Fundraising is the lifeblood of most non-profits, charities, and foundations. Aside from a select few that operate solely on the dividends of a sizeable endowment, most NFPs cannot continue executing their mission without significant donor contributions.
Historically, many organizations have tended to rely on live, in-person events as a significant portion of their fundraising efforts. But in 2020, most of these events were canceled or forced to change into virtual events thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Importance of Online Giving During a Pandemic
Because of the strict limitations on in-person events, non-profits are relying more than ever on their digital outreach efforts to bring in donations. For most organizations, these funnel in through an online giving website or portal.
Having an online giving website that functions well was already crucial. One recent report showed that back in 2018, 55% of global Millennial and Gen X donors prefer online donation to other forms. The numbers barely dip for Baby Boomers, among whom 54% prefer online giving to other formats.
Perhaps online giving hasn’t been all that important to your charity or non-profit in previous years. Or you may feel like you’ve invested plenty in your online efforts but aren’t seeing the conversions you’re hoping for. Whatever your situation, now is the time to shore up your online giving website. Below we’ll share several strategies for increasing conversions on your online giving website.
1. Implement an Online Donations Option
If your organization or foundation already offers online giving, feel free to skip this point. If not, we can’t overemphasize the importance of taking the time to set up online giving. See those stats about preferred giving methods above? Remember that those were pre-pandemic numbers. What was preference in 2018 has become necessity now.
What happens if you don’t set up online giving? Will people who are inspired by your mission still find a way to donate? Some of them surely will. But you’d be intentionally limiting yourself to donations from the most dedicated, most passionate of your donors (plus those with a recurring bank draft or ACH donations already on file).
If donations are the lifeblood of your budget, don’t limit your donor pool. Implement an online donation tool on your website, and then continue to the points below.
2. Don’t Build It Yourself
For all but the absolute largest non-profit organizations, it makes no sense to build your own custom online giving mechanism. (In fact, it might not even make sense for the biggest NFPs.) There are a dozen or more tools or services that will handle the back end of your online giving. But choose your online giving platform carefully, many have costs associated with their use or can be complicated to implement.
Gigit, on the other hand, provides a comprehensive suite of donor management, volunteer management, event management, fundraising, and online donate button features and functionality for free, including a payment processing platform that integrates easily with your existing website.
3. Increase Online Giving Visibility on Your Site
This is a simple point, but it’s one that many non-profits miss. When you navigate to your main web page, is online giving visible? Or is it buried down at the bottom or in three layers of submenus?
Don’t assume that all prospective donors are especially tech-savvy or interested in searching the darkest corners of your website. Place a “Donate Now” button in a prominent location on your main landing page for maximum visibility – and consider adding a “Donate Now” call to action on every page of your website.
4. Reduce Friction in the Donation Process
Another highly strategic way to increase conversion on your online giving website is to reduce friction in the donation process. Making the donate function highly visible is a great first step, but it’s not the only one.
To get an idea of what we mean, try this exercise:
Open a browser you don’t usually use (or an incognito/private tab in your main browser) and navigate to your main page. Make sure you’re not logged in to the site in any way.
Find the “Donate now” button or menu option and click it.
Donate $1 to your organization.
Along the way, count the number of clicks and the number of fields you have to fill in.
The point here is to experience what it’s like to be a first-time online donor. Was the process smooth and simple, or was it frustratingly complex?
While you’re at it, go through the same exercise as a returning donor. Is donating much simpler the second time, or is it still more complicated than you’d prefer?
Every step, click, and fillable field creates friction in the donation process. Again, an unpleasant process won’t deter your most loyal donors. But it could very well discourage a “casual clicker” – someone who was moved by your social ad and decided somewhat spontaneously to donate. If that person lands on a complex page that’s hard to navigate, they might just give up.
If your existing donation process has more friction in it than you’d like, it could be time for a new tool. Gigit’s payment processing and online giving tools are worth a look. With an engaging user experience and simple intuitive steps, they reduce friction to donating considerably compared to most current solution.
5. Ask and Ask Often
Don’t be shy about your needs. 2020 has been a brutal year, especially on the NFP sector, with rates of giving down as much as 60% as reported by The Globe & Mail. During this critical time, you can’t assume that your existing donor base knows what you need. Create highly targeted communications that clearly lay out the needs you have, and make sure to tie these needs to your core mission.
With Gigit’s donation management functionality, tracking donations and your donors against specific need campaigns couldn’t be simpler.
6. Keep Pushing Social for Community Engagement
Just like you can’t assume that your current donors understand your needs, you shouldn’t assume that your current donor base is large enough. All non-profits should harness the power of social media for the purposes of community engagement. Your committed volunteers and donors can be some of your greatest tools for the recruitment of new volunteers and donors, but they need some help to do so.
Make this process easier for them by creating highly engaging, shareable content and distributing it across your social media channels. Online fundraising and virtual fundraising can have a compounded effect in this way. Not only can you reach your existing donor base, but you can also reach some of their contacts when your donors share your virtual fundraising event within their networks.
You can share your peer-to-peer and other virtual fundraising events right from Gigit – making it easy to spread the word on social media, in emails, and through custom event handles.
And, here too, don’t be afraid to ask your network to share these events with theirs.
Gigit Ties It All Together
Today’s non-profit organizations need many different digital tools and functions to operate. Gigit is the first totally free platform that brings all these functions together into one easy-to-use experience. We’ve noted throughout some of the ways that Gigit can help you improve your online giving conversions, but the real synergy is in having a single platform to replace a bunch of disparate systems.
Are you ready to see what Gigit can do for your organization? Schedule a demo today!