In today’s landscape, the online donation page is the lifeblood of any nonprofit’s fundraising efforts. Where they once depended on checks for almost every donation, it is now mandatory that nonprofit organizations offer the ease and simplicity of online transactions in addition to conventional methods.
These pages are all about ease of use, but they are of no use at all if people don’t know about them or can’t get to them. So, once you’ve got the page all set up and ready to go, the next crucial step is to market it to donors and non-donors alike.
To get the most eyes on your donation pages as possible make sure to include all of the following in your marketing strategy:
Some of these suggestions may seem obvious whereas others may surprise you, but incorporating them all into your online donation page marketing strategy will go a long way to getting your page seen by as many people as possible.
1. Intuitive page placement
This may not seem at first like a “marketing” strategy per se. After all, if a user is on your website, then you have already successfully marketed to them, right?
But the people who are curiously exploring your donation website, unsure if they want to donate, are the ones who you should market to the most.
That marketing starts with intuitive and accessible placement of your donation page on your larger website. The goal here is to make sure that the user can easily access your donation page from any other page on the domain. This way, they can make a donation from whatever page they happen to be on when they decide your cause is worth it.
Intuitive donation page placement starts with your home page. Many charities choose to make their home page and their donation page one and the same, or at least have a donation widget displayed prominently on their home page. This conveys to visitors that their generosity is the most important cog in your operation.
If you would rather have a cleaner, more conventional home page, including a “donate here” button at the top of each page or in a running header is another simple way to make your donation page prominent and accessible. As your visitor navigates the page and learns more about your operation, they will always know where to go to make a donation.
Finally, if your site, like most, contains a navigation menu on the left side or top of the page, it must be clear and obvious where a user would find the donation page among those options. Top website builders for nonprofits should include plenty of customization features to ensure you can easily display a “donations” or “donate here” tab.
If you have yet to build your online donation page, choose a service that integrates with your content management software to reduce bugs and other problems for potential donors.
2. Peer-to-peer fundraising
Peer-to-peer fundraising is one of the most effective ways to get your online donation page in front of as many people as possible. If you aren’t currently including P2P fundraising in your marketing strategies, the time is now to start using one of the most exciting new technologies in fundraising.
Here are the steps:
- Design a custom page. This will likely be very similar to your current online donation page, with one difference: it is optimized so that your donors can easily share it with their friends and followers.
- Give it to your donors. Users can add their own commentary, explaining their connection to your cause or making a case for why people should donate, as well as track the amount they’ve contributed to your cause through their network.
- Ask them to share. Let your donors take advantage of their personal social media networks to raise awareness and bring new donations to your cause.
Some peer-to-peer campaigns require a significant amount of planning and management and promise quite significant returns, whereas others feature easier setup and management. The great thing about this type of campaign is that it can be almost like passive fundraising—beyond the initial setup, little is need from your organization.
See this list of peer-to-peer fundraising tools from Double the Donation to add peer-to-peer to your marketing strategy and instantly gain new exposure and increase engagement from your devoted donors.
3. Online marketing
Naturally, online marketing should be the primary way in which people gain access to your online donation page. See how to implement or improve these various types of online marketing:
Social media marketing
You probably already know that social media is a huge source of new potential donors for your nonprofit.
The most important aspect of social media marketing is finding the right balance of engagement. Successful marketing requires continuous engagement, but sinking too much time into curating your social media profiles can be a temptation.
Try to focus on just two to four different platforms depending on the size of your organization, and update those profiles about once a week each. This way, you’ll keep your followers engaged without having to hire new staff or significantly alter your workflow to keep up.
An online influencer is someone who has a large number of social media followers and is able to set trends and change minds with their social media presence.
Online influencer marketing is the process by which businesses or other organizations team with an influencer to market a product, service, or cause. The influencer will include links to your cause on their social media profiles and speak about it to their followers.
Online influencer marketing is seeming viable to more and more businesses and nonprofits alike as online celebrities successfully spread awareness for various causes and products. Online influencers’ fan bases are often very devoted, which means a higher conversion rate for your nonprofit.
Give online influencer marketing a shot to improve the number of impressions your cause gets with young people. When looking for an influencer to collaborate with, look for one who shares your values and will represent them well.
Every email you send should include a link to your online donation page. You never know which message will get through to someone and inspire them to donate—that’s exactly why you’ve sent so many newsletters and solicitation messages!
Of course, you’re also sending these messages to keep donors up-to-date with the goings-on at your organization, inform them about milestones and new fundraising efforts. Make the donation page link prominent enough that every reader sees it, but not so prominent that it seems like the sole point of the email.
When choosing an online donation page platform, choose one that will integrate with mail services such as MailChimp to provide the most functionality and best user experience possible.
4. Physical mail
With all this talk of online donation pages, it is understandable to think that this part of your fundraising efforts doesn’t have to intersect with your physical mail outreach. And while it’s true that the intersection needn’t be a major one, it is important.
Basically, you want to make sure any person who receives a piece of mail from your organization knows exactly how to donate—through mail or online.
Imagine this scenario: a previous donor opens a solicitation letter and leaves it on the counter, thinking they may donate again. Their like-minded spouse happens upon it, reads it, and is interested in giving to your cause but doesn’t want to go through the hassle of mailing a check.
This is another reason it is important to make your donation page easy to locate on your website: simply include your home page URL in your solicitation letters and the reader knows exactly how to log on, find your website, and make a donation.
Making a perfect donation page
When incorporating all of these marketing strategies, don’t forget the importance of ease-of-use for your online donation page. Getting more visitors to your page is extremely important for boosting fundraising, but it will be to no avail if your online donation page doesn’t function correctly once they’re there!
Design your donation page to be easy to read, fill, and submit without errors or delays. Include all the options users may want such as recurring donations, and make it as easy as possible for them to input their information and complete the transaction. Essential features of a user-friendly online donation page include:
- Pre-set donation options. Include buttons so users can choose between a few set donation amounts, making for an even faster and easier experience.
- Mobile responsiveness. Make sure your page is as easy to use on mobile as on desktop by making it mobile responsive.
- Never crashing/going down. Choose a web service that provides good customer support so your users never encounter a 404 or other error.
When you include an appealing design and a user-friendly experience, your online donation page will see more donations than ever before!
You’ll also want a donation page platform that monitors activity and provides analysis so you can continuously improve your page. See this page on custom donation pages from Donately to learn more about some analysis and reporting features that can help your nonprofit grow.
With online donations as important as they are for nonprofit organizations, it is crucial that you market your page in a way that is efficient and effective.
The above strategies will set you on the path to doing so. Use them to ensure your online donation page is being seen by not only your devoted longtime donors, but also more and more new ones.
Andrew is the head of marketing and customer success for Donately. After getting involved with nonprofits at a young age, he discovered a passion for helping the organizations that are making the world a better place. Knowing how vital online fundraising has become, his goal is to help nonprofits raise more money online each year! In his spare time, you will find him cooking up dinner, playing with his dog or cheering on Boston sports teams.