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8 Tips to Get Your Website Ready for Year-End Fundraising

Your website is going to be center stage for your organization during the year-end fundraising season. Website analytics show a surge in visitors to nonprofit websites in December as individuals explore giving opportunities.

Some of these visitors will be your existing donors, volunteers, and fans. A large majority of the traffic to your website will be from newbies — otherwise known as prospective donors.

To help you put your best foot forward, here are eight tips to get your website ready for year-end fundraising.

computer monitor containing interlocking cogs and dials; people holding up other tools to tweak a nonprofit website1. Promote Your Year-End Fundraising Appeal at the Top of Your Home Page

We know there are lots of things that your organization is working on, but it's critical that you let your year-end fundraising appeal take center stage on your website in December. This visibility at the top of your home page, such as in a carousel slide show, will ensure that your fundraising campaign gets easily seen by visitors.

This is especially important if you're fundraising by mail and doing strong promotion on social media. Many of those donors will come to the website to make a donation. Keep it simple and make it easy for your donors.

2. Feature a Clear Headline, Value Proposition, Image, and Button

Promoting your year-end fundraising appeal on your home page means clearly displaying four key elements.

  • Create a clear and compelling headline. The best headlines are succinct and to the point but also tap into the reason your donors are motivated to give in the first place. "Donate to Save Children's Lives" typically results in more donations than just "Make a Year-End Gift."
  • Present a strong value proposition. Beyond the headline, state your case for support by presenting a strong value proposition and also showcasing what donors' dollars go towards. This is a good place to focus on a match if you have one.
  • Display a powerful image. Images are often more powerful than words when it comes to communicating how a donor's gift can help others. Featuring an image that reinforces your core message and mission, and is well-integrated with the headline and the value proposition, can significantly increase giving.
  • Make your giving button shine. Buttons should be clearly visible alongside the headline and the image. While "Donate Now" is fine button copy, consider more actionable copy such as "Match My Gift" or "Count Me In."

3. Consider Other Website Content That Strengthens Your Appeal

Year-end is a good time to showcase other content on your website that makes the case for giving, recaps your successes during the past year, focuses on donor stories, or simply inspires the visitor. Case studies, photos, and annual reports are common content assets that do the trick.

4. Check Your Website on Mobile Devices

More and more visitors will visit your website with smaller digital devices such as smartphones and small and midsize tablets. Make sure your website — and especially your home page — look good on mobile. Consult your website administrator to make any necessary adjustments.

5. Install a Fundraising Pop-Up on Your Top 20 Highest Trafficked Web Pages

It's vital to grab the attention of your website visitors during the last two weeks of the year. The pop-up lightbox is a perfect tool to get in front of website visitors and convey your year-end fundraising message, especially if you have a match. Set a cookie for your returning visitors so the lightbox only appears once every few days.

6. Create a Special Donation Page for Year-End Giving

Build a new donation page for year-end giving that incorporates your campaign headline, value proposition, image, and button. This is your chance to make it shine.

As always, make sure your donation pages are clutter-free, with minimal navigation elements at the top, left, or right. Display a recognized security seal on your donation page so donors are confident their personal information won't be compromised.

7. Offer Multiple Giving Options on Your Year-End Donation Page

Don't take it for granted that all your visitors will make a gift once they reach your donation page. The truth is, many prospective donors have limited resources. Also, there's a wider range of donors on your website than ever before — young, middle-aged, and older donors; first-timers and long-time members.

So make sure your donation pages provide both flexibility and clarity to meet a broad range of donor preferences. Giving options might include one-time gifts, monthly gifts, gifts in honor of, and gifts of stock. Payment options might include different credit card brands, PayPal, and checking account debits.

8. Clone Your Donation Pages for Better Tracking

Clone your year-end donation page so you can track giving from your home page, your email appeals, and your social media promotions. Create special web addresses such as www.yourorg.org/givenow or www.yourorg.org/match that you can use in your mail appeals or at events. All of these techniques will allow you to better measure performance.