5 Tips to Increase Online Donations For Your Nonprofit

Charities run on donations, and so in this digital age it makes sense that 94% of nonprofits accept online donations through their website [2021]. With that many nonprofits and charities employing online strategies to seek donations, we see variability in what tactics are the most successful. However, there are a couple tips and tricks that nonprofits can adopt to see an immediate increase in donations.

  1. Make Your Donate Button Bigger and More Prominent 

When you are designing your webpage, you know a donation button makes sense. You may feel like it’s too big, or too brash to have it so bright and centred. Don’t worry – it’s not! Chances are it could be bigger or more noticeable. 

People who are navigating your website understand that you are a charity! It is expected that you are looking for donations so don’t be shy about it. Have your donate buttons prominent and often. 

Example: The Foodbank Project

Here the placement is prominent, “above the fold”, clear and concise. If you scroll down the page you see how you can donate different items. Also note that there is a ‘Donate’ button/tab in the header. 

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Your donate button should not only be on your homepage, but displayed on every page. A great way to do this is by including it in your header – often seen on the far right side. Your button can simply say “Donate” or it can also consist of other call-to-actions such as “Support Our Work”, “Help Make a Difference”, or “Give a Gift.” Keep the message concise and relevant, and try to start with an action verb. 

Entice people to donate by changing up your call-to-action. Using “Donate” simply is always great, but if you have it several times it becomes redundant and may look excessive. Your call-to-action should be part of a story, which will help you increase online donations. 

  2. Optimize Your Ask Ladder

The Ask Ladder refers to the set of suggested donation amounts found on a donation page. It allows prospective donors to easily donate one of the predetermined amounts with a simple click. This can either be done for a one time donation or to set up a monthly donation. 

Choose 4 to 6 amounts, and most importantly, make sure the prices make sense for your organization. If you increase the donation amounts, you are likely to get higher donations! 

Example: The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation

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In this example you can see that the highest set donation amount is 10x higher than the lowest. That is a big range! It also pre-selects the 2nd lowest amount rather than the lowest or none at all. 

Salesforce Elevate recommends that your ask ladder starts at a base amount of 100% with each subsequent step at 150%, 200%, 400%, 800%, and 1500%. 

By increasing your ask or median suggested donation, you are increasing the likelihood of receiving higher donations. Once of the biggest mistakes fundraisers make is not asking for the right number. Prospect Wisely is an AI powered fundraising and prospecting tool that analyzes your existing donor data, to generate a behavioural pattern that identifies which donors are ready to make a gift, when, and what amount they are likely to give. The tool also reminds you to communicate and follow up with them at the peak of their giving season. This way you are reaching out to the right donor, at the right time, with the right ask; accelerating your fundraising efforts.

Additionally, always make sure that you include an option for the donor to put in their own amount! This is especially important if the donor is making a donation with a personally significant amount, for example, a religiously significant nomination. 

3. Tell Donors Where Their Money Is Going – On The Form! 

On the Feeding America website, one click takes you to the donation page. At the top of the form they clearly state where your money is going, how far each dollar goes, and they even promote monthly donations. 

As a donor, you do not need to navigate away from this page to understand why your money is valuable to the organization. Having “the why” right above where you select your donation amount is very effective – it also means that someone is less likely to navigate away while filling out the form. When you are in person, it is easier to impart the urgency of your work, so in order to increase online donations, we need to convey that as much as possible on the form itself.

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4. Keep Your Donation Form Concise 

The goal is to make it as easy and simple as possible. If it becomes too cumbersome, you might lose a valuable donation. 

In Canada there is a minimum amount of information required in order to issue an official donation receipt (click here to learn more). 

So what is necessary? You can decide to make getting a receipt optional, in which case you don’t need to obtain their address. However, generally speaking here is what you should require from donors: 

  1. Name – First and Last
  2. Email
  3. Phone Number 
  4. Address
  5. Their choice of where their money is going ** if this is something your charity offers ** 

At the YMCA there is minimal information asked, but they do include an option to receive additional communication and a drop down menu for where you would like your donation to go with a preselected option. 

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5. Place Your Call-To-Action On As Many Social Media Platforms As Possible

Your call-to-actions should be clear, easy to understand, and tell a person why they should want to donate. 

Whether someone is viewing your charity from your website, Facebook, or Instagram, there should be a quick and obvious pathway to donating. The name of the game is increasing ease and decreasing the amount of time and steps it takes for someone to donate. If they have to leave your social media account to look up your website to find where to donate, that is already too many steps. In order to increase online donations, have a link or a button that takes them to a donation form as quickly as possible. 

This can be done simply by adding a donation button to your Facebook account like St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital: 

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On Instagram, many organizations compile their important links together. For example, if you click the link in World Vision Canada’s bio, it opens a second page with different link options including the link “fight hunger” which immediately opens a donation page. 

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In this case the call-to-action was not to donate, but to fight hunger which is what your donations do. This is an impassioned and effective way to encourage people to contribute. 

Social media is an essential tool to reach more potential donors, supporters, and volunteers. Through your posts you are teaching people why your cause is important and how your organization is making an impact. If this is where they are learning the benefits of your charity, this is when they are going to feel the most impassioned to help! Make sure you make it easy for them to do so with clear messaging and links.

If you want to increase your visibility, and expand your outreach with an effective  social media strategy but lack the time, resources and content, Storytell Wisely can help you. Wisely’s storytelling agency–backed by its AI powered data analytics–builds your social media brand from the ground up, tells the right story and the right time, to the right people i.e. your potential donors, volunteers, partners/allies to motivate and engage them in your cause, it also expands your digital outreach by connecting you with media outlets and influential speakers who can advocate for your mission on their large platforms. Growing your audience organically will increase online engagement and thus, increase online donations. 

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