Prepare for a Prosperous End-of-Year (Part 1)
Not to send you blood pressure skyrocketing, but it's only 116 days until 2013. While that gives you plenty of time to make your plans for your holiday celebrations, time is wasting for making sure your nonprofit takes advantage of this wonderful time of year for receiving donations.
The end of the year is, for many of us, a time of reassessing our lives. Part of that reassessment often involves giving donations to charities that we believe in. While some of this giving is spontaneous, much of it is the "harvest" that results from the hard work of cultivation done throughout the year by fundraisers like you and me.
Here's the first half of my list of things to take a look at now to make sure you're on your donors' radar come Dec. 31 (or the few weeks before). Watch this newsletter for more suggestions in a week.
"Stress test" your website
Is your website easy for a first-time visitor to use? Is the "Donate Now" button prominent, or does it get lost among the other competing messages? When a donor clicks the donation button, will he or she immediately get to an easy-to-complete form that makes giving simple?
I just looked at the websites of five large nonprofits, chosen randomly from the stack of mail I've received lately. The first dollar amount offered in the ask string on one site was $1,000. I know we like to encourage upgrading, but that amount seems pretty aggressive to me. Is your ask string appropriate for your donor base?
Another site had a prominent "Donate Now" button, but that took me to a page where I had to again click "Donate Now." Wasn't telling you once enough?
A third had several paragraphs of copy before I got to the donation form, and a fourth decided to hide the words "Donate Now" in the midst of a lot of other copy. Making a potential donor work too hard may not be the best strategy for getting that last-minute 2012 gift.
Pamela Barden is an independent fundraising consultant focused on direct response. You can read more of her fundraising columns here.