According to Blackbaud’s Charitable Giving Report, online donations are still increasing every year, growing 9.2% in 2015 compared to 2014. Whether you have or have not seen an increase in online giving, now’s a great time to check your digital fundraising strategy. Specifically, take a look at your calls-to-action. Are they effective? Is there room for improvement? Following are nine tips to increase your donations:
1. Use actionable language
The wording used in your call to action influences donors. Tell donors what they are getting for their donation dollars as you encourage them to give. Also, use action words that motivate the donor. Writing, “Donate now,” doesn’t tell your donors how their money will be used. A more compelling call-to-action is “Help fund school supplies to children.”
2. Tell people what to do
After sharing your pitch, don’t assume they will send money, share the content, or volunteer. Your readers may be motivated to help but not make the connection that their funds are necessary for your success. That’s why your call-to-action should tell your donors exactly what to do, whether you want them to donate money, share on social media, or volunteer: “Donate now” “Share this with your friends” “Sign up to volunteer”
3. Emphasize urgency
Whether you need $10,000 by tomorrow or next month, urgency in your call to actions will motivate donors to share their resources with you. You can create urgency in your call to actions when you share statistics. For example:
“Three out of five dogs in animal shelters die. Donate today and save a dog’s life.”
You should also set a deadline for donations instead of leaving the ability to give open indefinitely. People have short attention spans and are likely to forget to donate if you don’t share a deadline.
If someone has agreed to give matching funds, be sure to share that, too. Many donors will give if they know their money will be doubled.
4. Share a powerful story
Before you encourage people to give to your organization, connect with them. A powerful story shares your cause as it connects with emotions and tells donors why to give. It also gives donors real-life examples of how their money is put to work.
The story should be personal. For example, share a story of a client who is no longer homeless because of your contributions, or a pet you were able to rescue. You can even have one of the people you help write the story or record a video sharing his or her experiences. After you connect with donors via a powerful story, insert the call-to-action and encourage them to continue making a difference — one life at a time.
5. Design a donation button that pops
Donors may give more if they have to click a button rather than a link. To attract attention and donations, make your button pop off the page and test different colors, designs and text on the button. This is especially important for the button on your landing page.
6. Make your call-to-action prominent
Resist the temptation to add your call-to-action as an afterthought. It should be a prominent part of your digital campaign. Spend as much time crafting your call-to-action as you spend writing the story or other copy.
7. Add a click trigger message
Near your call to action, include a message that motivates people to click the donation button. It can answer a popular donor question, remove a barrier to donating, mention why they should give, or make the donor feel good. A good click trigger message can go a long way toward motivating donors and getting them to take the obvious next step — donating. “Reduce poverty today” “Be part of the solution” “Yes, I want to help”
8. Test different versions
After creating your call to action, test it to make sure it does compel donors to give. Test your call to action by creating multiple versions. Switch the wording, location, or appearance of the call-to-action in all versions and see which one gains the most clicks. Tools like Optimizely and Unbounce allow you to test the effectiveness of your call to action. Use the data gathered to optimize your call to action with tweaks to its wording, design, and page placement.
9. Don’t forget mobile devices
Your supporters may be on a mobile device when they come across your site; make sure the mobile version of your site is ready for them. Your mobile version might need slightly different wording and visuals from your desktop site in order to be effective.
Your organization can increase donations when you include an effective call to action on your web pages and other digital fundraising channels. Motivate your donors to give and improve your online donations with these tips. Which step will you take first?
Jeremy S. is the Vice President of Operations at Goodwill Car Donations. Handling many car donations, he has become quite an expert in the past five years that he has been with Goodwill Car Donations.