Thinking about online donations? Create a convenient user experience
People crave convenience. This is just one of the factors contributing to the increasing popularity of online donations. The Internet has opened doors and expanded the capabilities for nonprofit groups to reach out to existing contributors and prospects alike, but improving fundraising campaigns takes more than registering a domain name online. More than anything, charitable organizations are learning that online gifts stem from strategically planning, designing and optimizing a website in a way that makes it quick and easy for donors to offer their support.
Create a seamless experience
The NonProfit Times recently asked the experts at The Nonprofit Technology Network for insights into what makes an organization’s website a cut above the rest. NTEN identified several principles that give nonprofit groups a generally successful foundation when developing or reconfiguring their websites. Above all, donors or anyone visiting an organization’s homepage should be able to navigate it without any being impeded by irrelevant links or confusing tab configuration.
Looking at the Environmental Working Group’s recently redesigned site, NTEN found all information to be intuitively organized by way of menu bars and categories. Divided among “research, key issues and consumer guides,” users have no problem identifying relevant information. In combination with clear calls-to-action through a variety of online channels, the EWG delivered updated information that appeals to interested parties and offers a clear path to participation.
A long-term investment
Michael Cervino, chief technical officer for the nonprofit, explained that organizations that see revenues of around $5 million annually should expect to spend between $80,000 to $120,000 to significantly improve their websites. With a renovated webpage, the EWG saw an increase of nearly 25,000 individual visitors everyday. And increased traffic can help nonprofit management professionals achieve greater success during fundraising campaigns.
Greater online participation
The Chronicle of Philanthropy recently indicated the rate of online giving increased by 16 percent between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31, citing research conducted by Network for Good. In addition to growing numbers of donors during the holiday season, the Chronicle reported the average gift size increased. For the final two months of the year, charitable groups and nonprofits alike raised almost $78 million, representing an rise of more than $10 million over the previous year. In 2013, the average gift size increased $172, compared to $157 the year before.
What this should signal to nonprofit institutions is online giving has the potential to improve fundraising efforts because the audience certainly exists and is increasingly willing to donate through digital channels.