More Copy Could Equal More Donations
The words you use on your donation page are powerful. And there’s a danger in assuming your donor understands why they should give to you just because they land on your donation page. By adding copy to your page, you can articulate those reasons clearly and increase your donations.
We learned this through an experiment we conducted with the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA) a few years ago.
They were trying to grow their membership base, but were encountering problems. And when we looked at their donation page for the first time, we noticed there were several elements that were potentially holding their conversion rates back.
As you can see, their original membership page included a lot of images on the page, but it had very little copy. It displayed several options for membership without specifying the difference between levels. The copy made unsubstantiated claims and used unclear phrases like “Join the thousands” or “Create a future.” We often call this kind of copy “cheating copy,” because you can find it on any other organization’s website.
The Fundamental Question Every Donor Asks
Every person who comes to your donation page will ask, “Why should I give to you?” And it’s a valid question. If they are your ideal donors, why would they give to you rather than some other organization or not at all?
The way your donation page copy answers this fundamental value proposition question will determine the success of your fundraising. And, in this particular experiment, the original page did not have enough copy to give a strong value proposition.
Now, TSHA’s audience is composed of readers and lovers of history. So, we hypothesized that they naturally would be interested to read more about why and how to give.
We decided to test a radical redesign with long-form copy. This copy highlighted the exclusivity of being a TSHA member, giving a full explanation of why the visitor should join TSHA. It also included evidentials to back up each claim and clarified the different membership levels with quantities and distinct benefits.
We buried the donation form way down at the bottom (below all of the copy). Even though this might contradict best practice guidelines, this new design would force the visitor to read before choosing whether or not to become a member.
After creating this treatment, we ran an A/B test to see if our new page would lift conversion rates. We split the traffic coming to the membership page in half—sending 50 percent to the original page (the control) and 50 percent to the new page (the treatment).
What We Learned by Adding More Copy to the Donation Page
By adding more copy, we were able to increase the force of the value proposition and lift the conversion rate by 146.5 percent.
Increasing the force of the value proposition can radically affect donor conversion. The underlying value proposition of TSHA remained the same, but the information was presented in a way that caused more visitors to understand it, believe it and want to join.
This experiment also confirmed that TSHA members are readers, which makes sense given their love for history. As marketers, we’re often told that people don’t read on the Internet, but this experiment proves differently. This is further confirmation that best practices aren’t always the best performing. They need to be tested!
How Can You Apply This Learning to Your Own Fundraising?
Your value proposition is the most effective tool you have as a fundraiser to influence your potential donor to make a donation.
Just over a year ago we conducted a research study analyzing how 127 of the largest nonprofit organizations communicated their value proposition. And by the end of the study, we discovered that many organizations are failing to communicate it effectively and are losing donors as a result.
So today, I want to challenge you to look at your donation page and ask, “Why should someone give to my organization rather than another or maybe not at all?”
Assess your donation page through the eyes of your donor. What copy needs to be added or clarified to strengthen your value proposition? And when you have an idea, put it to the test! It could lead to a dramatic increase in your donations.
If you need help setting up your donation page test, we’ve put together a quick guide to help you get started with your first experiment.