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Retarget Acquired: 5 Ways to Target the Right People With the Right Digital Marketing

June 16th, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Email, Marketing, Website

Marketers often treat random website visitors as “anonymous,” but they’re not. In fact, every computer that visits your site is individually identified by its IP address. Every anonymous email has the potential to be reversed. And when you employ digital marketing identification and validation tools with your targeting data, you can do some amazing things.

1. Identify Hashed Email Addresses

Not all email addresses come in easy-to-read packages. Some are “hashed” — encrypted using a hexadecimal key that returns a string of numbers, but keeps the original email address private. This can be an essential step in ensuring the privacy of your audience data, but at some point you need to actually use the information in your targeting.

If you can identify consumers through their hashed emails, you can match them back to profiles in your database and continue to treat those hashed emails with the same personalized marketing as openly logged-in customers.

2. Email Validation

Sometimes, even the non-hashed emails are difficult to work with. Who knows how long ago that customer registered with you, or if the person used their regular email address or a fake. Since emailing bad addresses can lead to serious spam issues, not to mention wasted email, being able to validate those addresses on the fly is essential.

There are five essential types of errors you should validate against:

  • Email Correction: Misspellings and typos should be caught and corrected.
  • Syntax Checker: Invalid email formats should be identified and corrected where possible.
  • Spam Suppression: Keep known spam traps, honeypot addresses and complainers off your list.
  • Mailbox Check: Check if your messages to each mailbox are being delivered, or if they’re hard bouncing or soft bouncing.
  • Global Domain Check: Confirm up-to-date, accurate status of all email domains, so you’re not mailing to a honeypot.

3. Digital Identity Validation

Again, digital visitors are not as anonymous as you might think. You can install a layer of validation at the conversion point to empower your lead validation and fraud prevention initiatives.

These checks allow you to quickly verify online information to determine eligibility for an offer, validity of a transaction or identification of multi-channel contact information. For example, you can choose to validate data in an online contact form or at point-of-sale to further protect your business interests. Verify name, address, telephone number, email address or a combination of input data for optimal online fraud prevention.

4. E-append and Reverse Append

Unfortunately, many customers will not update their profile with you when they have a change of email address, physical address or other life event. So how can you stay up to date on the prodigal customer?

E-append is a data service that allows you to add email addresses to the data you have on current customers or prospects. A flexible matching algorithm allows you to not only find other email addresses they use, but logically choose which email address is best for your company to continue using.

Likewise, reverse append services allow you to append real-world data to people you may only know as email addresses. This allows you to target those consumers in direct mail and telemarketing campaigns. It can also provide a wealth of other demographic and targeting data for you to further refine the messages they’re getting, and where they get them.

5. IP Recognition and Retargeting

As mentioned above, every computer has a unique IP address. Recognizing and tracking those visitors may help you to increase your digital conversion rates by identifying behavior in real-time, based on the IP address. It’s really straightforward to find this information.  Use a simple web analytics solution that captures visitor data in parallel with IP addresses. Something inexpensive and simple like Clicky.com will get the job done. That information can be used in conjunction with a retargeting partner to serve targeted ads as the visitor IP appears on various other websites.

In some instances it may be possible to capture and append multi-channel contact, behavioral and lifestyle information to IP addresses of online visitors. Use this information to immediately personalize the consumer’s online experience, create personalized retargeting campaigns beyond your website, or identify and append alternative contact information to their record, including name, postal address, phone numbers and email addresses.

http://brianlacy.com/marketing-and-communication#e-mail-appending

http://brianlacy.com/data-and-wealth#data-services

By Infutor
April 19, 2016
Target Marketing Magazine

5 Reasons Why Social Media Buttons Hurt Nonprofit Websites

November 20th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Social Media, Website

That little row of social media buttons has become a ubiquitous feature of most websites. After all, it’s good to show off that you’re social, and that there are channels where you can interact directly with stakeholders.

But is your website header or sidebar the best place to show that off?

