The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

Why Social Proof Is an Important Part of Your Fundraising Website

Why Social Proof Is an Important Part of Your Fundraising Website

It’s human nature to pay attention to what other people are doing, and to be influenced by what we see. Visitors will trust your fundraising website much more, and therefore donate more, if they see that people they know trust you.

What Is Social Proof?

“Social proof” refers to information that people accept as valid because it comes from friends, family or peers. (This includes those who are perceived as peers, though another person might not recognize them that way. For example, a 59-year-old baseball fan would likely consider a 21-year old baseball expert a peer in matters related to their favorite sport, and be strongly influenced by his opinions, even though he would not ordinarily consider someone of such a different age a “peer.”)

Providing social proof is very important for online fundraising because social cues influence how your donors perceive your organization, and that will affect how generously they give.

Social Proof Builds Credibility

In the virtual world, anyone can literally publish any claim. It is when we see the social proof that we believe it. You can tell the world that you are the most trusted organization in your field, but it’s meaningless to readers. On the other hand, when someone they know personally, or respect as a professional or celebrity, endorses you, readers will immediately believe that you are indeed a trustworthy organization.

A high rating or seal from a group like Charity Navigator or GuideStar also has tremendous value for your organization because people accept it as proof that your nonprofit has been examined by experts, and is up to their standards.

Prove You Are the Winning Team with Social Proof

Donors want to feel like they are on the winning team. Showing that you are making progress, and that their peers are supporting you, helps instill that feeling. Once you have made some good progress toward your online fundraising goal, add a graphic to your nonprofit donation software that shows the degree of success you have accomplished. Thermometers are often used for this, but a project-related image could be used and shaded similarly to customize the image.

Be careful not to put it up too soon, however. Publicizing the numbers showing you have made very little progress could have the opposite of the intended effect, and make people think the project is already a failure, so donating would be a waste of money.

When you have numbers showing a good amount of money received, or that a decent number of people have contributed to your cause, then you are ready to share that information, and the social proof will inspire increased donations.

Since 2001, Network for Good has helped over 100,000 nonprofit organizations raise more than $1 billion online. To discuss how we can help you get the most out of your fundraising efforts, contact us via our website or call 1-888-284-7978 x1.

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About This Blog

Lisa Bonanno
Vice President of Digital Marketing

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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