I have a background in nonprofit communications and I absolutely love working with organizations that are changing the community. Since working with Matcha Design I have had to the opportunity to really examine nonprofit websites and their effectiveness.
A nonprofit’s website is a powerful tool, and it can support a nonprofit’s mission and vision in a variety of ways: outreach, education, volunteer recruitment, awareness, support and more. However, I want to take a moment to speak specifically on how websites can support a non-profit’s fundraising goals.
People obviously will not give to a cause they do not care about or understand. You must tell the nonprofit’s story to get supporters on board. This can come in may forms: testimonials, pictures, blogs and my favorite, video storytelling. A great video highlighting a person who received support from the nonprofit, or a well-known community leader advocating for the cause, are both great examples. The key is to let active storytelling present the “why” behind their donation.
Designate a place on the website to recognize your individual, foundation and corporate supporters. More than likely you will need to designate a specific level of donation for website recognition ($1,000 and above, $5,000 and above, etc.) Make sure this area is always updated. If you use donor’s logos, they need to look presentable (not stretched or fuzzy). Essentially, this recognition area is a place to honor your donors and to encourage potential donors to join in! Follow-up: People want to know how their money is being used. Distributing your annual report online with dynamic stories about the past year and how monies have impacted the mission, is pivotal to keeping donors engaged. You may even want to consider releasing a bi-annual publication or multiple updates online to encourage donor involvement.
In the nonprofit world, awareness drives funding. Create a page for current news announcements and media clippings. This let’s potential supporters and volunteers know that your organization is active in the community and that their donations are going toward a cause with momentum. Including donors in a fundraiser event press release is a great way to recognize those who are passionate about the nonprofit’s cause.
You need a direct, easy to navigate, donation area that seamlessly integrates with your website. More often, if a donor clicks on a donate button and is redirected to a third party site to complete the transaction, they may feel a little uneasy. There are payment tools available that can allow your donor to stay on your site throughout the donation process. This builds a feeling confidence and trust between the organization and donor. Also, present different levels for donation and information on how they can give offline (by mail, on locations, etc.), as desired.
Track and Integrate
Keep an eye on how people interact with your website by reviewing analytics. Take note of how people are reaching your donation page and what other pages are leading them there. This will give you a temperature of what content is funneling them toward actually making a donation. Also, remember to integrate offline materials with online giving options; so donors can give on the spot through their tablet or smartphone, and you don’t miss the window of opportunity to engage a potential long term supporter.
Ultimately, your website is the foundation for your online giving and fundraising goals. It needs to be a solid tool so you can use other digital channels, including email campaigns, social media and other cross-communication methods to support your online fundraising.