Charity insights

Effective techniques to boost donations on your charities website

1. Clearly signpost it

Donations are an essential part of many charities because it helps the organisation carry out its charitable work. However, sometimes people who want to donate can’t find the donations button on the website.

This happens because pages are not always designed with donations in mind. Often, designers put a donate button in the footer or somewhere else that is hard for people to see when it should be front and centre on every page (not literally). It can be frustrating trying to find something, so they will likely give up if they can’t find your donation button/link.

We find that a donation button located in the top right corner on every page is an excellent place for making it easily findable, and a contrasting colour to the rest of your website can catch their attention.

2. Perfect your donation journey

The donation journey, or donation funnel, is a series of steps that a donor takes before donating.

To improve the conversion rate on your site, you need to perfect the donor’s experience, make it as easy as possible and evoke trust. This will result in more people completing each section of the funnel and eventually donating to your charity.

Use numbers! Articulating what their donation will go towards is a great way of increasing the number of gifts and their value. It helps them feel a real sense of connection to the cause and like they are making a difference. For example, WaterAid shows that your £30 donation could help provide handwashing stations for three families in Mozambique.

Trust is an important factor when someone decides to donate. Steps in the donation journey should match your brand, meaning the colour scheme, typography, and logo should appear the same as your website. If they click on a donate button and go to a completely different website, it could be pretty jarring and off-putting if it looks too different. Displaying any trust badges such as the Fundraising regulator badge could also help them feel confident in their decision and reassure them.

Even once they have donated, you still need to think of the journey. Make sure to thank the donor for their donation, and instead of leaving them on a blank page, why not make another ask of them whilst they are already engaged? Perhaps you could ask them if they would like to sign up for your newsletter or check out an event that might interest them.

3. Use compelling storytelling and imagery to drive your cause

Visitors on your website might not know much about what you do when they first land on your website, and before giving any time or donations, they will want to understand your charity and the cause. Stories can capture the heart of your audience and create powerful connections. When combined with captivating photography and immersive videography showing what you do and whom you help, it connects and tugs on their heartstrings. It would help if you aimed to use real people you have helped to make it more authentic in your messaging.

To effectively tell your story, you should aim to include:

  • Statistics: Numbers help us understand the severity of the problem you are trying to solve and give a clear picture.
  • Real people: Using real individuals can really help make your story authentic and showcase how you are making a real difference.

According to Kissmetrics:

Photos get 53% more likes, 104% more comments and 84% more click-throughs on links than text-based posts.

Here’s an example of good storytelling in an email:

Here’s an example of good storytelling in an email:

4. Have a professional website that is optimised for all devices including mobile

In an age of digital, it’s hard to think of a sector that has been left untouched, however sometimes charity websites fall behind. Maybe it is because the team don’t have the time or skills, but your website is a perfect platform/tool to gain awareness of your cause. A well presented, and easy to use website will help your visitors find the information they are looking for and build trust which can improve your conversion rates.

Back in 2018, Google’s mobile-first update gave preference to websites tailored to mobile site visitors, if your website doesn’t look great on all devices including mobile, tablet and desktop then you could be missing out on opportunities. Now might be a good time to check your stats in Google Analytics, you might be surprised how many people are visiting your website on mobiles.

If you haven’t set up tools like Google Analytics or Hotjar for your website yet, you definitely should! Regularly checking key metrics lets you dig deep into your users’ behaviour and give you insight on areas you can optimise. Improving your conversion rate is an ongoing task, you should strive to continuously make small improvements to your websites message, user experience, design and content to maximise conversions/donations.

Page speed is also very important, if your website is slow to load your bounce rate is likely to be very high as people leave your website before it even finishes loading. Three main factors that affect your page speed:

  1. Not compressing images/videos. The smaller the file size, the quicker your media will load.
  2. Cluttered code. If your website is loading lots of WordPress plugins that aren’t being used, this will slow down your website.
  3. Slow hosting. If your web hosting provider is slow, it might be time to change to a new one, preferably with servers close to where you are.

5. Distribute valuable content

Establishing your nonprofit as an expert is a fantastic way to build trust, and you can do this by creating valuble content. Here are a few examples you can try:

  • Online resources
  • Videos
  • Blog posts/articles
  • Reports
  • Knowledgebases
  • Case studies
  • List of useful contacts/signposting

One of the charities we work with, We Care Home Improvements, have a regularly updated knowledge base and case studies and have seen great success from them. Not only will this help visitors understand your cause, they are also more likely to support you if they see your organisation as a knoweldgable source.

6. Be aware of any events and holidays

Did you know, 31% of giving occurs in December, and 12% happens in the last three days of the year? #GivingTuesday is also a time where people are looking to give. Keep on top of any current events that could be linked to your charity. When something is trending, people want to get involved. To stay relevant, you could try running marketing campaigns during these times to spread awareness of your cause and stay in mind for those looking to give.

7  Make sure you show the impact

When donors see the results, they can feel confident that their donation is not wasted and will make a difference, and could encourage more frequent contributions.

There are many ways to show donors the impact of their gifts such as providing case studies, testimonials, statistics, impact reports and videos from work in the field. You can share these with newsletter subscribers, on your blog and social media.

8.  Make your website easy to find

Having a website is great, but on its own is not enough – you need people to visit it! SEO (Search engine optimisation) is a great way to get people to visit your website. It is a continuous process but ranking high in organic search results is a huge competitive advantage.

Producing relevant, high-quality content regularly can help drive up the SEO value of your web pages so you list higher in search engines for the keywords you want to target.

Any issues with your website can harm your efforts such as pages not linking correctly, or not having a responsive website so make sure to routinely check for any errors.

Remember, Google offers charities Google Ad Grants which can help boost your performance in Google search results.

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