Recently I was researching a small sampling of local and national nonprofit fundraising organizations and through this review I noticed that some websites were far more robust and feature-rich while others seemed to be missing critical fundraising and engagement components. As we recently passed the half-way mark of 2013 and end-of-year fundraising is most likely a top priority, strengthening online presence should also be a part of this planning as its importance is high as well. Your website is the face of your organization and can very likely be the first impression (potential) supporters will have of your cause. It can be the determining factor if visitors are converted to donors and the following basic strategies can help make that happen:
Email Capture – This is one of the key features that can single-handedly impact the make or break of your fundraising initiatives. Prominently (but tastefully) placing an email/newsletter sign up form on the homepage of your website and blog will ensure you are capitalizing on every possible opportunity to bring your engagement to the next level. Developing and strengthening your donor database will pay dividends down the road. Also be sure to have an opt-out feature in every email communication and be sure to honour all requests. Recommended reading: Study Reveals Online Marketing Benchmarks and Nonprofit Fundraising Trends and 7 Tips for Effective Nonprofit Email and Newsletter Marketing.
Donations – Perhaps it goes without saying but it’s critical that nonprofits make it easier for supporters to make a donation. Oddly through my recent research, I found that many nonprofits – grass-roots specifically – are missing opportunities by not placing donation links (call to action) prominently on their homepages. Depending on the size of the organization there may be the need to outsource to a donation collection service that can process credit card payments and issue donation receipts. Recommended reading: Online Nonprofit Fundraising Continues to Grow According to Annual Survey and the latest Blackbaud Index and Blackbaud yearly report.
Social Media – Basic digital marketing strategies includes integrating social media ‘share’ buttons into the design template of your website. This strategy will help optimize engagement opportunities with your visitors while expanding your reach to your supporter’s networks. Another added value includes attracting new supporters through your social media channels to your website and blog. Recommended reading: the many entries in our Social Media series.
A good practice is to regularly test your website to guarantee your visitors receive the best impression of your organization. Make sure inner and outward links are working, information is current and the aesthetics are as they should be. Website management is an on-going process and will require tweaks that will ultimately strengthen its performance and results. Do you have other website strategies that have worked for you?