Though this will be incredibly familiar material to anyone that’s already run through the Pre-Holiday Donation Page Workout, I thought a quick brush up on some best practices for donation page optimization might be in order. Many of our clients have asked about the most important concepts to keep in mind when designing a successful donation page- basically, there’s an endless amount of components you can revise and a successful donation page is always a work in progress, but in my opinion, these 4 basic ideas are important keep in mind, in no particular order:
-Keep available navigation minimal. Make sure that your users don’t get distracted by other navigation on your donation page. It’s a great idea to have links/navigation on the Thank You page (the page that your contributors will see after they’ve made a successful donation) but don’t distract potential contributors with bells and whistles. If your organization runs lots of events or has a particularly content-rich website, be very sure that you don’t include full navigation on the donation page- it will likely be a distraction for your donors and will tacitly encourage them to explore other areas of your site instead of contributing. Let them accomplish their business (by business, I mean financially supporting your organization), then direct them back to a full-nav page of your site to maintain engagement with your organization.
-Keep It Donor Friendly. Simple, clean and usable: make sure every graphic and word of text on your donation page packs a big punch. Your donation page is not the time to give a lengthy description of your mission statement- if they’re ready to contribute, they already know what you do. Keep information about your organization’s mission brief and instead use your text to illustrate where your donors dollars will go, specifically, and, of course, to profusely thank them for their support.
-Make Your Suggested Amounts Count. Many organizations include suggested amounts on their donation forms and it’s something we highly recommend. It’s different for every organization and fundraising campaign, but using a very small amount as the example donation (i.e. just $5 will do x at our organization) is a great way to shoot yourself in the foot. Unless it’s specifically necessary to your fundraising plan, start your suggested amount buttons at between 20 and 25 dollars. Asking for 5 bucks here and there may work for Ira Glass, but it’s probably not going to yield a substantial enough result for organization that don’t have massivedonor bases.
-Your Donate Button Is Not Your Fundraising Campaign. Putting a ‘Donate Now!’ front and center on every page of your website is a given, but easy donation buttons do not a fundraising campaign make. Track your Analytics (and if you don’t have Google Analytics or another program already installed, for the love of God, install it now!) numbers and figure out which page of your website is most effectively funneling donors to your donation page. Know your potential donors likely pathways through your site to conversion (donation) like the back of your hand and make sure it’s a simple leap from every page of your site. For organizations relying largely on individual donations, it’s extremely important to clarify to donors how and why they should donate. Don’t just slap a button on there; make sure your donation links are well and prominently placed and provide a logical through-line for a donors visit to your site. Be sure your website sets up a narrative-style process your donor can follow from start to finish; Home page to About Us page to Blog to Donation, know what I mean?
More fundraising season prep posts coming soon! Happy Fundraising!