Digital avenues provide a vital means for your nonprofit supporters to connect with your cause, especially in the wake of the pandemic. Murad Bushnaq pulls from his experience as the CEO and Founder of Morweb to bring four items you’ll want to address as you continue to adapt your organization to best meet the needs of your community!
Your nonprofit’s fundraising plan is integral to earning donations, balancing your budget, and retaining donors. As technology advances, the necessary tools to create a successful fundraising strategy are largely digital. This change has led to innovative ways to fundraise, but sometimes it’s hard to tell if your nonprofit is getting the most out of its software.
Digital fundraising tools are useful, but they can also be expensive. When you’re operating with limited resources, you’ll want to make sure that you are maximizing your return on investment. However, unless you’re already an expert on nonprofit digital fundraising, it can be difficult to create a checklist for your software in the first place.
As a leading expert in nonprofit technology and web design, Morweb specializes in nonprofit website design and has helped a range of organizations from humane societies to schools optimize their software and online fundraising tools. In this article, we’ll help your team get started by exploring four criteria you can use to assess your tech stack:
- Optimized Donation Forms
- Engaging Online Content
- Integrated Fundraising Software
- Event Readiness
As you research these fundraising tools, an easy-to-use content management system (CMS) will make it incredibly easy to add the right tools to your nonprofit’s website. You’ll be able to seamlessly grow your online presence without getting bogged down with the technical details. Remember, your fundraising strategy relies on the technology supporting it, and unintuitive solutions shouldn’t stand in the way of your mission.
1. Optimized Donation Forms
A well-thought-out fundraising strategy reaches new audiences, creates multiple touchpoints with each potential donor, and uses innovative marketing materials to get your message across. Make sure that your donation page supports these efforts by making the most of each gift and doing everything it can to encourage supporters to complete the form.
Your nonprofit’s website design should aim to achieve several goals. Chief among them is to guide supporters toward completing a specific task, which, for most nonprofits, is making a donation. Unfortunately, poor website design and especially poor donation page design can cause supporters to abandon their task at the last minute. You can prevent this by:
- Keeping donation pages to a single page. Unnecessary information fields can cause donors to feel like they’re wasting their time. While donation forms are a valuable opportunity to learn more about your donors, it shouldn’t be at the cost of actually securing a donation. Make sure you’re able to customize your donation form’s fields. That way, you can limit your questions to only those necessary for supporters to complete their gift, and follow-up with additional questions and opportunities after they’ve hit submit.
- Branding your donation page. Navigating away from your nonprofit’s website can make supporters unsure about where their contributions are going. You can alleviate this fear in a few ways. Your fundraising technology should make it easy to embed your donation form into your website and brand your donation page with your nonprofit’s logo and colors. These extra features will help to reassure donors it’s still your nonprofit they’re donating to.
- Creating an accessible form. Make sure your entire audience can support you by creating a donation page that meets their needs as well. For example, you should be able to tweak your form and help supporters with poor color vision by including multiple markers to designate required fields such as symbols and text in addition to color.
When a supporter does reach your donation page, you can also do more than just encourage them to finish their gift. For example, including a corporate matching gift search tool can help drive donations by assisting supporters in applying for a matching gift. According to Double the Donation’s article on matching gifts, 84% of donors admit they’re more likely to make a donation if there is a matching gift opportunity, which can be the encouragement needed to convince donors to see your form all the way through.
Being able to integrate extra tools into your donation form is critical for driving conversions and boosting fundraising dollars.
2. Engaging Online Content
While your donation form might be one of the most important tools on your website, it shouldn’t be the only page. To make sure your website is more than just a hosting site for your donation page, add engaging, informational content to interest potential donors and assert your nonprofit’s authority in your field.
Your content is only limited by your own creativity (and technical know-how), but if you find yourself in need of inspiration, many nonprofits have found success by creating content such as:
- Informative videos. Webinars, talks, and other informational videos help your supporters learn more about your nonprofit. Text-based stories and information also help get your message across, but videos can provide that extra level of engagement that’s needed to hook some supporters.
- Stories about your mission. Your donors want to know that their contributions are going to a meaningful cause, and you can answer that need by communicating your supporters’ impact through meaningful stories and updates on your mission. Be sure to collect statistics and numerical data about your efforts, but don’t underestimate how powerful an anecdote from one of your constituents can be.
- Blogs posts. Blog posts can consist of anything interesting happening at your nonprofit such as news reports about your field, updates on your program initiatives, or profiles spotlighting volunteers and donors. Admittedly, a blog is more of a way to host content than a form of content, but the creation of a blog sends a message to your supporters: your nonprofit has a lot of valuable information to share and you are going to share it regularly. This gives your supporters a reason to check your website every week or so to read and interact with your posts.
Make sure to track your engagement metrics after posting new content to understand how your supporters are interacting with it. Doing so can help you make data-driven decisions about your content, allowing you to focus your efforts on posts that interest your supporters and cut back on those that tend to get ignored.
3. Engaging Online Content
Your fundraising strategy needs fundraising software to track key metrics, allowing your nonprofit to collect data on its current practices and measure success. Fundraising software can also include core features such as payment processors, donor management capabilities, and digital marketing tools.
However, your fundraiser won’t be quite as successful if your software isn’t integrated with your website. There’s a wide range of fundraising software solutions out there, but before launching your next campaign, make sure your website is already equipped with:
- Secure payment processing
- Mobile-friendly design
- Customization tools
- Analytics support
- Event management functionality
- Donor data collection capabilities
If you’re interested in investing in new fundraising software, online guides like this one offer a starting place to get acquainted with core features. These resources can also help you start compiling your list of potential providers to then narrow down based on your needs and budget.
4. Event Readiness
Fundraising events bring in donations and drive engagement as your nonprofit reaffirms your relationship with current supporters and connects with new ones. An event-ready website can help elevate your events by providing supporters with useful resources and allowing your team to track data that can be used to improve future events.
For example, your website can act as the hub for your Giving Tuesday campaign, a 24-hour time period dedicated to driving attention to nonprofits, if you prepare it ahead of time by:
- Conveying your mission. Social media, email, and other forms of digital outreach have limitations in what you can communicate to supporters. On your own website, you are free to use as many images, videos, and stories as you need to convey the importance of your nonprofit’s mission. You’ll still need a compact version of your nonprofit’s story for your marketing materials, but directing supporters to your website gives them a chance to hear the full story.
- Adding a fundraising thermometer. Fundraising thermometers provide a visual for how close you are to your fundraising goal, letting supporters track your campaign’s progress in real time. Making regular updates about your campaign’s progress can also encourage visitors to stick around on your website, watching the thermometer climb as they browse your content and learn about your mission.
- Leveraging social media. Many nonprofits take full advantage of Giving Tuesday, and promoting your campaign through the noise can be a challenge. Keeping your entire campaign on your website means only your dedicated supporters will know to donate, so using social media strategically can help drive traffic to your campaign and your website. Be sure to use marketing tactics on your social media platforms such as hashtags and branded images to attract attention.
Some events such as peer-to-peer and crowdfunding are hosted on microsites to focus attention solely on that event, but your website can also hold digital campaigns and collect registrations for in-person events. Doing so can also help bring in new supporters and educate them about your mission by directing them to informational pages on your website.
Approaching your nonprofit’s virtual fundraising strategy with a list of goals will help you stay on track towards improving your website and your digital approach as a whole. Leverage your website and software solutions to make the most of each fundraising campaign, and don’t hesitate to seek out help if you run into technical errors while checking off each item on your list.