A key challenge to generating increase online giving is connecting with a donor in an emotional way. Giving is often driven by emotions and connecting with a donor in a meaningful way can be difficult in a digital setting. However, there are three rules (as defined by Network for Good) that can help you increase online giving:
- Keep Donors In the Moment of Giving
- Make It Easy
- Focus on the Relationship with Your Donor
Keep Donors in the Moment of Giving
Replicating the emotional-inducing giving process of an offline appeal is a primary goal of your digital fundraising efforts. You need to create a seamless giving process that helps people feel the brand and the particular donation opportunity. The design process of your site and giving pages matters. The design and flow should help the donor feel good about the brand, provide trust and a feeling of security for the giving process.
There should be consistency between the donation landing pages and the giving pages. I worked with an organization, a subsidiary of a larger nonprofit, that hosted landing pages on their primary domain and giving pages on their parent site. The two sites were a completely different design. You want consistency across pages to reduce concern and fear for the donor.
Use visual imagery to tell the story. Most donors don’t read a landing page thoroughly, but instead, they scan it. Having the right imagery will tell a story your words cannot. You need to grab a donor in the first 10 seconds of landing on your site and the right photos and videos can accomplish that.
Make It Easy
The technology of giving should take a backseat to the experience of giving. If the donor has to notice your technology, you’ve failed in the giving process. You want to create an experience so seamless that a donor doesn’t have a moment to question the giving process. I worked with a nonprofit that had a cumbersome donation process in place. The system required 9 or 10 steps you had to go through to give: select what you want to donate to, register an account, confirm the account, confirm your shopping cart, enter your account details, enter your credit card information, confirm your credit card information, and so forth. Each step was a new page. I recommended the nonprofit move to a simple single page checkout process. The organization saw an immediate 40% increase in giving over the previous form.
Simplify, simplify, simplify. The more things for a donor to look at or complete, the less likely they are to complete the donation. Reduce the complexity of your giving page and ask for only the information necessary to complete a donation. One organization I worked with had 27 fields to fill in to complete a donation. 27! They were asking for typical contact information and payment information, but also a series of required demographic and interest fields. Don’t slow down your donor or she will abandon the donation process.
Focus on the Relationship with the Donor
Your job in the digital donation process is to create or reinforce your relationship with the donor. Your donor is the hero for your cause, make sure she feels that way in your ask. Never forget the thank you. Create a customized and heartfelt thank you page and response email. For mid-size and major donors, follow up with a thank you phone call.