When a potential donor scans your website, they’re looking for two things: to gather more information or make a donation. If it’s not immediately clear that giving to your cause will be a quick, easy, and safe experience, guess what?
Those would-be donors bail.
And that’s bad news for nonprofits that need every donor they can engage.
Whether your work advances housing stability or promotes girls in STEM, you’re leading the charge — breaking down barriers to make change possible. You’re used to eliminating obstacles. Apply that same rigor to your organization’s online giving experience so that nothing stands in donors’ way.
With today’s digital tools and resources, there’s no reason why donors should have to jump through hoops in order to contribute to your cause. In fact, the fewer obstacles to donating, the more likely a donor will come back to do it again — and again and again.
Place your donors’ path to giving on the same level as the rest of your fundraising efforts — and avoid letting any of these eight reasons wreck it all.
1. Your Website’s Donation Form is Past its Prime
There was a time when giving money online was revolutionary. Donors would rather send you a check or give cash directly than try to finagle the then-nascent ways of digital giving.
But those days have passed — quite a long time ago, in fact. Now, donors expect to be able to give online, whether from their desktop or smartphone. And if they can’t, that’s money you’re going to lose out on.
All of this to say, if your donation form hasn’t been updated since you set up your fundraising software, an overhaul is long overdue.
A smooth donation form doesn’t ask for too much information. It doesn’t take too long for your donor to fill out. And it doesn’t do anything frowned-upon like automatically check boxes that confirm a certain amount or recurring donations.
What a seamless donation form does is store your donor’s information for an easier checkout next time. It does give them the option to make their donation a recurring one. And it does confirm their payment went through (and thanks them, but more on that later).
To ensure your donation form is a simple experience, install preset buttons with suggested dollar amounts. Providing these quick-hit options (along with “Other”) is a hint at what you’re hoping to receive.
Bottom line: If it isn’t as easy to donate to your cause as it is to purchase from Amazon, you need to make a change — or risk losing more engagement.
Donation forms today are easy to implement on your website. They’ve been modernized, tailored for mobile use, and A/B tested to make your job simple. EveryAction and Salesforce are trustworthy platforms to explore since they support the nuances of nonprofit giving.
2. You Don’t Use Fast Pay Buttons For Accelerated Giving
From the moment your donor finds your donation page and begins their giving process, you have a limited amount of time to hold their attention — and patience. Your mission is clear: To make the payment process as quick and painless as possible.
You’re in luck with “fast pay” buttons like Apple Pay, Google Pay, or PayPal. You’ve likely seen them on other websites before. You can set them up on the payment section of your giving page to provide a quick, secure, and seamless donation experience for your donors. It works well because all of their payment information is stored securely in their respective account — no distractions or excuses!
And though these services come with fees, it’s well worth it to pay up to ensure your donors don’t give up or get distracted too soon.
3. You Lack a Robust Donor Management System
Developing and nurturing relationships with supporters and donors is always going to be a challenge for nonprofits. And while there are many ways to navigate this uphill battle, there’s one tool that undoubtedly makes it a whole lot easier: a rock-solid donor management system.
A dependable donor management system isn’t just necessary for keeping track of your donors’ engagement with your organization. It’s the only way to capture useful data that can inform how you approach engaging specific donors in the future.
Now, you may be wondering: How does a donor even know if I don’t have a solid donor management system? Good question. The truth is, they don’t.
But they do take notice if they’ve interacted with your social media accounts, signed up for your newsletter, perhaps donated once, and have heard nary a word from you. They do notice when they’re not made to feel appreciated and part of your community.
Without a well-kept donor management system, it’s nearly impossible to pinpoint any specific fundraising trends to influence your next campaign. You can’t target segments of donors in emails to attract them to a new initiative. And you can’t cull priceless pieces of personal information that could boost your next big ask.
Your fortified donor management system is key for not letting relationships like these fall through the cracks.
4. Your Donors Don’t Get an Impact-Focused Thank You
Your supporters often give money to your cause because they simply want to help. But it doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate some recognition in return.
