by Kristen DeMint, Author, The Essential Guide to End-of-Year Fundraising for Nonprofits of All Sizes
Drive your supporters to the donation form, and this form is where the rubber meets the road in terms of online fundraising. Take the time to audit it to maximize end-of-year gift completion. What’s your current form abandonment rate? Take that as the baseline and look for ways to improve on it:
- Is your form succinct? Are there any extra fields you could remove? Don’t ask for more information than you need. Keep the form super simple.
- Is the call to action clear, prominent, and compelling? Does it relate to your mission? (That is, it shouldn’t say “Donate Now” but, instead, “Your gift could [fill in the blank].”) Provide clear donation information — tell them how their money will be spent!
- Is the donation form compelling visually? Have you reinforced the language and graphics used in your appeal?
- Have you created an ask string related to your average gift and pre-checked the dollar amount of your preferred option? Have you offered options for different types of donations (a one-time donation, a recurring donation, and so on)?
- Is your complete donation process on a single form, or does it require multiple clicks?
- Is the security and safety of your donors’ information clearly indicated, and have you included a “trust logo” (like Verisign, Charity Navigator, Better Business Bureau, or the Institute of Philanthropy)?
- Is the donation experience user-friendly? Test your donation landing pages by giving two of your friends $10 and asking them to donate the money to your website. Ask them to share their donation experiences with you. How was the flow? What was confusing? Did they get frustrated at some point and not want to complete the donation? Tell them to be brutally honest.
Review your form(s) with a critical eye and then make the changes that need to be made.
At this critical time of year, don’t send people to your usual donation page. Your year-end donation page should be specific to your ask, and you should reinforce your message with both text and images (think holiday gift-giving themes).
While you’re revamping your donation page, it’s also important to think beyond it — how can you link your donation page to other actions donors can take after they make a donation? Some options for your thank you page and e-mail include the following:
- A Tell-a-Friend page (“Thanks for your donation! Will you tell your friends about your donation via e-mail/Facebook/Twitter?”)
- An online store (if applicable)
- A “why did you donate?” signup form (The information you gather can be great content for follow-up donation e-mails you send later in the campaign.)
Last but not least, one thing to consider is tracking the donations you receive, so you know what efforts the donations were coming from. This can help you with future planning. If your online donation system doesn’t have good reporting tools built-in, you may want to consider a new system.
Now, take a deep breath and download the free e-book, The Essential Guide to End-of-Year Fundraising. No matter how big or small your nonprofit, this easy-to-read book is packed with tips and advice for creating your year-end online fundraising plan, utilizing many low cost online tactics.