Here are five reasons why having social media buttons on your nonprofit’s website might do more harm than good:

1) They send visitors away from your website

Honestly, I could stop here.

Just think about this empirically for a moment: you spend a ton of time and money driving people to your website. They arrive on your homepage or a landing page, only to have multiple exit paths via a social media button. Is leaving your website really what you want them to do?

Yes, the buttons could be configured to open a new browser tab or window, but they’re still not looking at your website.

And yes, they could visit Facebook or Twitter and follow/like you, giving you the ability to communicate to them, but that’s quite a large leap to assume that conversion is going to happen, even if that is the conversion you want.

2) They distract visitors from where you really want them to go

Websites are built for one purpose: generate a conversion from the visitor. That’s it. For nonprofits, it could be a donation, an event RSVP or an email sign-up form.

Anything that distracts from that purpose is a bad thing. Think of your website as a funnel, with the homepage or landing page representing the top or opening. Every page element should move the visitor through the funnel toward your desired conversion. Social media buttons represent holes in your funnel.

That’s why some conversion rate optimization experts also recommend removing navigation options from pages with forms (like a donation page, for example). The less options you have to navigate away, the better. Having too many options can risk what Unbounce calls The Toothpaste Trance, where a website visitor is given so many options that they end up choosing something at random that will end up being meaningless to them (kind of like when you stare at all the options in the toothpaste aisle).

nonprofit-website-header

3) It’s hard to communicate a reason to click them

Look at these buttons:

social-buttons

What do they communicate?

Pretty much the only thing they communicate is that “we are on these networks.” They give no expectation of what kind of content will be found there, or why you should care about that content. They are completely passive calls-to-action.

4) They are non-native to the design of your website

If you have a custom-designed website, those little blocks with varying colors and letters can stick out like a sore thumb. Granted, you can customize them to adhere to the style of your website, but that’s one more thing that you need (to pay) a designer to do.

5) They could send visitors to dormant social media accounts

If your social media accounts aren’t updated regularly with unique and engaging content, they may send a negative signal to a website visitor who navigated away from your site only to see a Facebook page that hasn’t been posted to for a year. If you insist on including social media buttons prominently on your website, be sure to only include your most active networks.

Where you should put social media buttons

There are, of course, appropriate and useful locations for social media buttons on your website and beyond. Here are a few:

  • Website footer (where they won’t distract, ideal if you’re concerned that someone might visit your website for the sole purpose of identifying your social media channels)
  • Share buttons on content like blog posts (where users can share content that they just consumed)
  • Follow/Share buttons on donation confirmation pages (share their philanthropy)
  • Follow/Share buttons on donation confirmation email receipts (follow you elsewhere for future updates)

If you don’t have a dedicated donation confirmation page, you can easily add social media buttons to your donation confirmation message:

bloomerang-social-post-donation

Notice that most of these examples are post-conversion. meaning the website visitor has already taken some action on your site. You’ve gotten what you want out of them; now give them the option to follow you elsewhere.

uwic-conf-page

By |September 22nd, 2015|Social Media|Bloomerang

Must-Have Tips For Creating Mobile Emails & Websites

July 8th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Email, Website

Mobile email opens are on the rise. In the year alone, mobile email opens have increased from 41% to 51%. Therefore, when you prepare your email marketing and website marketing strategy, mobile optimization should be an essential component of both.

This guide will help you adjust your current marketing strategy to embrace the rising number of mobile device users. It is jam-packed with beneficial and effective tips that will walk you through different ways to increase mobile email open rates and conversions.

Click this link to access the guide: Why-Mobile-Must-Be-A-Part-of-Your-Marketing-Strategy
By 

6 Essential Donation Page Best Practices

March 13th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Fundraising, Website

Donation pages that are difficult to navigate are always bound to drive me crazy. Oftentimes, an organization’s donation page is its own greatest enemy in getting site visitors to follow through with donations. There are few essential donation page best practices that, if followed, make it pretty straightforward to improve conversion rates.

