A critical part of engaging your nonprofit supporters is following up with them after they sign up, take action or donate to your cause. And a very important part of following up with your supporters is having tailored landing pages (as in more than one—you'll see why, below).
A landing page is a web page with a "thank you" or other follow up message that your supporters are directed to after completing an activity (action, donation, etc.) on your site.
Why landing pages are important
Successful organizations create satisfied, loyal supporters by building a sense of involvement and accomplishment, i.e. making their supporters feel like their support has made something happen.
jerk truly ineffective campaign manager would send no acknowledgement to supporters, but a lot of folks just send an automated email reply and stop there. Those that go a step further and use any web function at all often just set the URL to their home page and forget about it.
But doing that robs you of opportunities to further engage interested supporters with additional activities and information, build visibility for your VIPs or mission, or even just provide a soothing, aesthetically-pleasing "thank you" message.
Ideally, you'll make a custom landing page for each activity or campaign you're offering to supporters: people who sign a petition should see a landing page thanking them for taking action and offering more information on the issue; people who donate for a special campaign should see a specific, topical thank you message; and so forth.
If you have just one "thank you" landing page, you're missing a great chance to customize the experience your supporters have and build their loyalty.
What you should have on your landing page
Remember: folks who've taken some kind of initiative on your behalf have already demonstrated their commitment, even if it's just signing up for your mailing list.
While you've got their attention, take the chance to drive your supporters up the ladder of engagement by:
- Educating them with links to more resources
- Putting a friendly face on the cold, unfeeling internet by offering "personal" thanks from your CEO, or showing pictures of the communities and people you serve
- Spreading the word with tell-a-friend or social media links
- Offering supporters additional, appropriate opportunities to take action or donate (see the "don't" list below for what we mean by appropriate)
Don’t do all these things at once, or you'll make your page too busy. Try out one or two of these ideas, see how they look, and even consider asking the opinion of a trusted supporter or two.
Additional Tips: The Inevitable "Do" and "Don't" list
Admit it, you love these lists. Behold, the True and Eternal Principles of Landing Pages:
- Do have specialized pages for each activity/campaign that drives supporters to other opportunities. Just got a new web sign up? Put a link to your latest petition on the page to drive your new supporters to your action center. Did they sign your petition? Go on, use the petition landing page to ask them to learn more about supporting you with cold hard cash, and provide a donation link. You miss all these chances by having a single, uncustomized page.
- Do use images and multimedia. Salsa documentation and blog posts always wag their finger at you about putting too many images in an email blast. Guess what? A landing page is on your website, so go hog wild! This is your big chance to show pictures of smiling children's faces, adorable baby seals, pristine forests or appetizing cruelty-free cupcakes (assuming any or all of these things actually apply to your organization's work). Got a great video? Link it from your page!
- Do show off your VIPs. This is the place to put that picture of your CEO holding a cupcake and a baby seal while standing in a pristine forest. Make it a big picture and put the words "thank you" in big letters. Corny? Surprisingly not: a big picture like this is a lot more personable than a tiny headshot and way more appropriate for the web than an email.
- Do show off your accomplishments. Show off what you've done! If you've developed a marketing or educational resource – a collection of stories, a slideshow of field work, an educational video – put it here! You don't have to drop people straight into a bandwidth-grabbing slideshow: pick a couple of really arresting photos from the set to show, then link to the slideshow.
- Do offer social media messaging opportunities. A wise fundraiser once said: "People support people, not programs." Give your supporters the chance to share their good work on social media platforms to boost your visibility and goodwill. I can tell you at least a half dozen instances where I learned about great organizations from Facebook friends (and pulled out my wallet to support them). Make it easy for your supporters and provide the necessary social media links on your landing page, or offer them a way to make tell-a-friend pages.
- Don't make the page too long. Remember, offer people a teaser image or blurb, and link to the good stuff. Don't overwhelm them. Folks shouldn't have to scroll down to see everything. Don't overload it with text and images.
- Don't ask for more money from people who just gave. Sure, put a donation link on your page for actions or sign ups. By all means, offer recent donors a chance to sign a petition or learn more about your other campaigns. But don't immediately shove a new ask in their face when they just gave you a gift. That ain't classy and it'll cost you more in goodwill than you'll earn in follow up giving.
- Don't use your very best content exclusively on the page. Use good stuff on the page, but not your best stuff. Unless you've got money and time to burn, don't worry about filming an exclusive (expensive) video just for the page. Use that to draw people in the first place, but remember that not everyone will see your landing page, even among your existing supporters. But sure, throw your CEO in front of a camera and make a quick thank you message if you feel it's appropriate and professional-looking.
- Don't let your page get stale. Make sure your landing pages don't have expired dates ("Your contribution will be a big help in the 2010 election season!"), outdated information, ancient logos, incorrect contact or staff information, or bad links. It doesn't instill a lot of confidence in your organization.