Donor user flows that lack a genuine “Thank you!” at the conclusion of payment processing leave a bad taste. Your donors may wonder if they made the right choice and may not return. Not to mention, no email “thanks” can lead a donor to wonder whether or not their payment even went through.
Not only are these follow-up thank yous the right thing to do, but they’re also perfect moments to talk about the change donors like them make possible.
So share your impact story and provide statistics of how much positive change has been supported through generous donations like theirs.
5. Donors Can’t Spread the Word & Convince Others to Give
Despite its faults, social media is laudable for something: amplifying your message. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and others are powerful border-transcending platforms that enlighten people who wouldn’t otherwise learn about your organization.
If only your donors could connect with their networks right after they donate and get more people invested in your cause. (Hint: They can!)
After their payment is complete (and you’ve thanked them!), provide an option for donors to spread the word about their involvement with your organization. As they enjoy the feeling of making a difference, encourage them to share their donation through their social media accounts and email.
This is one of the simplest ways to reach a wider audience. And, it gives your donors a way to pat themselves on the back — a motivator for donating.
6. Your Digital Presence Isn’t Credible or Inspirational
People will never stop judging a book by its cover — or nonprofits by their websites, for that matter. That’s why keeping your digital presence active is non-negotiable. A clunky or nonexistent digital presence sends the wrong message.
The truth is, your organization’s credibility is wholly dependent on your digital presence. One glance is all it takes for a would-be donor to believe you’re not making an impact — and move right along. Plus, if you’re not transparent in the steps you’re taking to achieve your mission, you can bet potential donors will turn into definite skeptics. None of this bodes well for your fundraising efforts.
So make your donation buttons clearly visible. And compel your supporters to get involved beyond the donate button. Set up an activist toolkit on your website so supporters can take fundraising efforts into their own hands. Create attention-grabbing content they want to share with their network.
Be intentionally inspirational at every digital turn.
Lastly, to secure your donors’ trust, it’s important to put some muscle into your digital engagement efforts. Ramping up your tech stack, routinely publishing scroll-stopping content, and providing an online space for community around your cause are all a part of it. In today’s digital-first world, it’s no longer a nice-to-have. On the contrary. It’s essential to getting the work done.
7. You Fail to Tell an Emotional Impact Story
Emotion drives action. It makes people wake up and want to get involved. It makes people tear up and want to give. Emotion is one of the most effective ways to draw supporters into your world and make them feel part of it.
All that to say, if you’re not letting emotion have its place in your storytelling, your donors aren’t getting the full pull — or picture. And they’re not able to emotionally connect with your cause — an essential element in their decision to give.
As you turn your statistics into tangible stories, put those who benefited in a hopeful, positive light. And make donors the heroes. Your nonprofit’s success will shine through best when you don’t talk about yourself but rather highlight what was achieved.
8. You Thinking Marketing is a Questionable Tactic
Look, we know the subject of marketing is tricky. But hear us out: Marketing is simply the act of compelling someone to take action. Isn’t that what you rely on your supporters to do?
Whether you need them to volunteer, sign a petition, or contact legislators, you need their participation — their action — to push your cause forward. And if you’re sending appeals through email, social media, and across your website ... guess what, you’re marketing!
Now that we’ve cleared that up, it’s important that you adopt a distribution strategy for reaching new supporters and driving them to your digital hub so they can donate. As we said before, social media is a great tool. But it shouldn’t be the one and only way you get the word out.
Focus on creating a website that your supporters come to automatically to get information on your next event, content to share with their networks, or key updates about your cause.
Lastly, squeeze the most juice out of every campaign with specific donation requests and calls to action. The more targeted you are, the more streamlined your campaign will be. And don’t forget to put money behind those campaigns, too. After all, it’s hard to make money unless you spend money first.
As you navigate the challenges that come with pushing change forward, help your donors help you. Put forth an overall memorable giving experience to secure the support you need.