You may want your website to accomplish a variety of organizational goals, but a steady stream of online donations are an essential goal for every nonprofit website. If you’ve succeeded in designing a great donation process – one that guides website visitors to your donate page and makes it easy for them to donate – then you are likely to increase the amount you can raise online.

The good news is that even very simple changes to a donation form can make strides towards increasing donations. Here, I will cover 5 essential, but easy-to-implement, donation page best practices that you can test out right after you read this post!

Donation Page Best Practice #1: Remove navigation

When a site visitor lands on a donation page, the goal is to have them follow through with that action. Make sure to hide or limit navigation on your donation pages, so visitors aren’t distracted and motivated to click out of the form. This will help keep your conversion rates up.

Remember your donation page has one purpose and one purpose alone – to encourage a visitor to make a donation. After they make that donation, feel free to share additional information on your thank you page.

Donation Page Best Practice #2: Keep it short

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your donation page can be overwhelming. Don’t try to stuff too much information on your donation pages. Share enough information to persuade supporters to donate without making the page feel incomprehensible.

Make clear what the page is about and what you want the visitor to do. Limit the amount of copy, images, media, and links to only what’s necessary, and organize your content in a way that feels very logical. For example, you might want to restate what campaign or program the donation is allocated to, so donors are still motivated to donate. It’s especially important that the call-to-action (CTA) is as crystal clear as possible for the visitor.

Donation Page Best Practice #3: Write a great headline

A great headline uses actionable, value-driven words. It should entice people to do something. In this case, you want site visitors to complete the donation form. Make sure that your copy uses action-oriented words that communicate the importance of making a donation.

Your donation page should have an attention-grabbing headline that reminds the donor why they were compelled to donate in the first place. When you present potential donors with a clear value proposition, they’ll be more likely to follow through.

Pro tip: If your donation page visitor reads nothing else on the page but the headline, would she still be motivated to donate? Would she understand exactly how important that donation is to your organization? If it’s not clear, revise it.

Donation Page Best Practice #4: Improve your form’s submit button text

Although it’s only a seemingly small part of your donation page, your call to action button is one of the most powerful elements on the page. You might be surprised to learn how much the text on a button can affect click-through and conversion rates.

Try experimenting with different button text that could really seal the deal. For example, instead of “submit” try

• Donate Now
• Make a Difference
• Send Your Gift
• Support Mothers
• Save the Environment

Donation Page Best Practice #5: Use click triggers

A click trigger is any message that’s positioned near a key call to action, with the sole purpose of compelling people to finally click the button. On a donation form, they can be an effective a way to provide reassurance to the donor that they’re making the right choice.

For greatest impact, a click trigger should:

a) Neutralize a key anxiety that is likely to keep your site visitor from moving forward

Or

b) Amplify the value of proceeding, which is all about reminding your prospect of what motivated them to donate in the first place, what value your organization offers and how they’ll feel for making the donation.

Tip: If you’re offering an incentive or donation matching period, your click trigger may be that incentive.

Donation Page Best Practice #6: Add a compelling visual aid

Humans are visual creatures, so it’s no wonder we’ve seen an increasing emphasis on multi-media marketing. Hey, they don’t say “a picture is worth a thousand words” for nothing. So if your donation page doesn’t include some kind of visual — or a compelling one, for that matter — adding one is an easy way to improve your donation page.

Even though you’ve explained what the fundraising appeal or campaign may be, include a visual that more tangibly shows the visitor why they should support you and how it will impact your cause.

Conclusion

Focus on one or two main tenets of your campaign, how those feed into your broader mission and, most importantly, how important the donors support is to changing the world. When you remind a site visitor of why they chose to donate in the first place, they become their own best motivator to complete the process.

While there are lots of ways to present the main value proposition of your campaign and encourage people to follow through with a donation, one thing is clear: simplicity trumps all on the donation page.

