Designing a donor-friendly homepage

More and more donors are giving to non-profits via internet these days. In fact, 4 out of 5 donors make a donation online, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy on Rosita Cortez’s professional blog. These statistics supports the trend in online giving. In 1997, online donations in the United States accounted for $300,000. By 2007, online donations totaled $314 billion. For many large nonprofits online gifts account for more than 30% of their new revenue. It is simple and easy: all you need is your computer screen, your credit card, and your generosity. However, it is vital that your website is designed donor friendly, meaning, your website must be easy to use by a donor.

Below are ten useful strategies to rebuild an effective website geared at donors.

  • Establish basic contact information. Your website needs to state what your organization does, where it’s located and ways to get in touch with development staff. Your organization’s full name, address, telephone and email address should be displayed on your website’s contact page and at the bottom of every page.
  • Donation information. Provide a “how to donate” section on your website. Don’t make them search your page for it. It is only a matter of seconds that users will enter and leave your site. Users want to find information quickly.Designing Your Website to Draw in Donors
  • Tell where the money goes. Donors want to know how their money is spent. Provide a “donor update” every month or so.
  • Provide a call-to-action. Reminder: the goal is to convert visitors into supporters and donors. Insert subtle cues throughout your content and give visitors incentives to make that initial contact to give.
  • Increase donor confidence: Place your “Charity Navigator” and “Better Business Bureau badges” distinctively on your homepage and donation pages.
  • Integrate your online giving with other marketing channels. E-mail marketing still works. E-mail (e-newsletters) can feature content on your website. Always leverage offline promotion to compliment what you are doing online.
  • Freshness. Provide fresh and up-to-date content.
  • Use social technology. Provide social media tools for your visitors to share what they see. An easy and inexpensive way to do this is to include Twitter and Facebook buttons. There are also free “Tell a Friend” scripts that you can integrate on your website. Statistics show that word of mouth is still one of the most powerful marketing tools. People react positively to recommendations from their friends and colleagues. If you don’t have an RSS feed yet, consider getting one.
  • Acknowledge your donors. Find a space on your website to publicly thank your donors. Say thank-you.
  • Track users. The only way to improve your pages is by knowing your user’s preferences. Use a tracking tool to know where viewers go within the site and know how successfully you are leading them to donation or involvement options.
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