Many charities and not-for-profits will design their websites to accept donations, but unfortunately some of these websites will fail to follow through when a donor tries to do so. If potential donors are not rewarded with motivational feedback, they may lose interest. To maintain focus, the website should therefore be kept simple, with good information and an uncluttered donor process.
A few guidelines to help secure donations:
Be clear about your objectives
It is crucial that your website is engaging to potential donors, so that they will feel compelled to give there and then. Good content is crucial on a charity’s website. Information that is poorly presented or uninteresting will do very little to encourage giving. Make sure that you are clearly demonstrating your charity’s purpose, and the tangible benefits that donated funds will be put towards.
Show what the donations are used for
Donors want to know what the charity’s objectives are, and how their money will help. The charity’s website is therefore a great place to display facts and figures about previous projects and past successes. Transparency helps to build credibility, and enhances donor relationships. It’s well worth learning from the example of websites that present half-baked figures and fail to convince donors.
Seek independent opinion
Independent commendations can make a huge difference to any organisation, whether a commercial business or a charity. People that are wary of organisational credibility will likely look out for:
- Watchdog ratings
- Name recognition
- Number of years in business
- High profile endorsements
- Personal recommendations
Make donation links prominent
It might seem a small point to raise, but the placement of donation links on a website can make a huge difference to donor response. Potential donors that can’t find a way to give on your website may give up completely. Use clear and simple phrases like ‘DONATE’ and ‘DONATE NOW’ on your donation links, and make the links prominent. If someone is willing to donate, don’t make it hard for them to find where to go.
Focus on your user experience
To make your website user-friendly, create a user journey that leads to a donation. Examine every aspect of this journey: How long does it take? Are there any parts that could be shortened or removed?
Find good examples, and imitate them
It is often helpful for charitable organisations to look at eCommerce websites. Identifying relevant parallels and applying them effectively can help charities to be much more successful. The transaction may be very different, but the fact remains that more purchases are made online than donations, and therefore this experience will influence what your donor expects when they donate through your website.
Online donations are the lifeblood of many charities, accounting for a significant percentage of their income. Keep the above points in mind, and keep your donor motivated with a content-based and user friendly website.