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3 simple tips to increase your online donations

Online donations are the in-thing but let’s be honest. It’s rare for nonprofits to receive major donations through an online giving form on the website. They are usually smaller amounts. Generally, larger donations are hand-delivered or wired to an account directly after many conversations and one-on-one meetings. 

But in this digital era, it is possible to wire large online donations to your account. If you invested in all these digital marketing platforms like your website, social media, newsletters name it, it’s important to make sure you’re getting the most out of the invested time and money.

In this article, I’ll share some of the most effective tips on how to:

  • Move your online visitors through the funnel. 
  • Get a donor to give more than once. 
  • Turn them into a recurring donor. 

Maximizing your digital platforms

If a prospective donor heard about your cause from a friend, chances are that the first thing they’ll do is visit your website or visit your social media pages. This stage in the psychological buying process is called information search. Let’s talk about the website first. 

Professional website designers are aware of factoring in the art of taking a web visitor through a captivating journey from the home page to the donation button. So, how do they do it?  

For people to give, they must care about your cause. It’s therefore your role to establish that trust right from the home page. Take a look at this website by the International Justice Mission. I’m immediately drawn in because unlike many other organisations, they start off with a powerful impact story. 

Powerful stories increase online donations

There’s not so many steps one takes to understand what the organisation does. It doesn’t take much convincing. And that’s how it should be. 

If you run through the rest of their website, you’ll see that on every page, they maximize it by communicating clearly and precisely and asking people to either Give or Join the Fight. 

The other option is if you don’t start off with an impact story and go with a tagline and caption first, then the next section should address the problem and the solution you’re providing. When they click to read more, they should find your solutions convincing enough to compel them to stick around and explore the website. 

Make your donation appeal urgent

There are so many distractions when someone goes online. Therefore, you do not have time for lukewarm calls to action. Your online donation experience should underscore a sense of urgency. Explain why it’s important for your donors to give *now*

Introduce a sense of urgency to spur your donors into action, and then allow them to quickly complete the task with an online donation. Some good examples of these are the COVID19 Urgent Appeals. 

urgent appeals increase your online donations
Leveraging Social Media 

After the website visit, they might want to check you out on social media  just to further convince them that you’re actively pursuing your mission. 

It is your role to make sure they find something of value. They are expecting to see campaigns or impact stories or your beneficiaries. This is why you must ensure that your social media pages are well managed and consistently updated regularly with striking images and good story-telling videos to keep another way to get them hooked and care about your cause even more. 

Alternatively, if you’d like to attract people who haven’t heard of your organisation yet, you can apply the following marketing techniques.

  • PPC: Pay-per-click or Facebook Conversion ads is a paid marketing strategy that uses targeted ads on social media platforms to bring people to your website. As the name suggests, you pay each time someone gets to your website via these ads.
  • Viral Marketing for exciting and compelling campaigns. Letting people actively participate in your campaign helps it reach a much bigger audience and attracts new supporters and advocates. 

Now that the information search phase is done, assuming the information about your nonprofit was convincing enough and they have evaluated that you’re the best choice, they now move into action to donate. 

What to consider at this stage:
  • Make sure your donation page and form are easy to fill out, especially on mobile devices since 80% of users rely on their phones a lot. You want it to be easy for them to donate even on the move instead of having to fix time when they’re eventually settled. 
Simple donation forms increase your online donations
This is a 3-step form by IJM that only requests for a gift amount, billing information and preferred method of payment
  • Ensure that the payment processor you chose is convenient and easy to use. Alternatively, you can provide more than one option to allow a variety of donors to give to your cause.  
  • Make them feel secure that you have indeed received the donation by sending them a warm welcome email, thanking them for supporting your cause. 
  • It should not end there. Match the name to the face and engage them in a face to face conversation. Today, due to COVID19, there is increased active use of digital meeting apps like ZOOM and Google Meet. Arrange a quick 15 meet and greet. Trust me, it’s so much better than weekly emails. 

Getting the donor to give more than once

If you’ve engaged with them as explained above, you’re probably getting a second donation (the golden donation) which increases the chances of a donor giving more in the future. Donor retention is key to effective fundraising because it’s easier to increase their donation amount over time as you build deeper relationships with them. 

Here are some of the topics you can cover with the first time donor. 

  • Tell them about your organisation
  • Ask them if they have a program in particular they are interested in
  • Tell them on different ways they can get engaged right away and impact they’ll be creating

The Newsletter

Add them to your newsletter subscriber audience and keep them updated in the activities they are interested in. Make sure each email you send has the purpose of them visiting the website and contribute to your nonprofit. 

Don’t forget to:

  • Say your Thank Yous. 
  • Send them update reports on how the money was used. Here, you can use impact videos as opposed to the traditional reports. 

Each donor is different and has varying interests in how they want to support. That’s why segmenting them into groups is important because it allows for  personalized messaging and go-to email templates. 

Turning them into recurring donors

Just like anything else in life, good things take time. Relationships with donors too take time to grow into intimate and easy-going ones. 

It’s advisable to first study their donation patterns before bombarding them with a recurring donation program. If you notice they keep coming back, then you can interest them in joining your monthly givers community. 

Take-away points:

  • Good things take time
  • Repeatedly post consistent and clear messages across all your platforms 
  • Do not be discouraged when the online donations take long to pick up. With these tips, they’ll inevitably increase in due time. 

Tess Hazel

Tess Hazel is the copywriter at era92 Creative. She loves to read novels and runs a personal blog about poetry and creative nonfiction short stories.

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+1(213) 674-9869

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+44 7956 989809‬

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+256 784 239 786‬

USA Office

9385 12th Ave Sw seattle, wa 98106
+1(213) 674-9869

UK Office

12 Mill Square Portstewart BT55 7TB Northern Ireland
+44 7956 989809‬

Uganda Office

Lungujja, Kampala along Kalema Road
+256 784 239 786‬


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