Guest post by Wauker Matthews
Even though people are increasingly turning to the Internet to search for and to obtain information about causes they care about, keeping online donors engaged long-term is an ongoing struggle for many nonprofits.
In this article, we will outline 4 simple tips to help you boost your online donor engagement rates:
- Make the donation process simple and user-friendly.
- Meet donors where they are.
- Offer a variety of content for donors to enjoy.
- Get creative with your post-donation follow-up strategies.
By incorporating these strategies into your online marketing efforts, you will be sure to see a steady increase in donor engagement!
BONUS! If you’re looking for a little more technological assistance managing your supporters after reading this article, Double the Donation has a helpful guide to help you get started down the path of selecting membership management software to support your engagement needs.
For most users, the journey through your nonprofit’s online giving software is just as important as the destination.
If donors have a poor experience using your donation tools, they are highly unlikely to do so again. You’ll see a decline in online donor engagement and lose out on donations — all because your page was not user-friendly.
Make sure that when you are customizing your nonprofit’s online donation tools, you are doing so with the user in mind. Keep things simple, streamlined, intuitive, and aesthetically pleasing.
Here are some areas in particular that you may want to spend time optimizing:
- Keep web clutter to a minimum. Nothing turns off donors more than having a crowded, complicated donation page. Choose a clean and minimalist design to visually guide users through the process without confusion.
- Simplify instructions so that anyone can follow them. If donors do not understand the language you’re using or the directions you’re giving, they will be far more likely to give up. To avoid this, keep instructions simple and easily digestible.
- Make sure that all links, buttons, lead captures, and forms work properly. One of the most frustrating experiences a user can have is filling out the entire donation form, only to find that the “submit” button doesn’t function correctly.
- Create a visually interesting platform. First impressions, as they say, are everything, and this is especially pertinent to the online experience. If a user isn’t captivated by your donation page, they likely will abandon the donation process and leave the site. To this end, make sure to break up text with header images or other graphics.
It’s worthwhile to also keep in mind that many users are not tech experts. Not every individual is skilled at using the internet or at grasping the different facets of donation software. It’s important, therefore, to not include steps that might be outside the competencies of the average donor.
The bottom line: Make the donation process so simple and user-friendly that it’s not a chore to engage.
These days, there are so many different ways that potential donors can find your nonprofit’s online presence. Individuals are increasingly accessing online content via mobile devices or through social media channels.
It’s therefore imperative that your organization meets donors where they are in order to maximize online engagement.
This means first and foremost that your online donation tools are optimized for engagement on mobile platforms. Pages and forms should be formatted with the mobile experience in mind.
In other words, you should make sure that:
- Your site adjusts to fit whatever screen visitors are using.
- Any buttons appear large enough to click on without unnecessary pinching or zooming.
- Your donation software is mobile-compatible from top to bottom.
- All links still work correctly when clicked on in a mobile device.
Note: One option to add to further streamline your nonprofit’s mobile donation experience is text-to-give. Check out BidPal’s handy guide to text-to-give technologies for more information on what this feature can do for your organization.
Not only are most users accessing the internet on their phones or tablets, but users are increasingly spending their time perusing social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. So, it makes sense that you also should look to engage potential donors there!
Your organization’s social media pages offer one more way to promote your donation page. Include links to your donation form in your social media bio. Post regularly to remind followers to donate. If donors are constantly seeing calls to action on the sites they are frequenting the most, chances are they will choose to give!
Another place to focus on is in your nonprofit’s email promotions. Recipients are constantly getting these emails, so why not add a frequent reminder to donate into their inbox?
Send out donation-specific calls to action, put a donate button in your weekly email newsletters, and even include a link to your donation page in employee email signatures.
The bottom line: Boosting online engagement rates means that your organization needs to invest time and energy into meeting donors where they are, making it that much easier for them to engage.
Your users are not going to stay interested in your organization for very long if all you’re offering online is wordy text. Humans are primarily visual beings, meaning our attention is most effectively grabbed when content is varied and visually-appealing.
In other words, you should make sure to include a variety of interesting and compelling online content to spark and keep your donors’ interest. Post pictures of your nonprofit in action, convey information through sharable infographics, and offer interactive material.
A great example of a compelling image comes from the Hoopzkid Foundation for Homeless and Battered Families:
Since the Hoopzkid Foundation was raising money for families in need, they chose a picture of the nonprofit in action to help generate more donations. This image is effective because it provides a visual of the people the foundation is trying to help. Donors are shown exactly what their contributions are going towards and who will benefit.
Don’t be afraid to get creative and think outside of the box! The online landscape is vast and constantly changing, and new technologies and platforms are becoming popular every day. Video content, for example, is having a major tech moment. Could your organization get in on the action?
Another great interactive tool that your nonprofit could implement is a fundraising thermometer. This graphic provides a visual representation of the fundraising goals your organization has set as well as the milestones that you have reached along the way.
Additionally, because many thermometers self-update, your donors will immediately see the effect their donations have for your cause — resulting in a powerful incentive to give!
The bottom line: Being creative with your nonprofit’s online content will help supporters stay interested and engaged.
You’ve put in a lot of hard work and energy into expanding your organization’s network and reaching new donors. Why wouldn’t you put in the same amount of time and effort into keeping them engaged?
Once donors have made a gift, don’t let them fall by the wayside.
Stay in touch with them via social media, email, and/or more traditional marketing avenues, and keep them in the loop about what your organization is doing.
One easy way to keep contact with your donors is to thank them after they have given. Everyone loves to be appreciated — but according to @Pay, “over two-thirds of… organizations don’t have a ‘next step’ once a donor gives.”
It’s not only important to recognize that your nonprofit wouldn’t be able to function without the support from each and every one of your donors, but taking the time to thank supporters offers a great opportunity to give them options to become more involved.
There are so many innovative ways to express your gratitude, aside from the traditional thank-you letter or phone call. Shout out your donors on social media, include a donor spotlight in your e-newsletter, or feature a “top donors” section on your website.
Another great tip that helps keep existing donors is to let them know what their donation money has gone to! Share photos and updates about the animal shelter you’ve furnished supplies for, or the school you’ve helped to build.
This provides another great opportunity to get creative! Perhaps you can harness Snapchat, Instagram Stories, or Facebook Live to share video updates. Maybe you allow one of your staff members to “take over” your social media accounts for the day to share their daily experience. As this blog has mentioned before, donors “want to know the faces behind the organization and the stories of lives changed.”
The bottom line: Put just as much effort into keeping your existing supporters as you do trying to gain new ones. This shows that you care for and value your donors, making others more likely to become involved!
If you take these 4 pieces of advice to heart, you should begin to experience a higher rate of online donor engagement in no time. It takes some time and effort, but the payoff for your organization is worth it!
About the author: Wauker Matthews is Director of Sales at @Pay, an exciting new fundraising technology that makes it easy for people to give in just a few clicks from text, email, web and social media. Wauker has been in brand & business development for over 8 years, helping organizations grow in both size and reach.
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