When people donate to your organization through your website, what type of experience do they have? Are they met with a generic interaction that makes them feel less like members of your nonprofit’s community and more like an ATM? Or, are they met with an authentic exchange that helps them feel connected to your mission and values?
When designing your nonprofit’s online donation experience, it’s important to think through how it connects to your overall identity and how it can help your organization build a relationship and cultivate trust with donors. Your donation experience will determine whether donors return to your website to learn more about your work, participate in programs or advocacy efforts, and ultimately, give again and offer support in other key ways, such as setting up a campaign during your next peer-to-peer fundraiser.
Here are three tactics to enhance your nonprofit’s donation experience and keep donors returning to your donation page:
- Brand your nonprofit’s donation page
- Use storytelling in your appeals
- Express appreciation
With a more meaningful donation experience, you’ll be able to nurture donor relationships over time and boost your donor lifetime value. Let’s begin.
Brand your nonprofit’s donation page
Your donation page is a great opportunity to increase brand visibility and help donors connect to your organization. To align your donation page with your organization’s unique identity, be sure to include the following branded elements:
- Font and color scheme. Use the same fonts and color scheme as the rest of your website so your donation page naturally fits in with your digital presence. This helps people recognize that your donation page belongs to your nonprofit.
- Logo. Place your nonprofit’s logo prominently at the top of your donation page to visually communicate your organization’s identity memorably.
- Visuals. High-impact photos or videos of your organization’s work can help donors find meaning and understand what their donations are supporting. Plus, it’s a great way to build credibility for your brand and demonstrate the hard work your nonprofit puts into achieving its mission.
- Personality/messaging. Ensure that the way you speak about your nonprofit and its mission aligns with your brand strategy and other marketing materials to ensure consistency.
If you don’t have web design experience, optimizing your donation page may feel overwhelming. According to Morweb’s guide to website builders, a nonprofit-specific content management system (CMS) can help your organization easily update its donation page and make it fit seamlessly into your online presence. Do your research to find a CMS with simple front-facing editing capabilities to make optimizing your donation page a breeze.
Your organization should also have a comprehensive constituent relationship management (CRM) tool. A CRM will help you track and manage donor data so you can closely tailor your donation requests to each supporter. For example, with the help of your CRM, you can segment your communications for recent donors, lapsed donors, and prospects.
Use storytelling in your appeals
When sending donation request letters and emails, you don’t want your supporters to ignore them. Instead, you want them to feel inspired to act on behalf of your cause and push your mission forward. This is where storytelling becomes an essential practice to strengthen your donation requests and connect supporters with your brand.
Make sure your storytelling is both inclusive and equitable. While framing the “donor as the hero” has been framed as a best practice, this approach is often exploitative and harmful to the subject of your story. To determine which story you want to tell and the best way to tell it, consider the following questions:
- Does your story’s subject have agency over how their story is told and shared?
- Are you framing your organization as a savior?
- Are you framing your donor as a superhero?
- Does your story imply there’s an “us” and a “them”?
Once you determine the best way to highlight beneficiaries in your storytelling, supplement your donation appeals with visuals like video interviews with your beneficiaries or photos of them in ways that promote their dignity and feel powerful. Then, you can repurpose this content across different platforms (e.g. blogs, social media posts, e-newsletters) to help acquire new donors and build upon existing relationships.
The donation experience doesn’t end once someone gives to your nonprofit. Instead, your nonprofit has to continuously demonstrate that you value your donors, and other members of your community, and that their support makes a huge difference in your ability to meet your goals. This will reflect positively on your brand and allow your nonprofit to advance its mission.
Use these tips to make donor recognition a part of your fundraising strategy:
- Send thank-you letters or give donors a call. Personalize your thank-you letters or calls to the recipient by using their preferred name, referencing their donation amount and the specific campaign they donated toward if applicable, and explaining the impact of that donation.
- Spotlight donors across multiple platforms. With your donors’ permission, you can shout them out on your social media platforms and introduce them to your organization’s followers. This helps new and existing donors feel motivated to give and creates a strong sense of community. Consider highlighting a new donor each month in your email newsletter.
- Arrange meetings with major donors. Set up a one-on-one meeting with a staff member and a major donor to get to know them better and express your thanks for their ongoing support.
After thanking donors, you can suggest different ways to get involved with your organization. For example, you might direct them to an upcoming volunteer opportunity or registration link for your next event. This helps to boost engagement in your organization, leading to greater retention.
By helping supporters understand the connection between their contributions and the effect it has on your nonprofit’s mission and community, your organization will be in great shape to grow its donor base and increase its donor lifetime value. Remember to connect every step of the donation experience to your nonprofit’s values so that donors feel more passionate about supporting your organization. Good luck!
About the author:
Murad Bushnaq is the Founder and CEO of Morweb. Since its inception in 2014, Murad has acted as Creative Director and Chief Technologist to help nonprofits spread their vision online through engaging design, intuitive software, and strategic communication.