Go On ... I Dare You
Do you have the guts? I have 10 ideas that might scare the daylights out of you. They're probably difficult, politically unpopular or against the rules of your organization. Furthermore, these ideas might not work for you. They could even be very, very bad for you. But I don't think so. These are good ideas that have worked for others who made them happen despite the difficulties. I dare you to try at least one.
1. Change 'About Us' to 'About You'
The typical "About Us" page on a nonprofit website is a waste of electrons. It's packed with committee-created, jargon-thick, we're-so-cool copy that wouldn't win donors' hearts and minds even if you could persuade them to wade through it. That's too bad. Studies tell us that many donors poke around your website before they give, even those who give offline. These are engaged, proactive, would-be donors. If they give to you, they're likely to be loyal, excellent donors. A successful "About Us" page is like a successful appeal: all about donors. You don't motivate them to give by bragging about yourself. You motivate them by showing that your mission aligns with their values and passions.
2. Make your homepage a giving page
If you'd like your website to raise funds, why hide the giving page so anyone who's thinking about giving has to hunt for it? Your "Donate Now" button is harder to find than you think. Put the form for giving up front.
3. Test something that makes everyone afraid
Fear keeps organizations from doing smart things.
- If you never raise funds by telephone because somebody's afraid of a backlash, give telemarketing a try.
- If you go silent on donors after they give because you're afraid they'll go away if you ask too soon — try asking a couple of weeks after a gift.
- If you never let donors designate your giving because you're afraid they'll bust your budget, let them give restricted gifts to the areas of their choice.
You don't have to make an irrevocable, wholesale commitment to a scary idea. Just test it in a limited, measurable situation. If it doesn't work, stop. You're off the hook. And the ideas above — they'll probably work.