An up-to-date, easy-to-navigate, and clear website is one of the easiest ways to increase donations to your organization. Whether you realize it or not, your website is a vital part of your organization’s fundraising strategy.
The average time someone spends on a website is 53 seconds. That means you have 53 seconds to direct your donors (and potential donors!) to the right information. They should be able to find what they need, get their questions answered, and learn something with little effort. Simply put, your website shouldn’t be an additional hurdle in their giving journey.
If you think your website might be a little stale, never fear. We’ve compiled a list of the most essential info that should be on your nonprofit’s site to encourage engagement and increase financial donations:
1. Make Your Address, Contact Info, and Hours Easy to Find
This seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many websites don’t have this information in an easy-to-find location. The best places to start are with a contact page and the footer! Even the smallest nonprofit organization can accept a cash or check gift, so make it super-easy for people to mail or drop off a donation.
2. Showcase Your Team and Include Contact Info
Can people quickly figure out who to call–and where to find their number–if they have questions or want to get involved? Create a page with your organization’s contact information and key team members, with links to email them directly. Keep this page as up-to-date as possible; maybe even put a reminder on your calendar to review the information periodically. Our team info is one of the most-visited areas of our whole site!
3. Add a Giving Portal
Your donors are becoming less likely to carry cash or write checks, so make it easy for people to give through your website. There are countless secure processing platforms out there, and they’re easy to install on your site. Some of the top options in the industry right now are Stripe, Give Lively, DonorBox, Donately, Paypal, Braintree, Pushpay, Stax, and GiveWP (for WordPress sites). Just do your homework to find out whether there are associated fees, how much info donors will need to enter to complete their gift, and how your organization will receive and track the funds on the back end.
4. Include Your Tax ID Number and Legal Name
It should be easy for donors to confirm they’re giving to the right organization! There are some charitable gifts that might require a Tax ID Number and the legal name of the receiving organization. A Tax ID is nine digits with a dash, like this: #XX-XXXXXXX.
Some examples of gifts that require these details are qualified charitable distributions (QCDs) from an IRA, gifts of stock, or donor-advised fund (DAF) distributions.
5. Include Reviews and a Way to Leave Them!
You can talk about how great your organization is all day long, but a donor or client’s words will carry a lot more weight for people checking you out for the first time.
Include review links in your e-newsletter, social media posts, or make reviews a standard part of donor interactions like on gift receipts and periodic emails. (Want to leave us a review? You can do that here.)
6. Share Your Mission and Vision–and Financials
This is one of the top things we encourage donors to find out about their favorite nonprofits before making a big gift. Donors should always understand an organization’s long-term mission and vision–and make sure it aligns with their beliefs. It’s also vital to ensure the organization is on strong financial footing, with solid decision-making and financial processes. Many of the non-cash and legacy gifts we work on with our clients won’t come to fruition for years, and we want to make sure that our clients’ plans will still make sense down the road.
7. Include a List of Gifts You Accept
Think about what kinds of gifts you can accept–and what you are currently staffed to accept–and what you want to accept. Then include basic information for initiating a gift in each of those ways.
People don’t know what they don’t know. Some donors might come to your website knowing they want to give soybeans or their old car, but others might not even know that’s an option. Here’s a great opportunity to encourage donors to consider:
- a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) from an IRA
- a gift of crops, stock, livestock, or real estate
- a donor advised fund (DAF) distribution
- gifts in kind (be specific about what you need and what you can’t accept)
- a matching gift from their employer
- an automatic payroll deduction (for employees)
8. Fresh Content
Search engines like Google and Bing prioritize web results from sites that are long-standing, high-traffic, and have fresh and relevant content. Include a feed of content from your social media accounts, add fresh photos on a regular basis, and make your online calendar the primary place people find out about events. If you have an e-newsletter or highlight happenings on slides at events, always point people to your website to find out more.
9. Share Donor Stories
Be sure you’re highlighting stories of donors who are making a difference for your organization! Help donors of all ages “see themselves” giving by sharing about people “like them” who’ve found creative and strategic ways to give. When people see others being celebrated for giving back, it can be tremendously inspiring. Make these stories anonymous if you have to, but celebrate your people!
10. Estate and Legacy Giving Information
Estate and legacy giving should be woven into everything someone sees or hears from you–in print materials, in conversations, on special media, and especially on your website. It’s unlikely someone will leave a legacy or estate gift after visiting your website for the first time, so make the information they need to move forward with a gift readily available.
As part of our Fundraising Audit and Strategy Sessions, we offer nonprofits, we regularly do a review of an organization’s website. First, we get to know the organization: its history, goals, and opportunities.
As we make a game plan for building the organization’s fundraising program, we spend some time on their website, approaching it like a new visitor or prospective donor would. We look at how easy the site is to navigate and use on a variety of browsers and platforms, check out the design and readability, and assess the quality and organization of the content.
Is there anything missing that we would expect to find there? How does it compare to similar organizations’ sites? Can we easily figure out how to make a financial gift? What about initiating a major or non-cash gift?