How is your website asking for a donation? Is it in a shy voice that says “sorry for disturbing” or is it a chatterbox flashing five paragraphs about your organization’s mission on every page? The most successful online fundraisers I’ve seen are people who excel in one principle: they put the most information in fewest words.
Beyond simply displaying your cause and goals, the website should call to action quickly and firmly. This is for two reasons. Most donors use information from the Internet before giving, whether online or offline – the website is their last check point before completing the donation. Secondly, online donations are impulsive by nature and people who donate on the web tend to give significantly more than offline donors, according to recent studies.
The key of online donations is at hand: make it convenient for people to give by using a wise and visually appealing donation form. And there are three essential elements of a good donation-oriented website: simplicity of use, sense of security and positive outcome.
It all starts with a clear information hierarchy. Include a short mission statement on your website, accompanied by a list with your goals and objectives from which derives the purpose you call people to donate. Next, your page should have a powerful call to action – a big button saying DONATE or whatever formula you find appropriate.
People need to be informed on the amount of money required and the finality of their donation. Soles 4 Souls for example gives one pair of shoes to the impoverished for each dollar that’s donated.
Ways to use your 123ContactForm donation form:
Your donation form should let people choose whether they want to give once or make it a recurring payment. It’s also important to let them input or choose the amount they wish to give. You can add social sharing buttons within the form, to make it easy for people to spread the word across social networks.
It’s a no brainer: your donation request form should accommodate as many payment methods and credit card types as possible. Speaking of integrations with payment processors, PayPal works best for most part of the world, Authorize.Net has its own share of popularity too, while Google Checkout is one of the friendliest payment methods out there.
To reinforce people’s trust, make sure you have a seal that tells you satisfy the legal requirements for collecting online donations (check out with your state attorney to see the regulations for your region). Also, show testimonials, media links and photos of previous donors to testify that your program has gained people’s trust. SSL data encryption for secure forms is a must.
A strong motivation for people to give is when they can see the history of their donations, so make sure you recorded it on the website. You can consider offering honorary gifts and recognitions to the most generous donors. With 123ContactForm you can offer downloadable goods through a link in the autoresponder (see our File Download Form template for example).
In which concerns online donations, simple is (most of the time) best. Remove clutter, create a friendly atmosphere and donations will flow. Good luck!
Image courtesy: Courtney Carmody