Mon, June 08 2015
This weekend some friends were passing through town on their way home from vacation and we had plans meet for dinner. A few hours before they were to arrive, we agreed it might be easier for them to stop by my home first, and then we’d decide where to grab a bite to eat.
One problem: my place wasn’t exactly “guest ready.” Yikes. Of course, my friends would never judge me for a little dust or some unkempt stacks of mail, but when it comes to your nonprofit’s website, your donors or a new visitor just learning about your work might feel differently.
Whether they give online or off, supporters will look at your website to understand more about your work, how their gift will make a difference, and they will form opinions about what they find there. So, it’s in your best interest—and of those you serve—to make the most of your website and ensure that it’s creating the right environment to inspire giving. Are you putting out a welcome mat that invites visitors in, or are you presenting a hot mess that will turn them away?
Here are a few key pages on your website to spruce up (then, join my free webinar tomorrow for more help!):
Your Home Page: Home pages are notoriously tricky, but most people researching your nonprofit will hit this “front door” to your organization. You need to have a clear statement about what you do, why it matters, and how they can get involved. Don’t forget a big, bold donate button!
The Why Give? Page: Ideally any “donate” link or button will go directly to your online giving page, but you should still have a “Why Give?” page on your site that outlines where the money goes, what the impact of a gift will be, and any endorsements or ratings you may have. Donors on the fence will use this information to decide to give, or to move on.
About Us Page: People give to people, and most people want to know who’s behind the good work you do. Share information about your organization, yes, but go beyond a dry mission statement and let potential donors into the passion and personality of your staff, volunteers, and board.
Information About Your Programs and Impact: Donors want to know that their gift matters. Give them the information about your programs, the impact you offer, and stories that bring these stats to life. Include rich details about your beneficiaries when you can, and offer testimonials from other donors to illustrate that others are supporting your work.
Your Online Giving Experience: I’ve saved the best for last, because if you’ve done everything else right and still haven’t nailed your online donation page, you’re losing donors. Period. Your online donation page should reflect the emotional message you’re trying to send to your donors, and make it incredibly fast and easy to give to you without putting up roadblocks.
Need some help with your organization’s website? I’m here to help you clean it up and get it ready for visitors. Join me tomorrow for a free Speed Consulting Webinar. I’ll share some tips for optimizing your online presence for fundraising, and I’ll even review sites from selected attendees! Register now to save your seat and submit your site for consideration. (Can’t attend? Go ahead and sign up, and we’ll send you the slides and recording.)
Wed, February 25 2015
What good is a monthly giving program if no one can learn more about how it will help further your mission? This week’s Recurring Giving Challenge lesson is all about highlighting your monthly giving program on your website. For the full lesson, sign up for the Challenge (and learn how you can win your share of $10K in prizes!). Here are a few highlights from a few stellar Network for Good clients (click on the images to see the full pages):
On Your Donation Page
The folks at Urban Tilth, a community agriculture group that supports a more sustainable, healthy, and just local food system in Northern California, has a strong monthly giving program, which they feature on a dedicated recurring giving page. This donation page speaks to why monthly gifts are important to their mission and streamlines giving options to reinforce the purpose of this campaign.
Bonus: Urban Tilth also has a nice call out for their monthly giving program and why it matters on their “Ways to Give” page.
If you’re focused on getting new monthly donors, send your supporters to a dedicated page just for monthly giving, like this one from Peace Over Violence. Sustainers can clearly see their recurring gift options and opt to receive a special gift, all on one page.
Tri-County Partners Habitat for Humanity does a great job of featuring their focus on monthly giving on their website and their donation page. This organization frames the impact of monthly gifts and offers suggested donation amounts to make it easy for donors to set up a monthly gift that is meaningful.
On Your Blog
Wildlife SOS won the Recurring Gift category during Network for Good’s #GivingTuesday campaign. It’s easy to see why when they so eloquently share how their mission is powered by sustaining gifts.
On Your “Why Give/How to Give” Pages
What could be better than helping adorable cats and dogs? Helping them every month, of course. Austin Pets Alive! dedicates this page to their Constant Companion Club and clearly outlines what each giving level can do.
Finally, Blue Ridge Area Food Bank makes a great case for donors to join their Supper Club. This Virginia food bank shares both the benefits to the mission as well as the benefits to the donors on their monthly giving page.
Great work by all of these organizations! How are you featuring monthly giving on your website and donation pages? Share your ideas in the comments below, and don’t miss out on the Recurring Giving Challenge!
Mon, January 26 2015
I’m excited to announce that we’ve just published our most comprehensive resource featuring all of our best practices and helpful tips for building successful online donation pages. The Ultimate Donation Page Guide is 27 pages of helpful tips and best practices that guide you through the process of building a fantastic online donation page (or refining an existing page) that gets donors to give, give big, and give again.
You can use this guide as a helpful resource throughout the year, or, if you’re motivated to overhaul your online giving process right now, you can use it as a step-by-step guide to thoroughly navigate every detail that will help your online donation page perform better.