January 30, 2015
By Daniel Melbye

 

Convert surfers into donors

January 20th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Fundraising, Website

One of the goals of charity web sites is to attract donations.  That’s why charity websites have a prominently displayed Donate Now button, usually on the homepage.  Here’s how it works:

Someone browsing the web reads about your cause.  They click on your web site.  They read about your work.  They connect with the stories.  They feel they want to support you.  They go to the donation page.  They complete the form, input their credit card number and make the donation.

At least, that’s what’s supposed to happen.  The reality is that many potential donors do not complete the process.

Why do donors give up?

Beate Sørum is a charity web designer consultant who has studied donor motivation.  “Giving,” she says, “Is an emotional decision.  When the potential donor has to think about how to navigate the web site, follow complicated instructions or answer unnecessary questions, the motivation to give is interrupted.”   That interruption is enough for the potential donor to lose patience, get annoyed or remember something else they need to do.

Beate and her team at the Norwegian Cancer Society redesigned the web site navigation and forms to make them simpler and shorter.  The result was a doubling of the digital income.  For the most volatile donation types, such as signing up for a monthly direct debit, the results were even more dramatic:  a fivefold increase.  Yes, making it easier to give translates into more gifts.

“I have decided to give, and I will do so even if this form is a bit incomprehensible and it takes me all afternoon,” said no donor, ever.

Are all donors the same?

No, if a donor has a long history with your charity or a deep commitment to the mission, they will have more patience with the web site and be willing to input more information.  According to Sørum, people giving in memory of or to honour someone else are much more motivated to give than someone who happened to connect with your message.

What about my web site?

The best way to determine whether your web site needs to be simplified is to test it.  Google Analytics is a free tool to help you analyze how people experienced your web site.  It will tell you where they came from, which pages they visited and how long they stayed.   A feature that is not often implemented is Goal Conversions.

Think about the goal of your web site.  Is it to get people to sign up for a newsletter, make a donation, or do something else entirely?  Whatever it is, that action is your goal.  The number of times that action happens is your Goal Conversions total.   Once you set the goal in Google Analytics, you can view the statistics of how many people viewed and acted on the material.

Think of Google Analytics as your way of testing your web site, the way you would do A/B testing on direct mail.  Look at the numbers periodically and after every campaign.  Make small changes and measure their impact.

What to do next?

Research your web site.  Pretend you are a donor and evaluate the experience.  Ask staff and volunteers for their experience.  Talk to donors who have never sent in their gifts online for their experience.  Connect those answers to your Google statistics so you have a sense of the potential improvement.  At that point, it might make sense to hire someone to do a full analysis.

For more information visit:

Norwegian Cancer Society web conversion

Google Analytics

Bill Kennedy is a Toronto consultant working with charities to get more from their systems, both financial and fundraising.  You can find more information about Bill here

 publication date: Dec 8, 2014
 author/source: Bill Kennedy

9 Tips to Promote Monthly Giving on Your Website

January 19th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Annual Giving, Fundraising, Website

It’s 2015. The start of a new year — and in many organizations new fundraising goals and fundraising budgets.

So, let me cut straight to the point — if you are short-changing your monthly giving ask on your website, you are really just leaving significant money on the table. It’s amazing how many organizations actually “offer” monthly giving as an afterthought on their websites. It usually shows up below the donation amount area where a question is asked: “Do you want to make this a monthly donation?”

Oh my. We all know this is not the way to sell the need for sustaining gifts. Yes, we must sell this like any other donation option. It is absolutely not just an “add on.” The digital designers and strategist at Eleventy Marketing Group have put together a list of nine nonprofit website tips to encourage monthly giving. As you’ll see, it is about calling attention to the opportunity to support the mission monthly.

1. Feature it on your homepage
From the face of your website, make your monthly giving call to action prominent. Whether you put in on a slider or somewhere else on the page, make sure it’s clear this is a key action you want people to take.

