How can charities take supporters on a seamless journey through their website that will ultimately end in a donation to the cause? These 10 top tips will set you on the right path
By Sahar Dolev-Blitental
Today’s digital arena offers both great innovative opportunities and major obstacles for charities who take part in digital fundraising. In a world of multiple devices, second and third screens, mobile apps and digital wallets, it is becoming increasingly difficult to reach and engage your donors in an effective way.
Your website and other digital platforms can be fantastic tools for fundraising, if they are optimised with this end in mind. To do so you must think first and foremost of your donation funnel – the journey your user will take on your website or app which should ultimately lead to them making a donation to your cause.
If you are fundraising on your website, here are the things you should be keeping in mind:
1. Understand your user audience by analysing existing data and developing ‘user personas’ (this is a UX research method based on gathering and analysing data to create a personification of your donor market segments.
2. Emphasise your fundraising call to action (CTA). Your CTA should stand out to your donor audience like a lighthouse guiding them home. Choose a prominent position for it (such as your website header or main navigation) and make sure it is easily accessible from every page on your site. Remember, users might not always be accessing the site from your homepage, and you want to make your donation page easy to reach for all users.
3. Keep your message simple and personal. Once focused on a specific group of potential donors, it’s so much easier to decide which message has the most potential to engage them. But remember to keep it simple and personal. Simple messages work best. Users spend an average of 15 seconds on your website (according to a study conducted by Tony Haile of Chartbeat), so if you want to capture their attention, you’d better do it fast. Also, show your potential donor how your cause relates to them, and why they should donate their funds to you and not anyone else.
4. Show your donors what the funds will be used for. Donors want to know they have made an impact; they want to feel that their donation will make a difference. Explain what the donation will be used for (for example, sending shoes to children in Africa, providing clean drinking water for a certain village, helping underprivileged young mothers buy supplies for their babies etc). Make it specific and tangible – that way you can encourage people to donate more.
5. Keep suggested donations realistic (but not too low). This refers to a suggested amount that is automatically displayed on your donation page and is the ‘default’ amount to be donated. The actual amount will vary greatly depending on the charity, cause, and especially your donor segment. This amount will serve as a psychological anchor and you will find that most actual donations will circle closely around this suggested amount. The optimal figure will differ greatly depending on your cause and your potential donors, but the user persona exercise should help clarify the right amount to use. If you discover you have different donor segments or are unsure, you can offer more than one option, but it is best to keep it simple and concise.
6. Thank your donors to show appreciation and encourage recurring donations. Your donors are taking the time and effort to help your organisation, this deserves a kind word! Make it easy for them to donate and find a way to show your appreciation (a personalised message or thank you email for example). Consider creating simple options for automatically recurring monthly or yearly donations, whose renewal doesn’t require any effort on the part of the user.
7. Page loading speed. A one-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions (According to an article by KissMetrics). Make sure to test and optimise your page speed, and make revisions to your website if necessary.
8. Keep the number of clicks to and fields within the donation form to a minimum. Saving your users time and effort will result in better conversions. Following the same logic, removing access pages will make it simple for your users to reach your donation form and reduce friction. Ask only for the fields you absolutely need, and make sure not to ask for the same field twice if your form has more than one step.
9. Reduce cognitive overload. If your website is too cluttered or features too many calls to action, your users might overlook the one most important to your charity. Eliminate access information and feature only the most important content, especially on your homepage.
10. Make sure to have a responsive (mobile-friendly) website. With mobile search overtaking desktop in May last year, it is more important than ever to make sure that your website is adapted to different devices, thus allowing potential donors to donate on their preferred device.
Keep on top of technological changes, and react to them, and you will quickly be on your way to ongoing optimisation of your digital fundraising. Read more about optimising digital donation funnels and see some examples of charities that got it right.
Sahar Dolev-Blitental is marketing executive at Pedalo Web Design. Pedalo is a full service web design and development agency, catering to charities and not-for-profit organisations for over 15 years. @pedalowebdesign