8 Steps to an Awesome Online Giving Page

Online giving grew 10.7% in 2012 compared to 2011, according to Blackbaud’s 2012 Charitable Giving Report, and education organizations are leading the way. Last year was the second consecutive year that these organizations saw the largest growth rate in online fundraising with an increase of 17.9%, compared to growth in other non-profit sectors. With donors increasingly turning to the web, credit card in hand, to make their charitable gifts, it’s important that institutions have awesome online giving pages.

Naturally, this leads us to ask: ”what makes a online giving page awesome?”

Online giving sites should be user friendly, providing for an easy and enjoyable experience for donors. With this in mind, we’ve outlined 8 simple things you can do to make sure your online giving site is donor focused:

1.) Give clear expectations: The process of making a gift online shouldn’t take long, and donors should know what they’re getting themselves into when they start to complete the online form. Create clear expectations by numbering the steps in the process the way Phillips Andover Academy has done.

2.) Keep it Simple: Save animated graphics and striking colors for elsewhere. Simple and clean formatting makes the form easier on the eyes and is less intimidating to complete. Don’t place navigation to other content on this page; it’s best to keep it naked. You’re online giving page has one goal: secure donations. Every navigation element gives potential donors a choice which ultimately distracts from the action of making a gift. According to MarketingSherpa’s data, “You can improve the performance of your offer page – by removing the navigation – from 10 to 50%!” Finally, don’t ask donors to answer a million questions in an attempt to gather more information–it will kill your giving rates! We think Syracuse University does a great job keeping it simple.

3.) Make it mobile friendly: What does your giving form look like on a smaller screen? If you send an email appeal with a call to action, there is a good chance it will be opened on a smartphone or tablet. If it’s difficult to see and a donor can’t complete the transaction on their device, there is a good chance you’ll lose their money. Amherst College and Franklin College have dedicated mobile giving pages- check them out on your smartphone.

4.) Don’t include suggested gift amounts: You risk aiming too high (and offending donors) or too low (and leaving money on the table)– it’s just not worth it.

5.) Have an option to schedule recurring gifts: Make it easy for donors to give their card number once and have a specific amount charged at a set time of their choice. These gifts add up and you’ll have fewer lapsed donors! We love that Skidmore College includes an option to be notified before the charge is processed.

6.) Include information about matching gifts: Many companies sponsor gift matching programs, yet many donors aren’t sure if their employer is one of them. Make it easy for them to find out by including a link to a matching gift company search tool. Check out how Providence College includes this information.

7.) Encourage your donors to connect and share:
What do your donors see once the transaction is completed? This landing page should immediately acknowledge the donor for their support and ask them to share the news via their social channels. Bowdoin College has a dedicated Facebook page for supporters, complete with an album of photos one can share to let their network know about their recent contribution–cool idea! At the very least, encourage donors to join your LinkedIn group, like you on Facebook, and follow you on twitter–they will be more likely to d`o so having made a gift.

8.) Say thank you!: You should have already thanked donors on your landing page, but a thank you email and receipt should automatically send as well. Save paper here–if they made a gift online, acknowledge it in the same manner.

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