePay, offering non-profit credit card processing solutions. She brings more than 15 years of experience in the bankcard industry in direct sales, sales management, and marketing to the company and also serves on its Board of Directors.

Anyone involved in nonprofit organizations or running fundraisers knows that getting donations is not always easy. Many professional fundraising groups have found new patrons by accepting online donations in addition to the traditional methods of receiving money.

There are many benefits to utilizing online donation options. It is quick and easy for potential donors to log in online and give, and they can sign up to pledge recurring gifts with a simple click of their mouse. In fact, many nonprofits have found that donations from all contributors have increased substantially with the addition of online giving.

However, gaining these levels of funding is not as simple as putting up a website and waiting for the money to come to you. If you really want to succeed with online donations, you need to work to make your site useful, attractive and informative.

How to Accept Online Donations

In order to begin accepting donations on your website, you need to select a tool or platform. Look for a platform that is easy to install and use, accepts recurring donations and provides space for donor info. These options will help you increase your revenue by allowing you to track information about your donors, encouraging them to return and donate again while making the process quick and easy.

How to Improve Your Site Design

Just because you make it possible for people to give online doesn’t mean your website will attract all the donations you want for your nonprofit. Once you have your basic donation platform in place, you can increase giving by improving your overall site design.

Some of the reasons that potential donors decide not to give online are related to the website’s design elements. Having a cluttered page, unclear copywriting and a confusing process are all reasons that people frequently choose not to donate on nonprofit sites.

You don’t want to have a donation website that makes it nearly impossible for people or groups to actually give money. Many failed donation sites used too many banners, confusing headlines and muddled color schemes, all of which make it difficult for potential givers to even find the donation button. Keep your site crisp and clean with a limited color scheme, easy-to-read fonts and clear directions that point to where potential patrons should click to give their donations.

Take the time to run site tests, using volunteers who have no involvement in your organization to determine the overall usability of your site. Give them very little guidance as they navigate your pages, and let them decide whether or not you have provided enough evidence and encouragement that they would donate to your cause. Be sure to use the results of your tests to make changes and improve your website before you begin seeking actual donations.

How to Give Donors What They Want

In addition to streamlining your website and making it easy for potential donors to navigate and provide their donations, you will attract the most money by showing potential donors what they want to see. Most people who give money to nonprofit groups and fundraisers do so because they have a clear understanding and appreciation for what the nonprofit has set out to accomplish. You must make the mission, goals and objectives of your organization clear on your site. Donors want to know your organization’s ideals, values and mission, to determine whether they agree and can support your cause. Make this some of the easiest information to find on your website.

Potential donors are also concerned about how you will use their funds once you’ve received them. You should detail a specific plan for how the contributions will be distributed or used, preferably with evidence of past projects that will give your potential donors a clear picture of what you hope to accomplish. People like to see where their money is going, and the more evidence you can provide about the difference your nonprofit is making, the more donations you will receive.

How to Create a Good Campaign

Your best chance of increasing your online donation presence is by combining all these suggestions into one solid campaign. Begin with a short, simple statement of your nonprofit’s vision or goals, and make this the cornerstone of your website. Create and test your site for usability, making it simple and easy to give donations. Make it clear how your nonprofit will be using the donations to make a difference in your community and the world. You will see the most success stemming from being forthright and specific in your campaign.

The Art of Increasing Online Donations for Nonprofits

Kristen Gramigna

Kristen Gramigna is Chief Marketing Officer for BluePay, offering non-profit credit card processing solutions. She brings more than 15 years of experience in the bankcard industry in direct sales, sales management, and marketing to the company and also serves on its Board of Directors.

March 6, 2014

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