Only 15 percent of prospective donors who reach a website’s donation page actually make an online gift. This stark statistic, revealed in the 2016 M+R Benchmarks Study, is a reminder of the challenge of raising money online. After all the work you’ve done crafting powerful fundraising campaigns, it’s a pity that your website’s donation page may be letting you down.
Maybe your organization was rushed when it created its donation page, or you simply haven’t had staff time to dedicate to the task. Now’s a good time to make improvements. Most organizations reap strong financial benefits by improving their donation pages through a few simple changes. By doubling the completion rate from 15 percent to 30 percent, you’re basically doubling your revenue through this all-important and fast-growing fundraising channel.
Here are 10 ways to improve your donation page:
Start with a Strong Headline
The single most effective way to improve a donation page is with a clear and compelling page headline. Your donors have seen (and filled out) lots of donation pages, so the headline has to really stand out, since it’s the first thing they’ll see aside from the photo. The best headlines are succinct and to the point but also tap into the reason your donors are motivated to give in the first place.
Here are some examples I like:
Donate to save an animal’s life today
Join us and protect what you love
Donate for consumer safety and unbiased, reliable product reviews — and receive a FREE guide
Present a Strong Value Proposition
Along with the headline, craft a few sentences to make the case for how a donation today will make an impact on the issue you’re fighting for. Make sure this messaging ties in with the overall theme of your campaign, such as when people are clicking from an email they might have received.
Display Powerful Images
Often images are more powerful than words when it comes to communicating how a donor’s gift can help others. Feature an image that reinforces your core message and mission, or is connected to the campaign theme. A good headline, photo, and value proposition will combine together to improve giving on the page.
Clear Away Navigation Items at Top and Bottom
Many donation pages are cluttered with navigation elements at the top, left, and bottom, plus sidebar elements. This results in much distraction and provides opportunities for visitors to leave the page before making a gift. Simplify your donation pages with as little extraneous navigation as possible, so the visitor sees just one choice: giving!
Offer Multiple Giving Options
There’s a wider range of supporters visiting your website, following you on social channels, and subscribed to your email list than ever before. Your supporters are all ages, using different devices, in many different countries, and from many different financial circumstances.
Make sure your donation pages provide both flexibility and clarity to meet a broad range of donor preferences around giving options (one-time gifts, monthly gifts, gifts in honor, and gifts of stock). Also give people flexibility in how they donate (via credit card brands, Paypal, and checking account debits).
Offer Monthly Giving as a Clear Option
Monthly giving is the fastest growing type of online giving. Donors are often comfortable increasing the amount of their annual giving if they can break it into 12 payments. Plus, monthly donors have a longer “lifetime value”: they give more over time. This win-win should encourage you to consider whether and how to feature the monthly giving option on your donation pages.
Display Security and Trust Seals
It’s helpful to display both security and trust seals on your donation page. These seals help make prospective donors confident that their personal information won’t be compromised. They also let donors know that your organization has been reviewed and accredited by one of the rating agencies such as CharityNavigator.org, GuideStar.org, or GreatNonprofits.org. Be sure to place the seals alongside where the donor enters their payment information for maximum visibility.
Anticipate Multiple Screen Sizes
Take a look at your website analytics, and you’ll see the huge variety of devices and screen sizes that prospective donors are using when they reach your donation page. Make sure all your donation pages (from your main website navigation or from an email link) are optimized for all sizes of mobile devices, including small phone screens. Discuss this project with your donation page provider and make it a priority, since this can really move the needle.
Display a Colorful, Eye-catching Donate Button
Large and colorful donate buttons at the bottom of the donation page that look clickable and feature goal-oriented language are best. They often outperform donate buttons that are small, use pale colors, and feature generic language. So a button that says, “DONATE to help the kids” will perform better than “DONATE.” Either way, the button has to be colorful and highly visible so there’s nothing ambiguous about it.
Use Easy-to-Read Font Sizes and Colors
Small font sizes and pale text (grey is surprisingly common) can make reading your donation page a real challenge. Make sure your page copy (both headline and body text) uses a dark font (preferably black) on a white background. You also want it to be of sufficient size so it’s easily readable on wide variety of devices and screen sizes.
Michael Stein has been a writer and digital strategist to progressive social causes for over two decades. He is the author of three books and numerous articles chronicling the rise of digital marketing, mobile, and online fundraising. He works as a consultant and coach to nonprofits, foundations and educators, with a focus on marketing and fundraising in a multi-channel and multi-screen world.
This article was originally published in TechSoup.org on June 20, 2016.