Get Your Website Ready for Year-End Donations
Donations are the lifeline of nonprofit organizations, so it comes as no surprise that the end of the year can be a lucrative time. As potential donors, fueled by the generous spirit of the holidays, look to offload some cash before the end of the fiscal year, some organizations can see almost half of their annual donations come through during this period.
But the positive impact of a donations influx can easily be overshadowed by poor website operations. Most nonprofit organizations wait too long to prepare their website for year-end donation season. With the holiday season less than six months away, now is the time to makes the fixes or changes that will promote a prosperous year-end.
The process of making these updates is simple, but requires advance planning. Address it early, and be consistent. To elaborate, a review of a simple checklist will ensure that your organization’s site is ready to handle year-end donations.
Are the Calls-to-Action Clear?
When donors visit your site, they don’t want to spend a lot of time finding out where to donate. Call-to-actions should be clear and easy to navigate to, making the process as seamless as possible. Optimally, having a donation button on every page, located at the same place (usually top right) and in a stand-out color will help to maximize donations.
Is the Website Loading Quickly?
Site speed is arguably the easiest way to improve user experience. Luckily, there are several free tools that organizations can tap to remedy this. You can test your site for free using Pingdom, and they will provide tips on speed improvements. Installing a content delivery network is another example of a speed booster; it’s enabled by your website’s hosting service and distributes the workload of loading your website across multiple locations.
Is the Contact Information and Contact Form Up-to-Date and Working?
Contact forms can often be overlooked. Many times, organizations forget to update the phone number or address on their website to reflect current information. A quick scan to make sure everything is up-to-date will go a long way for donor relations.
Also, be sure to test your contact form to make sure that form submissions are being directed to the right email address and that there is a system in place to monitor the inbox.
Is the Site SSL Certified?
If you’ve ever noticed when you’re browsing the web, some sites load as https:// in the URL address bar, with either a symbol of a lock or the word “Secure” next to it. This is an indication that the site is SSL certified and, therefore, more secure. This is important to a nonprofit’s site for two reasons: It helps the site rank higher in Google searches, and it encrypts the information being shared, such as credit card information.
You can add a SSL certificate by requesting one from your domain registrar (e.g. GoDaddy or Network Solutions).
Are Site Analytics Installed?
Google Analytics is a powerful tool that every organization should use. The insights garnered from this tool can have a massive impact on the organization’s engagement with donors. Google Analytics allows you to track the demographics and behavior of your audiences, which in turn can fuel decisions to boost engagement and donations. Google provides an extensive guide on analytics here.
Is Open-Graph Protocol Implemented?
Open graph protocol allows nonprofits to leverage social media sites, like Facebook. This is important, because social media is one of the powerful vehicles to build brand awareness, push campaigns and share events.
Quite simply, open-graph tags allow organizations to modify content that is displayed on social media when a piece of content is shared. Content such as the title, description and the image are examples of content that can be controlled programmatically with open graph tags. If your organization or followers are active on Twitter, there are specific Twitter tags to implement called “Cards.”
Jimmy Park is the CEO and founder of Codejockey, and the former director of digital media at the Robin Hood Foundation.