hands on a computer

How to Prepare Your Website for the 2021 Giving Season

With nearly 30 percent of annual giving occurring in December, all nonprofit organizations should already be preparing for a successful end-of-year fundraising initiative.

Did you know that a surprising two-thirds of people don't do any research before donating to an organization? A large portion of donations, especially those given at the end of the year, are the result of word-of-mouth or previous knowledge of the organization. This importance of staying top-of-mind is one of the reasons why you should budget for marketing and web development for 2022. But fear not, it isn't too late to drive impact in 2021. Make sure your website is ready for a big end-of-year fundraising push with these key tips.

drawing of a hand pressing a donation button on a smartphone

Clearly State Your Mission

For special event donation days such as Giving Tuesday or December 31, more than 75 percent of those one-time donations are made by first-time donors. Therefore, your website should simply and clearly state who you are and what you do. Imagine that you are a potential donor. How much time do you spend on a site for an organization you are unfamiliar with? Your home page should have your mission statement or value proposition easily identified within 15 seconds of a visitor landing. Ideally, this will sit in the part of the page that you can see before you have to scroll — known as "above the fold."

Quick tip: If you want to easily summarize your value proposition to add to your homepage try this structure:

[Your organization] helps to [problem you solve] for [who you are helping] by [two or three ways you drive change].

Show the Impact of Your Organization

Effective nonprofits not only have their impact demonstrated across their website but also have at least one dedicated page where visitors can learn about all the great things their organization is doing. Potential donors want to know that their money is going to good use. Help to assure them by catering to both logic and emotion. Balance statistics and facts with real-world examples. For a food security nonprofit, for example, you might show the number of families supported and the number of meals delivered. But equally as important is showing success stories, testimonials, and images of the actual people whose lives you are helping.

Quick tip: Make sure the people you feature on your website have given you full permission to use their name, story, or image. A great way to find people willing to be featured is by posting on your social media! Try this post:

Hi, [organization name] community! We want to demonstrate our impact on the world. We are looking for a handful of people who would be willing to share how [organization name] has had a positive impact on their life. For a chance to be featured on our site, please email [contact] with your success story and, if you wish, a picture of you and [your community, family, dog, whatever makes sense for your organization]. Thank you!

Integrate Donations into Your Website

Your organization's website should be a key driver of donation conversions and lead generation. A donation integration can be as simple or as complex as you have the capacity or budget for. Implementing calls to action (CTAs), images, buttons, or text intended to drive action throughout your website draws the visitor's attention to the intended goal. The CTA can direct the user to an external link like PayPal or a donation platform.

Quick Tip: Use action-based language on your CTAs to promote engagement. You want to leverage relevance with verbs, make the offer clear, create a sense of urgency, and specify the value proposition to invoke emotion and enthusiasm.

  • Relevance: Download, subscribe, join, donate, learn more, volunteer
  • Clarity: This e-book, our network, our mission, this email list
  • Urgency: Now, today
  • Value Proposition: Get a free T-shirt, Get 50% off, Get exclusive access
  • Example: Support our mission today and get a free T-shirt

For a more impactful and streamlined approach, integrate your donation funnel directly into your website. Not sure how to get started? This blog post breaks down everything you need to turn your website into a powerful donation generator.

SEE DONOR MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS

Make Sharing Easy

Word of mouth is one of the most powerful tools in generating donations, especially around the giving season. Social media has allowed movements like Giving Tuesday to grow increasingly prosperous through hashtags, social sharing, and communal momentum. One way to ensure that your organization is a part of the conversation is to add a social media integration to your donation page. This way when someone donates they can hit "share" to post on their own feeds, reaching their audiences while feeling good about the impact they are making.

Quick Tip: Sharing your fundraiser on social media is also a great way to encourage your community to donate and share with their network. Did you know that 55 percent of people who engage with nonprofits on social media end up taking some sort of action and 59 percent of those people donate money?

Create an Ongoing Relationship

While end-of-year giving can be a great push for funds, it also serves as a powerful lead generator and a great source for procuring volunteers. As important as each donation is, even more important is the donor behind it. Once a contact is in your system, ensure that you have automated email campaigns set up to nurture that donor into a recurring donor, to stay top-of-mind for next year, and even to encourage membership or volunteerism.

Immediately upon receiving the donation, send out a thank-you email reiterating how that money is being put to good use. Then set up three-month, six-month, and nine-month emails to demonstrate the direct impact of their donation, while encouraging them to become a monthly donor.

Bonus Tip: Integrate your newsletter subscription with your donation platform so potential members, volunteers, and donors can opt in to receive your monthly newsletter to further deepen your relationship with new or recurring donors.

Intentionally designing your website to drive interaction, engagement, and donations is a key way to grow your organization and impact. This can make all the difference for an organization's sustainability and ongoing success. When was the last time you took an audit of your website or evaluated the health of your donation funnel? TechSoup Services offers website help for everything from SEO audits, to custom websites, to donation platform setup and integration — and more.

CONTACT US FOR WEBSITE SERVICES

Additional Resources

Top photo: Shutterstock