2. Create a monthly giving page
Dedicate an entire page on your website to monthly giving — more specifically, the why of monthly giving. Show people the need for monthly giving, and let them know as specifically as possible where the money goes. Which leads to the next point …

3. Include a monthly donation visual
Visuals explaining how varying monthly donation amounts make a difference can be incredibly effective. For example: $50/month sends five children to school for a month; $100/month feeds a family of four for a year. This paints a clear picture of the why.

4. Add a monthly giving option to your donate page
This one seems pretty obvious, and yet so many nonprofit websites still lack this option. If someone is ready to support your cause and willing to donate, at least plant the seed in her mind of becoming of a monthly donor. Please note, this does not simply mean placing a check box next to the donation amount with a question about making it a monthly gift.

5. Ask about monthly giving after a donation
Someone makes a donation. He cares about the cause and supports what you do. He’s feeling good about contributing. What better time to ask him to become a monthly donor? On your donation thank-you page, give donors the chance to quickly and easily sign up to give that same amount each month.

6. Spotlight the monthly giving impact
On your blog or other area of your site where you provide updates on the work you do, regularly include information about how monthly giving is making an impact. If possible, shine a light on the specific efforts your monthly giving program supports. And make sure you include a link and tell people how they can become monthly donors.

7. Spotlight monthly giving donors
You can also spotlight individual monthly donors. Nothing inspires people to take action like seeing other people doing it. Interview donors, and ask them what inspired them to become monthly contributors. Put a face to your monthly donors. And, again, make sure to always include the link where other people can sign up.

8. Insert a monthly giving link in your header
Make a monthly giving reminder appear on every page of your site by putting a quick link on your website header, footer or sidebar (depending on how your site is designed). It could be as simple as a small graphic that says, “Make a difference all year ’round” with a link to your monthly giving page.

9. Enable people to share monthly giving with friends
Create a quick and easy way for people to tell their friends they’ve become monthly donors and encourage them to do the same. Include a “Share With Friends” button on your donation thank-you page that allows people to post a message on social sites like Facebook and Twitter saying something along the lines of, “I just became a monthly donor with Organization X and I want you to  join me” with a link to sign up.

Simply put, you’ve got to make monthly giving a key focus on your online fundraising.

By Angie Moore | Posted on December 09, 2014

HOW MILLENNIALS ARE RESHAPING CHARITY AND ONLINE GIVING

January 4th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Fundraising, Social Media, Website

Millennials are spending — and giving away their cash — a lot differently than previous generations, and that’s changing the game for giving, and for the charities that depend on it.

Scott Harrison’s group, Charity: Water, is a prime example. Harrison’s story starts in New York’s hottest nightclubs, promoting the proverbial “models and bottles.”

“At 28 years old, I realized my legacy was going to be just that. Here lies a guy who got people wasted,” Harrison says.

So he changed his story. Harrison volunteered to spend the next two years in West Africa. What he found when he first got to Liberia was a drinking water crisis. He watched 7-year-olds drink regularly from chocolate-colored swamps — water, he says, that he wouldn’t let his dog drink.

Most childhood diseases in the developing countries he visited could be traced to unsafe drinking water, so everything changed for Harrison. He got inspired to start raising money for clean water when he returned to the states, but his friends were wary.

“They all said, ‘I don’t trust charities. I don’t give. I believe these charities are just these black holes. I don’t even know how much money would actually go to the people who I’m trying to help,’ ” Harrison recalls.

So his one cause became two: He started Charity: Water to dig wells to bring clean drinking water to the nearly 800 million people without access to it around the globe. But he also wanted to set an example with the way the organization did its work.

“We’re also really trying to reinvent charity, reinvent the way people think about giving, the way that they give,” he says.

Demographic change is a huge reason for rethinking this. With around 80 million millennials coming of age, knowing how they spend their cash on causes is going to be critical for nonprofits. And their spending patterns aren’t the same as their parents.

“Our culture is changing pretty dramatically,” says Amy Webb, who forecasts digital trends for nonprofit and for-profit companies. “That sense of ‘I need to give out of obligation’ — I don’t know that it’s going to be around 20 years from now.”

