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Jastine Lumbres
by Jastine Lumbres

7 Ways To Increase Online Donations

Key to success: increasing online donations.

As the internet increasingly becomes an easy facet for donations, it’s important to take advantage of this ever-growing avenue. Receiving online donations doesn't happen by luck. It happens by having the right nonprofit marketing strategy in place. Below are the 7 best ways to encourage people to direct their support towards your nonprofit.

1. First impressions are everything.

Right when a person visits the homepage of your website, there should be something grabbing their attention and directing it towards a “Donate Now” or “Click Here to Donate” button. This button must always be visible and easily accessible. Visitors to your website should never have to search or wonder where your donate now button is. Just place it on the top right. The attention grabber can be a shocking visual, an effective statistic or anything you think will show your cause and possibly pull at the heartstrings of a donor. Remember, donations happen when people gain perspective from another point of view.

2. Clean and simple donation forms.

Nobody likes for things to be too complicated, especially when it comes to a selfless act. Possible donors should be able to easily and simply fill out information in order to safely send you money. No mandatory informational videos, no extra visuals that make the form seem busy. At the same time, you don’t want the process to look unprofessional or like it was quickly made. Make the donation form look like the rest of your website, except without things like the search box, the top navigation, or the promotions of your nonprofit’s events and programs. The donation form should be the cleanest and most straightforward part of your website and have no more than 9 text fields. Follow charity:water's lead in keeping it straightforward; they even removed the additional step for the donor to confirm their email. For donation forms, less is more.

clean and simple donation form

3. Make sure your donation page is branded.

Most nonprofits worry about their website looking clean and engaging, but altogether forget the importance of their donation page. Remember, this is by far your most important asset. Your donation page should be branded with your logo shown on the top left using your organization's colors. Ultimately, a donor should not feel they have left your website or that their donation is being collected by a third party vendor where a portion of their donation will be taken too. For collecting your donations with peace of mind we suggest using GivingFuel, a free donation software service that also allows you to brand your donation page.

branded donation form

4. Have a recurring donation program with giving amounts.

According to Network for Good, recurring donors give 42% more than those who give one-time gifts. Because of this, most nonprofits try to encourage donors to go beyond a one-time donation. Branding again comes into play here, as donors are 31% more likely to give monthly if your nonprofit's page is branded as opposed to just being generic.

Give your recurring donation program a boost by having suggested giving amounts and outlining how each giving amount will help your cause; this will be more productive for your donation program instead of having donors type in an amount to give. Below we again highlight charity: water's Pipeline. They start their suggested giving amount at $35, but still offer opportunities for potential donors to start their donation at $25 or even $5. Keep in mind that $5 to $10 donors rarely cancel their donations and their easier manage and attract that a $100 per month donor. In then end, it's all about donations in volume. 

5. Have social approval.

The best thing your nonprofit can have is social approval. And we do not mean how many likes you have on Facebook or how many followers you have on Twitter. Think of it like this, when you’re going to buy a service online you search for reviews and testimonials; these are approvals. You can incorporate the same thing with your nonprofit. Instead of saying “Subscribe Now”, you can say “2,138 have pledged their email. Pledge yours”. Something that provides social proof.

A great way is to collect 50 people who have donated, or even start with 10. Have those people send you a headshot of themselves, make a collage of it and put it on your donation page to show social proof. The picture would have to be small enough for people to not recognize the person, but big enough to show that people have donated.

6. More clicks to your donation page

It may seen like common sense, but the most effective way to get people to donate is by having more people land on your donation page. This might feel like a large task but we believe that the best way to tackle it head on is with Google Grants, Google's AdWords program for nonprofits. With Google Grants, your nonprofit will receive $10,000 per month in free advertising credit from Google. This means that you will be able to pick keywords (words or sentences that people search for on Google) and have your ad appear on the top of the first page of Google to bring those users back to your website.

7. Be transparent.

Transparency is key. Take a look at Susan G. Komen. This nonprofit, which makes breast cancer its mission, does a great job of showing where each dollar goes. Their exact mission is displayed with icons and illustrates how much of an impact they have made. A high survival rate of 3 million strong gives donors certainty that their donation has been and will be put to good use. Susan G. Komen celebrates the success donations have brought to their nonprofit and there is no feeling left within the donor that their money may be going somewhere else. Their marketing strategy, focused on making the donor feel secure about their donation, is one to emulate.

Be transparent

Side note: Ever heard of Google's nonprofit program?

Did you know Google provides nonprofits with $10,000 per month in free advertising credit? This program is known as Google Grants and it's available to almost every 501c3 nonprofit organization. Learn how we can help you get the most out of the Google Grant program. Click below to get started!
There's a smarter way to do Google Grants.

Jastine Lumbres

Jastine Lumbres
Jastine is Elevate Click's first content writer. She received her BA in English from UC Riverside and Master's in English degree from Claremont Graduate University. She currently lives in Rosemead, CA with her family.

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