Wed, January 22 2014

New report: Are nonprofits missing the mark online?

Caryn Stein's avatar

VP, Communications and Content, Network for Good

Filed under:   Fundraising essentials •

Online Fundraising Scorecard report coverThe new Online Fundraising Scorecard report from Dunham+Company and Next After points to some key areas where nonprofits may be falling short in their online campaigns. The study looked at 151 charities and rated the online giving experience in four main categories: email registration, email communication, donation experience, and gift acknowledgement. The full report is packed with interesting tidbits that should keep nonprofit fundraisers busy as they compare their own experiences to the benchmarks in this survey. Here are four tough questions that this study asks—ones that you need to answer as you evaluate the effectiveness of your online fundraising program:

Are you making it easy to sign up for your emails?
The Scorecard reports that 76% of charities made it easy to find their email sign-up form online, but 66% of those prompts offered little in the way of incentives for donors to sign up. To grow your email list and build relationships with potential supporters, make it simple for your fans to find your subscription box and sign up for updates. Be sure to frame your subscription options in a compelling way and make it clear to your readers what’s in it for them.

Would the average person want to read them in the first place?
Once they join your list, supporters expect regular, high-quality communications that fit their preferences. Follow up on your promise to your readers and offer email newsletters, updates, and alerts that have easy-to-read content and clear calls to action. Researchers found that 54% of emails from the nonprofits surveyed were not optimized for mobile, even though nearly half of email opens in 2013 were on smartphones. Even if donors could read the emails on their mobile devices, the study reported that 1 out of 3 organizations sent emails with multiple conflicting calls to action. For your emails to survive a crowded inbox, make them easy to read and easy to take action from, no matter where or how they’re being read.

Are you making it easy to give to your organization online?
Let’s make this simple: if you’re putting up roadblocks that prevent your donors from giving quickly online, you’re losing the battle. Sadly, only 16% of donation pages reviewed in the study were optimized for mobile viewing and 65% of organizations examined required 3 clicks or more to complete a donation (ack!). As donors have more and more options to give online, it’s critical that your donation process is fast, easy, and painless. (Tip: Download our donation page checklist for more ways to optimize online giving.)

Do you have an amazing post-donation experience in place?
We were glad to see that almost all (99%) of the organizations in the study thanked donors for their online gifts. However, researchers found that many nonprofits are still missing out on ways to further engage donors immediately following the donation. Just 27% of the groups in question offered donors a way to share the donation opportunity with their networks, and only 37% presented donors with more ways to take action and find out more about their impact once completing their gift. A donation confirmation is a great opportunity to keep that “helper’s high” going while the donor is feeling great about your work. Use this moment to reinforce that feeling and invite donors to become champions for your cause.

Thanks to the folks at Dunham+Company and Next After for such an insightful report and the useful tips included with the findings. At Network for Good, we are pleased to offer online fundraising tools that help nonprofits confidently answer all of the questions above.

Let us know: how do your organization’s online fundraising efforts compare to those reviewed in the study? Where could you use some help? Share your thoughts in the comments and we’ll offer suggestions and resources for your situation.

 

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