One piece of advice she gives on appealing to younger donors? Don’t even ask them to “donate,” because younger donors want to feel more invested in a cause. Choose a different word, with a different connotation: investment.

“It may seem something simple. It’s just semantics: donation vs. investment. But I think to a millennial, who’s grown up in a very different world, one that’s more participatory because of the digital tools that we have, to them they want to feel like they’re making an investment. Not just that they’re investing their capital, but they’re investing emotionally,” Webb says.

The Manhattan-based headquarters of Charity: Water.

The Manhattan-based headquarters of Charity: Water.

Elise Hu/NPR

And there’s the tech part. She says any philanthropy without a smart digital platform — not just for donations but for empowering a community of givers — will be left behind.

Which brings us back to Charity: Water. Designers spend most their time finding ways to save their donors time, trimming as much lag time or obstacles to giving online as possible.

“There are a lot of people who are more willing to be generous with 20, 30 and 50 dollars, but their time is actually worth something. And the thought of pulling out their credit card and fighting through a two- and three- and four-page form is just too much,” Harrison says.

On its site, giving is as simple as a couple of clicks. And Charity: Water’s big tactical success, the approach for which it’s earned notoriety, is getting young people to call on their own real-life social networks for help. It’s the same approach that made last summer’s Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS so unavoidable.

“We’re always taking selfies, we’re sharing details about our lives. So why not do a little social narcissism for a good cause,” Beth Kanter, author of Measuring the Networked Nonprofit, told NPR in August.

Charity: Water stokes that by building campaigns around birthdays.

“One of the big ideas that the millennials embraced,” Harrison says, “is this idea that we sorta stumbled into, when we asked people to give up their birthday for clean water. So I went around asking everyone I knew to give $32 for my 32nd birthday.”

Soon, tech CEOs were raising tens of thousands of dollars per campaign by giving up their birthdays for water. This spring, NFL safety Kam Chancellor joined in. And the generation that comes after millennials — the children today — are getting into it, too.

“We had 7-year-olds in Austin, Texas, go door to door asking for $7 donations. We had 16-year-olds in Indiana asking for $16 donations,” Harrison says.

The group’s focus on social networks and simple design means 4 million more people, in 22 countries, now have access to clean drinking water.

But you don’t have to take our word for it. Charity: Water’s latest tech improvement is putting remote sensors on wells — so donors can see just how much water flows from what they helped build.

“We think this is just going to be game changing,” Harrison says.

October 13, 2014
By Elise Hu
All Things Considered

 

How to keep up your PACE with online engagement

December 27th, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in Fundraising, Website

There is a continuously evolving conversation about engagement online. Are we doing enough of it? How can we do it more often? Better? Across multiple channels?

I have a love-hate relationship with the term “engagement.” It’s often used in a nebulous context. And I believe it’s one of those buzzwords that’s thrown into conversations and presentations simply for effect. We should define engagement not just in terms of likes or sign-ups or hand-raisers but as real, grounded, sustained interaction that leads to a positive action. We should demand more of engagement and how we talk about it.

From connection to donation

As fundraisers and/or marketers for charities, you’re not just looking for connections; your endgame is the donation.

So what’s your next big idea to engage donors? Maybe a survey or Twitter chat or triggered email campaign? When thinking about what tactics you can use as part of an engagement strategy to drive deeper connections that result in desired actions, you should keep in mind these four pillars:

  1. Presence – Does your organization have a pre-existing ecosystem online (i.e. collection of identities belonging to your organization that make up your online presence) that can support new engagement initiatives? You’ll need a website, social identity and direct email communications for a good start.
  2. Access – You need to be where your constituents are. Selecting the right technological platform to ensure easy, low-cost access is critical. It’s important for the end user and for you as you look for innovative ways to connect.
  3. Content – What underlying message do you wish to communicate now and into the future? For engagement to be authentic, the content must ring true with the heart of your cause and why your organization exists.
  4. Expectation – What do you hope the user will gain from this experience? And what does your organization seek to gain?

