5 Ways to Improve Your Online Donations Strategy

Millions of dollars are donated online each year. How you ask may be critical to your organization's online donation success.

Nearly every not-for-profit organization that has a Website that includes a link or button inviting viewers to make an online donation. However, the success of online donation invitations often depends on how the organization asks for gifts.  

Here are five suggestions to consider when your organization reviews how to improve your efforts to attract online donations:

1. Cut out the middle man.

A recent Google search for "online donations" produced a list of nearly 4,000 entries. Many of the listings described software or other online services that offer to collect your donations and forward them to you less a very substantial transaction fee. Using one of these services as your primary way to collect donations online shares your list of donors and substantially reduces the number people who will send money that way. 

Instead of using another company to process your donations, include your online donation form on your Website and collect your own donations using a credit card processor. Whether your site uses WordPress, TYPO3, Drupal or some other CMS framework, nearly all have prebuilt donation extensions. Use one of them. 

2. Make it easy to give. 

It is hard to make online donations as simple as sending a text, but find ways to simplify the steps a donor needs to make to give your organization money. According to a recent study, more than 60 percent of potential donors abandon the effort if it takes more than three clicks to send a donation. 

3. Be clear why you are asking for support.

Perhaps your potential donor has read an article about an endangered animal, and clicks on a donate button that takes her to your site. Make sure she can easily see how to give money to that specific program without having to click another link. However, it is equally as important to provide an obvious link to a page that describes your program in detail and how a donation will make a difference.

4. Security, security, security! 

Many specialists recommend the entire online donation section of your site be protected by a secure certificate even if your credit card processing company offers its own secure forms. Even if you do everything right, nearly 75 percent of your potential donors will abandon the effort before they complete their donation. There's no sense in chasing people away.

5. Make the donate button BIG.  

If you are seeking donations, make sure your Website visitors know that by using at least one large button that can be tapped on every page. In addition, make sure every page of your Website includes at least three different links to your donation page. 

Finally, think of other ways to attract potential donors to the online donation section of your Website. Everything your organization sends out should include a link to your donation page. Also, make sure the signature of every email sent by someone in your organization includes a link to your online donation page.