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How to Drive Your Online Donors Away Quickly

Web-based fundraising is growing, growing.

Donors are getting your appeal through the mail and then are going to your website to make their donation.

Fewer people are writing checks.

The trend toward online gifts continues to increase steadily.

But nonprofit web sites and donation pages are DRIVING DONORS AWAY!

Too many nonprofits are stuck in the world of  “Web 1.0.”

Web 1.0:

  • Presents information like an informational brochure.
  • Is passive and static.
  • The language is more corporate with little emotion.
  • There’s nothing to engage the web visitor – no interaction.
  • There’s no call to action.

But what drives donors away the fastest?

A bad donation page.

Just imagine: there you are – you’ve managed to get a potential donor on your site.

The donor is actually interested in making a gift! Hurray!

Is your work done? Not at all!

Your donor clicks on your “donate now” button. And where do they land?

They land on a page that lamely announces: “Donation Page.”

Is this a compelling call to action? No.

 

Or it says “Support XXX Organization.”

What should it say instead?

Yes! I want to help feed hungry kids!

or:

Yes! I want to help my university educate young people.

We are getting our donation pages ALL WRONG!

Avoid “shopping cart abandonment.”

Do you ever go on web sites and shop but never buy?

Don’t you enjoy filling up that shopping cart, selecting just what you want? But you just hesitate when it comes time to fill in your credit card number.

Stats show that this happens 66% of the time on commercial shopping sites for businesses.

I hate to think how much it happens on nonprofit donation pages.

This is a terrific “donate now” button.

You have got to invest in your web site.

And you have got to have writing for the web. This is not an area for novices.

Writing copy for the web is exacting. It’s technical.

Its best practices are research-based and proven. And they are evolving all the time.

There’s a huge difference in what works and what doesn’t work.

Here is how you need to change your donation page so it encourages your donor to give:

  • Have a warm and fuzzy picture on your page that can open your donor’s heart.
  • Your headline should say “Yes! I want to help!” or something happy and snappy.
  • Have as FEW blocks to fill in as possible. Studies show that the more you work your donor on this page, the more likely she will give up.
  • Have very few required items for her to fill in. Don’t reject her gift because she didn’t put in her country or her title!
  • Have a very clear call to action – don’t make the donor think twice about what she needs to do. Tell her.
  • Use color.
  • Don’t give your donor too many choices: if she has to choose between 6 or 7 designations for her gift, she may give up.
  • Be welcoming and cheerful.
  • Eliminate any other distractions on the page. Remove links to anything else. Simplify the look of the page.
  • Be assuring and generate trust. Include a link to your Guidestar 990 report right on the donation page.
  • Generate even more trust with a “Your Gifts at Work” chart right there on the page.
  • Promise your donor privacy and a secure transaction.
  • Include a testimonial to clinch the deal.
There are lots more resources out on the web you can refer to. For example:

BOTTOM LINE CALL TO ACTION!

You simply must, must be all over your donation page this fall, and especially the last week of the year when online gifts spike up.

Absolutely don’t let your web folks say, “we can’t do anything about this -it’s our system constraints.”

If it takes yelling and screaming to get this fixed, then yell and scream.

I can’t think of ANYTHING more important than getting this right.

You – and your donors – and the people you help – will be glad you did!

And join our INSIDER Classes in October to learn how to raise much more money online.

The first class with Derrick Feldman, CEO of Achieve Consulting on October 10 will show you how to appeal to online donors – what they want and what they are looking for. (October 10 2pm ET)

The second class, Director of Nonprofit Services at online giant Care2, Eric Rardin will show you how to create the best possible email appeal – subject lines and donation forms. (October 17 2pm ET)

On October 24  internet guru Kerri Karvetski will show you how to build a complete email campaign for the very end of the year – themes, when to send, what to say. (October 24 2pm ET)

If you make this investment of time and energy, you can raise lots more money on the web.

Find out more or register for these classes. You can get them all for $59. And if you miss a class, you can get the audio and slides.

Join us!

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  • Valerie Lambert

    Great rant, Gail. I would add that if you add a link to Guidestar (or any link) on your donation page, make certain that it opens a new window. You don’t want to take the donor AWAY from the donation page and HOPE that they’ll hit the [BACK] button to continue making that gift!

    Valerie Lambert
    Bilou Enterprises
    http://bilou.info

  • gailperry

    Hi Valerie, for sure, that’s a terrific point. If the donor leaves your donation page, you’re sunk! Thanks!