Add Ease to the Ask
Add Ease to the Ask
April 11, 2006
By Abny Santicola, editor, FundRaising Success Advisor
When it comes to Web site fundraising, it's important to get the basics down. First thing, says John Murphy, vice president of professional services for Kintera, is getting people to your site. Search-engine optimization -- using keywords that best describe your organization so that when potential donors conduct a search via a search engine, your site is picked up by search-engine spiders -- is a good start. "If someone's searching about your cause, it's going to bring up your Web site," Murphy says. Even more basic is including your organization's URL in any and all correspondence you send out.
Another method of getting more people to your site is a "friend ask a friend" concept where donors set up events or donation pages that drive friends and family to your site to give.
Once visitors are on your site, Murphy stresses, it's important to make it easy to give, especially by having "donate now" buttons in prominent places. In terms of the actual fundraising page, where donors input their information and donation amount, Murphy says most of his company's clients use a single page to collect all of the billing, credit card information and personal information etc., in one easy step. "It's basically a single-step type donation where people can just come to the page, fill out the information, fill out an amount and submit," he says.
Another approach is using a "shopping cart" process where donors add items to a cart and then "check out." While the shopping-cart process is more time consuming and gives donors more opportunity to bail on giving, Murphy says it has its benefits. What you gain with the shopping cart is an opportunity to gather extra information about the donor by including other questions about your newsletter or about how the donor heard about your organization.
"Sometimes through a shopping-cart experience you have more opportunity to ask those types of questions, where on a single form if you're just trying to collect a quick donation you might not be asking those same types of questions or you don't want the form to be too long," he adds.
Organizations that opt for the single-form donation page can opt to collect the information gained during the shopping-cart experience through subsequent e-mail campaigns.
The Web experience you create for visitors and donors should be about letting them know and understand what the mission of the organization is and where donations go, and making that process as smooth as possible.
"Education and understanding of where [donors] are giving [their] money and how it's helping people really drives the site, and if the site is easier to use then you're going to be having fewer people having problems and it's going to be more of a turnkey process for the people coming and giving," Murphy says.
John Murphy can be reached via http://www.kintera.com