Here’s an excerpt:
Constructing a Proper Donation Page
A lot goes into creating effective donation pages, but that doesn’t mean a lot should go on them!
How Clutter Steals Donations from Your Cause
All too often, nonprofits give people too many ways to leave their donation page without completing a gift, including:
- Too many fields. Online usability experts generally agree that when a form includes a lot of fields, a visitor is less likely to complete it.
- Too many links. Links or navigation elements that lead visitors away from your donation page increase the odds that a prospective donor will click away without completing it.
- Too much text. Additional text on your page requires your donor to do more work and can trigger “fine print” skepticism.
- Too many images. Photos on your donation page seem like a good idea but can confuse and distract donors, especially when the images don’t communicate why a donation matters.
- Too much complexity. More complex options on your page make potential donors less likely to complete your form.
- Too many steps. The more pages there are to complete, the more likely a donor is to abandon the process.
When it takes us more time or effort to do something, we’re less likely to do it at all. It’s just human nature! In other words, all that extra “stuff” = work.
Tip: Before adding anything to your donation page, ask yourself, “Will this make it easier for donors to give?”
This guide goes beyond just constructing a better donation page. You’ll also find:
- The secrets of donation page design
- Calls to action that get results
- Giving options that make a difference
- The brain science of online giving
- The mechanics of testing and tracking (and a step-by-step guide on how to do an a/b test)
- Optimizing special campaigns
- The wonders of a great post-donation experience
- How to get more people to your donation page
Download the guide now and let us know what you think!
Mon, August 25 2014
How many times have you checked your smartphone today?
Whether we’re texting, reading email, or catching up on our social networks, this on-the-go connectedness is becoming a part of our daily routine. And, because we value the speed and convenience of our smartphone lifeline, we expect our mobile experience to be fast and easy. Of course, it’s the same for your donors, who are becoming more likely to read your emails and research your organization via their mobile device. Think your audience isn’t on mobile? Consider this:
- 58% of American adults have a smartphone
- The average adult checks their phone over 100 times per day
- 70% of mobile searches lead to action within an hour of the search
The reality is this: whether or not they give online and whether or not they give via their mobile device, a greater number of your donors will read your emails and look at your website during this year-end fundraising season. For best results, take some simple steps to make it easier for them:
Keep your content short and sweet. Remember, online visitors skim. Streamline your website and email copy, and break up text with headings, bullets, and bold treatment. Avoid long paragraphs in favor of shorter sentences and clear calls to action.
Make it fast. Keep your page load times to around 3 seconds. For your mobile experience, replace popups and animation files—formats that many mobile devices can’t display correctly—for powerful single images or icons and buttons that make it simple to click.
Minimize data entry. Typing in a lot of information is a mobile turn off. Allow your donors to autofill information wherever possible, and let them complete their donation without requiring a registration.
As you think about how to offer your supporters a more mobile-friendly experience this year, we have even more tips for you. Network for Good and PayPal have teamed up to share the latest insights on mobile trends and how nonprofits can leverage them for more effective communication and fundraising. To find out how you can optimize your email, website, and donation page for mobile viewing (and why you should), download our new free white paper, “Your Mission is Mobile”.
Tue, August 19 2014
Way back when, when social media was newish—let’s say 2007—I used this classic baseball analogy to illustrate how social media fit into the communications universe.
- Your website is your nonprofit’s online home base, with email as pitcher (no hits without the pitcher).
- Core social media platforms (now Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram) as inside bases.
- Other social media platforms as the outfield.
Then, for many organizations, social media platforms took precedence—capturing our imaginations and anxieties, if not the impact—over more traditional online and offline marketing.
In fact, social media—or at least the dream of what social media could be—eclipsed websites and email for quite a while in terms of focus and excitement. Alas, resources were seldom part of the picture. But by now, for many of us, the role of social media has moved back to the infield, with your website sticking hard at home base.
That’s because your website remains, even after all these years, the central hub for actions—giving, registering, signing a petition, and more. Social media and, yes, even email are designed to drive people to your site to act (although mobile actions are quickly growing more common).
Here are a few reasons websites live on and remain strong. When done right, your nonprofit’s website:
- Delivers in-depth coverage of your organization’s history, work, and impact. (Multiple pages can showcase a single organization or campaign, with content that exists for the (relatively) long term vs. more ephemeral social media content.)
- Provides access to the rich, multidimensional story of your organization.
- Engages a significant yet diverse audience, which continues to grow as use of the mobile Web surges. Your website is now a see-anytime-anywhere platform.
- Generates insights into visitor behavior and campaign effectiveness via well-tested, low-cost usage analytic tools.
If you needed a reason to refocus on your organization’s website, you now have several. Your website could be your organization’s killer app!
Want some tips for making your nonprofit website even better?
Join this upcoming webinar to learn how to make strategic improvements to your website that will help you better communicate with donors and raise more. You could even get a quick review of your nonprofit’s home page or donation page from the Network for Good experts.
Free Webinar: Speed Consulting! Nonprofit Websites
Tuesday, August 26, 2014 at 1pm EDT