Online Donations: The Secret You Need to Know
Back in 1999, the first “Donate Now” button was added to a website. Donating money online was rather radical in those days. Today, non-profit organizations rely on a steady stream of online donations as it accounts for nearly 10% of their annual revenue. Supporters are increasingly willing to give digitally and are also comfortable doing so from their mobile devices as NP Source notes that 25% of donors complete their donations on their phones.
It’s clear that donors like having options and the biggest secret to increasing your online donations is to make it as easy as possible to donate.
Donors like to show support online using different methods and by removing any barriers to making the donation, you create a convenient and easy platform to accept their monetary gifts.
The first step to making it easier to donate online is setting up a method to process payments.
Why do I need a payment processor?
A payment processor not only helps to accept donations online from various payment methods but it can help collect membership fees, allow you to sell merchandise online or even tickets for fundraising events.
It all starts with a merchant account. These are specialized bank accounts that hold credit card or debit payments. Then once verified, donor payments through your merchant account go directly into your own banking accounts. This gives you faster access to donations and control over the payment process. You can either create your own account or work with a third-party processor to accept online donations using their merchant account.
Optimizing your website for online donations
Equally important to accepting payments is providing a clear donation page on your website with a form for supporters to fill out. These forms are necessary for accepting year-round donations and need to be up front and centre on your organization’s website.
Make sure the form is readable, doesn’t contain too many fields and uses a clear and compelling CTA (like the tried and true ‘Donate Now’ button). Include an option for recurring monthly donations in the form to set yourself up for success and eliminate the need to follow up with donors regularly.
Providing an option to dedicate the donation in honor of a loved one or as a gift can also be a way to encourage supporters to give. Printable gift certificates are a simple way to honor that donation.
Ensure the form is mobile friendly to capture those who support from their phone. Organizations should look to optimize their email communications and social media posts for mobile as well.
This is another big secret to increasing online donations, communicate with your potential donors and supporters using their preferred methods of communication.
Turn the inbox into a donation box
Email campaigns are an excellent way to connect with your donors and increase donations. Determine the right cadence for communications based on your fundraising goals and create email copy that educates and inspires your subscribers to donate. Every email you send is a chance to generate donations and should include a very clear link back to your online donation page.
Capitalize on new members or supporters joining the mailing list with a carefully crafted confirmation email that establishes their commitment to your organization and the benefits they will receive while also encouraging donations with a link back to the donation page.
Social media channels have all started accepting donations for nonprofits. Donors are using social media just like we all are. This is a winning combination to increase fundraising dollars as social media helps to normalize giving and make it part of our daily lives and online conversations. Plan to advertise your fundraising campaigns on the channels your donors visit.
Capturing the attention of potential donors is proving more difficult as our lives continue to get busier. The most successful organizations will use the right outreach methods and then provide convenient methods for accepting those gifts to watch their donation revenue multiply.