It can be challenging to secure donations for your nonprofit, and a large part of that may be due to a lack of engagement. To make matters more difficult, the pandemic and its resulting social distancing guidelines have created a physical separation between nonprofits and their supporters. If your communications have faltered, you’ve probably noticed a drop in donor engagement and donations.
The good news is organizations are more prepared than ever to bridge that gap — so long as they have the right donation tools in their repertoire.
When a donor has a positive experience with your cause, they’re more likely to engage with you on a deeper level. This could mean higher donation amounts, recurring gifts, and a lifelong commitment to your cause. The key is to develop an open line of communication and simplify your giving process to make it as easy as possible for donors.
To achieve this level of engagement, you’ll need to update your offerings to include modern donation tools. In this article, we’ll look at four donation options that are widely adopted across the nonprofit sector, including:
- Offer custom online donation forms.
- Track your community’s giving habits.
- Encourage peer-to-peer fundraising.
- Upgrade donors with online giving data.
When you select donation options that meet your donors’ needs, you’re expressing that you care about their experience. This directly influences their engagement with your cause. Ready to learn more about optimizing your online fundraising methods? In this article we will look at 4 online donation options to boost your nonprofit’s efforts. Let’s kick things off by discussing online donation forms.
1. Offer custom online donation forms.
Your online donation form serves as the foundation of your digital fundraising strategy. As such, you should take the time to optimize it to maximize the donor experience.
First and foremost, your donation page should be easy to navigate and branded to your cause. Otherwise, the giving process will be more complicated, resulting in fewer conversions. To avoid this, look for customizable forms that easily integrate into your website and allow you to add custom fields to collect donor information.
Aside from tailoring your donation form to suit your needs, you should also be cognizant of some other factors, such as the number of fields and overall design. While Donately’s guide to optimizing donation pages dives deep into several suggestions, we’ve pulled a key few tips to keep in mind:
- Only request the information you need. By keeping things minimal, you speed up the donation process and prevent donors from changing their minds last-minute. The more fields you include, the more opportunities donors have to exit the process. So customize your form to capture only the essentials, like contact information and payment details.
- Utilize account creation. Allow your donors to create an account to make future giving even easier. Not only will donors appreciate having control, but you’ll also have access to vital donation data to improve your communications and grow engagement.
- Use attractive visuals/logos. Emphasize your brand by creating eye-catching visuals. If your donation page matches your nonprofit’s brand, you’ll instill trust because visitors will immediately recognize that the donation page is associated with your cause.
The more tailored your form is to your cause, the more likely it is that donors will contribute. By showing you care about the donation experience, you create a compelling reason for donors to care in return. This is an excellent start when creating long-term relationships with your donors.
2. Track your community’s giving habits.
To boost engagement within your community, you should continuously track your supporters’ giving habits. What trends do you notice? Having an idea of how different groups of supporters give is an excellent way to propel your fundraising strategy forward.
When researching your community’s giving habits, you should ask yourself:
- How do segmented groups of donors behave? Doubleknot’s donor segmentation guide explains that meaningful supporter segments allow you to “quantitatively analyze your donor population and find opportunities for cultivation.” For instance, do donors of a certain age give smaller or larger gifts? If someone prefers to donate around the end of the year, should you reach out with a personalized ask at that time? What donation options do they prefer using the most?
- How can I efficiently track these behaviors? Getting to know your community may seem daunting, but the right CRM tools simplifies it. Ensure your donor management tools store sufficient data. Then, analyze this information to continuously improve your fundraising strategy over time.
Further, online fundraising software that integrates with your CRM will connect all your information, so you can efficiently obtain donor data and keep everything updated. This level of organization is key, as manually updating separate systems is inefficient and leaves room for error.
Be sure to leverage the information your technology stores about your community. Doing this will ensure you’re aware of any changes in giving habits and can remain on track with your community outreach.
3. Encourage peer-to-peer fundraising.
One online fundraising method that’s quickly gained traction is peer-to-peer campaigning. It puts the power of fundraising in your supporters’ hands.
For this digital donation option, your nonprofit enlists the help of a peer-to-peer platform and creates a main campaign page. Your volunteers use that page as a template for their personal pages. Then, you call on your supporters to share their custom campaign pages with their friends and families online.
These campaigns work for several reasons. As explained by this resource, “People are much more likely to engage online if someone they trust is advocating for your cause. Even if they’re unfamiliar with your work, they can still form a personal connection thanks to the power of social proof.” Not to mention, the digital world allows you to reach a much wider range of supporters.
To kick off a peer-to-peer fundraiser, do the following:
- Set a fundraising goal. Choose a goal that’s optimistic yet attainable. You want it to be just right without being unreasonable, but you don’t want to leave money on the table either.
- Create a main campaign page. Tell your story and include key details, such as your mission and what project the campaign is funding. Remember, your volunteer fundraisers will use this as a template when personalizing their individual fundraiser pages, so ensure your brand shines through.
- Promote your fundraiser. Rely on supporters to spread the word while also using your own marketing platforms to direct traffic to your main campaign page. Be sure to share periodic updates to maintain engagement as well!
Peer-to-peer fundraising is particularly effective because it’s socially driven and convenient. So long as you ensure your cause resonates with people, supporters are more likely to get involved. Don’t underestimate the value of social sharing!
4. Upgrade donors with online giving data.
Part of successful donor engagement involves upgrading your donors. Upgrading simply means inspiring them to give a higher gift than they have in the past. There are several ways to encourage this, some more subtle than others.
Start by optimizing your fundraising software. When it records the right data, you can leverage these details to inform your fundraising strategy, as well as identify promising candidates for upgrades.
To effectively upgrade your donors, consider doing the following:
- Add a suggested gift button to your custom donation form. For example, if a donor initially plans to make a $15 gift but the lowest suggested gift option is $25, this might inspire them to upgrade their donation to $25.
- Provide the option to give a recurring gift. Recurring donations allow donors to agree on giving a set amount on a fixed timetable. If a donor opts into this program, your nonprofit will gain more over time from that donor than if they had just made a one-time gift.
- Use your CRM data to identify donors who could upgrade their gifts. For instance, if a donor has regularly given $50 to your cause, they may be a good candidate for a $100 ask. However, they would not be a good candidate for a $500 ask right now.
When designing your donation page or creating a campaign in general, these practices can help upgrade your donors and encourage further engagement. Offering multiple donation options will yield a deeper involvement, as well as show them that you care about their experience with your cause.
While nonprofits are experiencing major challenges right now, that doesn’t mean they have to sacrifice supporter engagement. Instead, let your creativity flow and evolve your digital strategies to overcome the physical distance.
Expanding your online giving offerings allows supporters to give in whichever ways best meet their needs. They’ll appreciate the ability to support a mission they care about without worrying about compromising their health. Moving forward, keep in mind that the benefits of digital donation options extend beyond the pandemic, allowing you to connect with supporters across the globe. Soon you’ll be on your way to efficiently turning a challenge into success.