Creativity is Key to Attracting More Donors Via Your Web Site
Engaging your audience and getting them to act is one of the most important goals of any nonprofit organization. Though online fundraising has become extremely competitive, the advent of interactive marketing and the latest in Web site development have helped that goal become easier to attain.
It’s simply a matter of knowing how to implement the technology and maximize your fundraising efforts with the use of a few simple creative elements.
The Nature Conservancy and marketing agency Crew Creative put interactive marketing strategies to work for them when they launched the nonprofit’s large-scale reforestation campaign, Plant a Billion Trees. Creative techniques helped TNC raise more than $70,000 in the first week of launching the campaign Web site; it banked $300,000 after just six months.
A key to the Web site’s success was a compelling design, interesting content and numerous paths to actions.
Here are some useful tips when building a nonprofit fundraising Web site:
1. Structure and path: Feature multiple, clear paths to actions — “See. Learn. Act.”
Nonprofits should condense large amounts of information into easily digestible images and facts.
In TNC’s case, the site was structured so that when users arrive, they are immediately taken through two slide shows that talk about “the facts” and “the solution” before they are taken to the “act now” section.
The “act now” section offers numerous ways to act, donate and spread the word. When the user clicks on “plant a tree,” he is taken to the donation page. When he clicks on “tell a friend,” he’s taken to an e-card. When he clicks “get your widget” the social-network widget pops up in its own window. The user also can download a special fundraising widget.
Using numerous clickable images allows users to better engage with and immerse themselves in the content.
2. Information and education: Provide interesting knowledge that relates the audience to the cause.
Nonprofits should use simple but creative animation to keep the tone of a Web site fun and fresh. An interactive map was developed for the Plant a Billion Trees campaign so a visitor can explore the area and learn about the people, animals and plants that depend on the Atlantic Forest for life. The user can switch back and forth between political and geographic maps so that the area, foreign to many, becomes more relatable.
A donation counter on the homepage was applied to reflect the number of dollars raised, which keeps the audience informed and demonstrates that this is a very worthy cause to which to donate.
Coming up with a simple and clear tagline also is a big help. A tagline like TNC’s “One dollar. One tree. One planet” effectively delivers the mission and brings the cause home in a powerful yet compact way.
3. Color and creative: Use a vibrant palette rather than a darker one to move your audience to act.
People are more receptive to making a donation when they feel there is hope for a cause. Vibrant colors convey that feeling of hope and optimism.
To create that sunny feeling, Crew Creative created a bright logo based on TNC’s aesthetic and developed a site with bold colors that reflects its brand.
4. Personalization and social networking: Make your audience feel involved.
Widgets are important in generating “buzz” marketing, because users feel more involved when they can easily support the cause by linking the widgets to their social-networking pages or share them via e-mail.
For example, Crew built a widget to allow users to pick an animal or plant from the Atlantic Forest to display on their social-networking pages. There are 12 animals and plants in the widget. When clicked on, each displays information about that animal or plant. Customization is one of the “hooks” that help make widgets viral — in this case, users could pick which Atlantic Forest native they stood for in this fundraising effort.
Michelle Naden is account director and Jane Yuan is public relations manager at Los Angeles-based marketing agency Crew Creative.