The season to give is almost upon us! I’m here with a truth bomb: the season to give is not a REASON to give. So what makes donors give at end of year?
It starts with a compelling ask. Your appeal makes them feel like they truly can make a difference. The call to action is so clear, direct, and irresistible they eagerly click on that donate button or visit your website to make their gift. Now what happens next could make (or break) your budget. A whopping 60% of potential donors land on a website to give and leave the process midway with every intention to come back later, only they don’t.
Where’d they go? What happened? It’s called donor abandonment and it could cost you dearly at end of year.
Surprising? Not really. Think about your online shopping habits. How often do you leave items in your cart only to not come back?
I know, I know. It’s hard enough to get your donor to your donation page! Why didn’t they cross the finish line? Why happened? Your donors won’t tell you this, but I will:
- Your site is almost impossible to read on a mobile device.
- The donate button you think stands out on your site? I barely noticed it.
- The photos on your donation page of people holding up big cardboard checks and smiling? They make me think fundraising is going well and you don’t need me.
- The donation page was really long and full of irrelevant questions. I got bored and started looking at adorable animal videos on Facebook. Then the kids logged on to my computer to do homework and closed all my windows. I never went back to your site to make the gift.
The truth can be painful but can also save you a TON of lost money.
Here’s 13 tips to help you win at end of year online fundraising:
- Make sure your donation form is clearly visible on your homepage with prominent branding (and not buried)
- Reduce the number of clicks it takes to go from our homepage to directly making a gift. It should be literally one click away!
- To dramatically boost attention to your end-of-year campaign use a lightbox aka website overlay (the form-based box that pops over a website with a call to action). Love them or hate them, lightboxes are used because they work. To get the best results, pick your highest quality image that’s consistent with your end-of-year theme. Make sure the “x” or “close window” option is easy to read. Use it the week or two weeks of your campaign and make sure you set it to pop up only once per day per visitor.
- If you opt to not use a lightbox you can also make your donation page your homepage the last week (or two weeks) of the year.
- Offer multiple giving channels (email, mobile, social media) all using the same consistent theme, images and branding.
- Make sure every link to your donation page works (you’d be shocked how many broken links to donation forms I find come Giving Tuesday!)
- Remove the global navigation from your donation page (you got them there, let’s keep them there!)
- Use a one-page donation form (translates better on a mobile device).
- Reduce the number of steps to confirmation (don’t ask anything you don’t have to and don’t put donors through extra work creating an account).
- Use a mobile-friendly design (67% of people read their email on their phone!)
- Offer a variety of donation amounts to choose from, prefill one and offer a recurring donation option.
- Use consistent branding through each step in the donation process on your donation forms.
- Show your donation form is secure with security certificate logos.
Ready to nail this end-of-year fundraising thing? Join Rachel for her End of Year Readiness Clinic. Rachel is revealing the unseen pitfalls in your online giving process that’s costing you lost gifts. You’ll get a step-by-step audit of the giving experience so you can repair it, just in time for a profitable end of year! You’ll also get a minicourse loaded with end-of-year fundraising tips and the chance to have Rachel rewrite your donor communication piece and give you 1:1 coaching!
Guest Author: Rachel Muir, CFFRE
Rachel has worked every side of the Rubik’s cube that is the nonprofit sector. When she was 26 Rachel Muir launched Girlstart, a nonprofit empowering girls in math, science, engineering and technology in the living room of her apartment with $500 and a credit card. Several years later she had raised over 10 million and was featured on Oprah, CNN, and the Today show. Her career spans running successful nonprofits, leading an online fundraising consulting practice and managing major gift portfolios. Today Rachel delivers keynotes, custom trainings and board retreats that transform people into confident, successful fundraisers. Learn more about Rachel at www.rachelmuir.com