How You Can Create A Welcoming Website – Part Three – Your Donation Page

Image by S1m0nB3rry via Flickr

How You Can Create A Welcoming Website – Part Four – Writing For The Web

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been writing about ways you can make your website welcoming and audience-centered. In this post, I’d like to go into a little more detail about your website’s donation page. According to Convio, online giving grew by almost 16% in 2011. It is likely to increase even more in 2012.

Most people will be coming to your donation page because they have been led there by your electronic or mailed fundraising appeal. They may have also been drawn there by social media. To get them there in the first place, be sure your appeal has a compelling message.
Make it simple
Now that you have a potential donor on your donation page, you want them to stay. It’s very important that you create a donation page that’s easy to use, easy to read (no clutter), and has a strong call to action, using the same messaging you have in your annual appeal (to stay consistent).
Make sure you have an easy and secure online donation form. Show how the donation will be used and what different amounts will fund. You can set up a form with different giving levels ($25, $50, 100, etc), but include an “other” field so your donors can give any amount they choose.
Not everyone is comfortable donating online; therefore you need to include your mailing address so your donor can send you a check. Include a downloadable donation form that your donors can print and mail in with their checks. 
In addition, add your phone number to the donation page in case donors want to call in with a credit card number or just ask a question. You should also include a link to other ways of giving, such as planned giving, donating in someone’s honor, or in-kind donations.
Don’t forget to say thank you
After someone has completed their online donation, they should be taken to a thank you landing page so they know that you received their donation and it didn’t end up in the netherworld. They should also receive an e-mail acknowledgement. 

Make sure your message is friendly and personal and doesn’t resemble a receipt you would get after checking out on Amazon. This does not let you off the hook from sending out a thank you letter, which you should mail no later than 48 hours after receiving the donation.
A picture says a 1000 words
Find a compelling photo that captures what your organization does, and put that on your donation page. In the few seconds it takes to view that photo, your donor should get a good understanding of your work.
Recurring gifts
One feature of some online giving platforms is recurring gifts. This is a great way for your organization to raise additional revenue by enticing donors to give larger gifts. A $200 donation might seem more feasible over the course of a year. It also allows you to receive revenue throughout the year instead of at the time you do your annual appeal.
What else to include on your donation page
You can include a link to your annual report on your donation page.  This is an easy way for your donor to look at a list of your accomplishments over the past year.  If your annual report doesn’t have a list of donors, you can put one on your website with a link on your donation page. Be sure to give people the option of not being included on your donor list.  For corporate and foundation donors, consider displaying their logos.  
You can also include links to your 990 forms and any Charity Navigator or other outside reviews you might have.
Online giving will continue to be more prevalent. Make sure your organization is keeping up with the times and has a donation page that is welcoming and donor-centered.
Online Donation Resources

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