Tips for Creating a Donor-Centric Web Site
Though still a small percentage of total individual giving, online giving has been steadily on the rise for the past nine years and has even begun to outpace online retail sales.
In the Sage webinar "Web Wise: Creating a Donor-centric Web site," Daniel Gonzalez, Web manager for Sage Nonprofit Solutions, went over tips to help nonprofits understand donor needs, set objectives for their Web sites, create donor-centric content, eliminate obstacles and distractions from the main objective of their sites, and set and track key performance indicators.
Understand donor needs
Donor-centric fundraising makes donors' needs for information the top priority. A key component of donor-centric fundraising is donor recognition. Gonzalez said donors want:
- Prompt, personal gift recognition (acknowledgment)
- Confirmation that their donations are being used as intended (information)
- Measurable, published results (accountability)
But too often, what donors say they get, Gonzalez shared, is prompt but impersonal gift recognition and general appeals with few measurable results. The reasons donors stop giving, listed here, are directly linked to their needs for acknowledgment, information and accountability:
- Feel the charity is not fulfilling its mandate
- Disagree with a change in direction the charity has taken
- Lost interest in the cause
- Believe that the charity no longer needs their support
- Feel there are more compelling causes to support
- Believe the charity has not kept in touch
What donors want from online giving is speed and convenience; year-end tax receipts to be sent electronically, as well as other updates; personal stories of people whose lives have been transformed by nonprofits; volunteer information; and summaries on recent news coverage of a charity.
But few charity Web sites make it easy to give online. Donors also report that nonprofit Web sites lack inspiration, connection and an opportunity for deeper engagement.
For nonprofits, online giving is efficient and reduces administrative costs, and it's easier to track over time.
Set site objectives
Determine your site's objective, e.g., to supply information, get donations, net subscriptions, sign up volunteers, or all of these combined.
Donor-centric sites include:
- A clear description of an organization's goals and objectives
- Information on what the organization is doing with gifts
- Visible call-to-action buttons and links
- Minimal clicks to completion of the action(s)
- Success stories and news updates
Examples of donor-centric sites shown by Gonzalez included:
- Oregon Humane Society, which features large, prominently displayed buttons for donating, volunteering, adopting a pet and its adoption goal for the year.
- Make-A-Wish Foundation, which lists the number of wishes it’s granted to-date way at the top of its page; and features a beneficiary section to show where donor dollars are going, a tab for sharing success stories, a monthly giving option and a donate now button.
- Sierra Club, which prominently features a petition sign-up; buttons for goals and news; a special premium offer to join; a poll; a brief description of the organization's mission; and a sign-up for e-alerts.