Or PACE for short!

Why gamification fits the bill

For an example of this, look no further than gamification. Gamification, as defined by Wikipedia, is the “use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts.” In a charitable context, it’s essentially gaming with a conscience. It’s a great idea – and one that’s been hailed as the “next big thing” for almost 5 years. I’ve collected a few examples that showcase what charities are doing with it and how the application of this technique can lead to the kind of interaction that evolves into positive action.

iHobo – Depaul UK

 

A very novel idea from four years ago that literally placed the experience of being homeless in your hands via the smartphone. The app, no longer available, was free at the time and was employed as a tactic to raise awareness for Depaul UK. Read more about the app: http://thenextweb.com/apps/2010/05/10/ihobo-app-puts-a-homeless-man-in-your-pocket/

Hunger Crunch – Rice Bowls

 

A video game designed to make fighting hunger fun while also raising money through direct asks and in-app purchases that function as donations to support Rice Bowls. You can download the app or play online. Learn more and give the game a try here: http://www.hungercrunch.com/#play-game

It’s my life – Canadian Cancer Society

 

An interactive, game-like experience designed to make the user more aware about their lifestyle while learning how their choices and surroundings affect their likelihood of getting cancer.

Try for yourself here: http://itsmylife.cancer.ca/index-en.html#!page=0

How do these “games” fare when it comes to PACE? And could you see your organization applying these ideas to your cause?

Oct 27, 2014
By: Simren Deogun

10 Places To Put A Link To Your Online Donation Page

December 21st, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in Direct Mail, Email, Fundraising, Social Media, Website

Your online donation page is not the baseball field from the movie Field of Dreams.  Just because “you built it” doesn’t mean “he will come”. Your donors are not the ghost of Shoeless Joe Jackson, magically finding their way to your online corn field.

You must help your donors find your donation page. Fortunately there are logical places you can add a simple Donate Now link that will guide your donors to your donation landing page.

Here are ten places to start:

1. From a spotlight on your home page

Most online donations are generated from your home page. Block out some real estate on your home page for a specific call for donations.

2. Your website navigation

From a Google search, donors might enter your website at any page. Make sure they can reach your donation page by placing a prominent Donate Now button in your website navigation, preferably at the top right of the page.

3.  A “ways to give” page on your website

Nonprofits that want to maximize giving typically have a “ways-to-give” page on their website that summarizes different paths to giving to the organization. Make sure online giving is represented on that page.

4. Your Facebook page

Your Facebook fans are certainly potential online donors. Add a custom tab or external link from your Facebook page that drives donors into your donation landing page.

5.  From Status Updates and Tweets

If you are running a fundraising campaign, make sure your Donate Now link goes into your status updates, tweets, and other social media postings promoting the campaign. You can shorten the URL to make it fit.

6. Your email newsletter

Every nonprofit should be using email to solicit online gifts. Whether you are sending out a fundraising appeal or a regular monthly newsletter include an easy-to-find Donate Now button.

7. The email signature of every email your staff sends

Every communication your staff sends is an opportunity to capture a donor. Create a standard Donate Now link that will be added to the email signature of each of your employees.

8.  Confirmation pages and thank you emails

Do your sell products online? Do you offer online event registration? Add a link in the thank you communications to encourage those constituents to also give online. You can even include it in the thank you messages to your online donors. That way it is easy for them to find your donation page when they want to give again.

9. From your direct mail letters

Instead of writing checks, more and more direct mail donors are making their gifts online. Include your donate page URL in the letters and print newsletters you mail.

10. On the signage at your events

Do you want donors to make gifts to you while at your events? Of course you do! Make it easy for them by posting your donation page URL where it can be seen. Want to make it even easier to reach? Include a QR code or a text message opt-in to deliver the URL directly into their phones for easy mobile giving.

Where else would you place a link to your donation page?

