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12 Tips For Executive Directors To Increase Online Donations


7 min read

nonprofit donations, fundraising, NPO

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For many nonprofits, the pandemic lockdowns forced the majority of their events, communication, and fundraising efforts online.

Key Takeaways

As a result, nonprofit organizations had to pivot quickly and their executive directors needed to learn technology fast in order to survive the shutdowns while continuing to serve their communities.

While most nonprofit directors and volunteers couldn't wait to return to in-person operations, one fact remains the same: online is easy, and online giving is easy for your donors. Online fundraising and virtual events are not only simpler than in-person donations and fundraising galas, but online fundraising efforts also are not geographically limited. This means that with a robust online presence, your nonprofit can reach potential donors all around the world who have the potential to feel passionate about or somehow connected to your cause.

So, to be sure your organization is making the most of its online potential, consider the following tips to help increase your online donations.

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12 Tips On How to Boost Online Donations

1. Upgrade Your NPO's Website to Accept Online Donations

If you haven't touched your website in ages, then it probably needs to be updated. Your website is worth investing in; it's the online face of your nonprofit, your mission, and your nonprofit's brand. Also, of course, the first step to increasing online donations is to make sure that your website is set up for accepting online donations.

2. Secure Your Nonprofit's Website

Although online transactions are now commonplace, your website still needs to be secure to protect your information and your donors' information from cybersecurity threats. Make sure your website is protected and display the logos of the type of security you use prominently on your website to give your potential online donors peace of mind when entering their credit card or bank account numbers into your online donation form.

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3. Design Your Website to Match Your Brand

In addition to having a secure website, it also needs to be consistent with your offline branding. This will help to further increase trust and recognition with your donors so that they are certain they're giving to the right cause. Be sure your logo is displayed prominently and keep your website's design, color scheme, voice, and messaging consistent with your nonprofit's brand elsewhere.

4. Make Sure You're Mobile

Currently, 60.66% of website traffic occurs on mobile phones, and the remaining 30.34% comes from desktop computers, laptops, and tablets [1]. So, suppose your website isn't dynamic and mobile friendly. In that case, you could miss out on the vast majority of internet users and traffic that simply won't visit your website because it's difficult to read on a smartphone's browser.

5. Display Your Watchdog Organization Certificates

If your organization has been evaluated by any charity watchdog organizations, such as GuideStar or Charity Navigator, then you should be displaying these accreditations on your website. These seals of approval help to increase the trust that your constituents (including potential donors) have in your organization and the way in which you will use their donated money.

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6. Concentrate on Content

Content has become essential to any commercial (for-profit or not-for-profit) online presence, and we don't just mean the content written on your home and about us pages. Content includes videos, infographics, pictures, blog posts, articles, event calendars, and social media streams. Content should be used to engage and connect with your community, your constituents, your volunteers, and your donors. It should be a way to not only educate your audience about your mission and impact but also to build relationships with donors.

Read More: Top 10 Tips for New Executive Directors

7. Communicate Online With Donors

Another way to encourage online donations is to stay in touch electronically with your donor base. You can do this in two ways: through email and through social media. Whenever you send an email message or post on social, be sure to make it personal and remember to include a direct link to your donation landing page.

8. Increase Transparency With an Infographic of Your Annual Report

In addition to displaying your nonprofit's seals of approval or certifications from nonprofit watchdog organizations, you can increase trust in your organization and the likelihood that a person will feel comfortable donating online by publishing your annual reports.

Instead of simply posting a PDF of your tax document, translate the information contained within into an attractive and easy-to-digest infographic. Break down your donation dollars into percentages that show how each dollar is used and describe how many people a certain level of donation can help.

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9. Ask Donors to Help Fundraising Efforts by Sharing With Their Friends

The beauty of online communications and donations is that their reach is limitless. You're not constrained by geographical boundaries, distance, exchange rates, or postage costs. Anyone anywhere can support your mission if they choose. So, to help increase your reach, be sure to encourage your donors to share your information and social media posts with their online friends and followers. Make it easy for them to share when they've donated on your page using a simple "share on social" button that can be embedded right into your donation page.

10. Encourage Recurring Donations

The best way to increase any donation (online, mail-in, or in-person) is to encourage your donors to sign up for recurring donations. Instead of giving one, large lump sum, they can choose any amount to give regularly each month. This strengthens your recurring revenue and can make a big difference in terms of the total amount donated.

Read More: Why Your Nonprofit Needs a Sustainer Program (And How To Get Started)

 We typically recommend asking donors to drop a zero and then donate that amount each month. This then increases donations by 20%. For example, instead of donating $1,000 once, your donor would give $100 each month resulting in a total of $1,200 for the year.

11. Use Giving Levels

You can include giving levels in your online donation form to help donors decide how much they want to donate. It's often helpful to include information about how certain dollar amounts help your organization and the community with concrete examples. For example, you could say that $1,000 helps you house a family for a month or $25 provides school supplies for one child.

12. Giving Needs to Be Easy

This final tip this should, perhaps, go without saying – the purpose of online donations, after all, is that it's easy – but it is imperative that donating online is simple. The fewer steps, clicks, and barriers required to reach a donation page, the better.

Put your donation form on your landing page and include it in a header on each page. Make sure links are easy to locate on your social media profiles and posts. Plus, only gather the information in the donation form that you truly need. Accept all forms of online payment including credit cards and PayPal.

Track Online Donation Sources and Get Fancy With A/B Testing

The beauty of online donations is the true ability to track the journeys of your donors. You can use special tracking URLs to determine which links bring your donors to your website's fundraising page. For example, one URL will show that an online Google ad brought a donor while another will show that your donor came to your page from a certain social media post or platform.

With this type of tracking in place, you can test various donation channels, marketing campaigns, designs, and images against one another to focus on the strategies that work best while continuously strengthening your online donation stream.

In addition to tracking your campaign efforts, don't lose sight of the financial impact. It starts with having a powerful back-office that's capable of automating your nonprofit's back-office financials. As a result, you'll be able to streamline operations, identify and hone in on your most impactful programs, and inspire the kind of donations that can propel your nonprofit to the next level.  


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[1] https://techjury.net/blog/mobile-vs-desktop-usage/#gref

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