Monday, October 6, 2014
Posted by

10 Tips to Improve Your Online Donations Page

November 3rd, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in Fundraising, Website

Many of the non-profit organizations we work with are only beginning to focus more of their fundraising acquisition efforts to online channels. Here is a quick checklist of 10 things you can do today to increase online donations by improving your online donations page or pages.

1.) Make it easy to give. Online giving is about convenience and saving time. Research indicates that to optimize response, visitors need to be able to determine within 7 seconds where they are (see #2), how to give, and why they should give. Sounds simple but many donations pages do not pass the “at a glance test.” Requiring too much information or including unnecessary steps or copy will diminish response. Your donation form should be short and require no explanation.

2.) Brand it. Donations pages that are branded garner 6 times more donations (and larger donations) according toThe Digital Giving Index so if you think you are saving money by having generic donation form (likely on a third-party website), think again.

Drury University donations page

3.) Communicate need and impact. Many nonprofit donations pages are little more than a form. The most effective donations pages show the need and impact of donor giving at a glance. We work with a lot of schools and this is something that is lacking on many of their donation forms. One example of a branded school donation’s page that handles this aspect of their donation page well is Drury University.

4.) Include visuals. Visuals (photos, simple graphs and charts) are a highly effective way to communicate need and impact at a glance. Feeding America uses a simple graphic to show both the impact of your donation and the impact of the organization as a whole. Visuals also add appeal and bring the cause to life.

5.) Make monthly recurring donors your priority. According to Blackbaud’s Online Marketing Benchmark Study for Nonprofit’s, the average one-time online gift is $89 and the average recurring monthly gift is $31 or $372 a year.Minnesota Public Radio made the bold move of not even mentioning one-time gifts in pledge drives anymore and making monthly giving the default setting and focus of their online giving efforts as well.

non-profit donation page example

In 2012, 60% of their contributors were monthly donors who gave more than $10 million. Half those gifts were from online. This reinforces my belief that the only reason online giving isn’t a larger piece of the fundraising pie and growing faster than it already is (12-14% vs. 5% for fundraising overall) is it simply isn’t being done well by most organizations. Besides giving more, monthly recurring donors are more loyal and better prospects to grow in their giving.

6.) Include trust icons. Trust icons such as the VeriSign logo, the Charity Navigator logo, the Better Business Bureau logo and others properly placed on the donations page have been shown to increase donations. The VeriSign (or Norton or an equivalent that indicates the site is secure) should be placed near the payment field on the form. Multiple trust icons are more effective than just one in impacting conversions and they should ideally be placed where they can be seen without toggling down (i.e. higher on the page).

7.) Include contact information. Donors are reassured also by seeing a physical address (to give by mail) and phone number (to give by phone) for the organization at the bottom of the page. Donors like to know there is a number to call if something “goes wrong” such as their accidentally clicking the “submit” button twice.

8.) Limit distractions. Many web designers advocate for the removal of global navigation (your top navigation bar that is typically consistent across your site) and any extraneous links. At the very least, do not have a bunch of links leading off the page – keep visitors focused on giving.

9.) Make it mobile-friendly. According to the Pew Research Center, mobile devices accounted for 55% of Internet usage in the United States in January of 2014. This marked the first time Americans used cell phones and tablet apps more than PCs to access the Internet.  And yet the Online Fundraising ScoreCard reports that 84% of non-profit organizations’ donation pages are not optimized for mobile usage. Follow mobile best practices and make sure the process is streamlined to minimize steps, reduce the amount of typing and that the design is clean and the copy is clear and concise.

10.) Test, Test, Test. The average untested donation page converts less than 15% (the average conversion rate) of its visitors. There are lots of elements that can effect online donor response rates such as form layout and length, giving strings, copy and visuals. Don’t make assumptions; by A/B testing you can significantly improve your online giving results.

Written by Lee Neel, Vice-President of Marketing, The Fundraising Resource Group.
22 July 2014