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Small Changes for Big Results: How to Optimize Your Online Donations


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Is your online donation form communicating a strong reason for site visitors to take action and donate? Perhaps it’s time to take a critical look at your online donation form and how it’s motivating – or not motivating – your prospective donors. Research shows that even small changes can generate big results! Join us to learn more about some best practices that can improve and optimize your online fundraising efforts.

This presentation is courtesy of Heather Ballachey of iATS Payments in Vancouver, Canada.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Small Changes for Big Results: How to Optimize Your Online Donations

  1. 1. Small Changes for Big Results: How to Optimize Your Online Donations NetSquared Vancouver October 7, 2014
  2. 2. Tonight! • Warm-up • The problems with online donation forms • Why they matter • The solutions • Group challenge!
  3. 3. Question • How is your organization driving traffic to your website and online donation form?
  4. 4. Sources Email Print advertising Events Social Media Search marketing TV? Direct Mail Transit / out of home Face to face
  5. 5. Why it matters… • 85% of US adults are online on a daily basis • 73% are on some type of social media • Online giving was up 13.5% in 2013 – Accounted for 6.4% of all giving in 2013 • A total of $8.3 billion in Canadian donations in 2012 Sources: Pew Research Center, Blackbaud 2013 Charitable Giving Report, Statistics Canada
  6. 6. Online donors… • Dominant channel for new donors (64 or younger) = online • Online-acquired donors have a much higher cumulative value • Online donors tend to give larger gifts Source: 2011 donorCentrics Internet and Multichannel Giving Benchmarking Report
  7. 7. Question #2 • Do you know the conversion rate of site visitors to online donations? • Do you know the abandonment rate of your online donation form? • Please share your data – no judgment!
  8. 8. Problem Source:, Alissa Ruehl, 2013
  9. 9. Solutions • Avoid third party redirects – Up to 70% of donors abandon when they’re redirected to another site – Keep donors on your site – Focus on continuity of look and feel – even the URL (if possible)
  10. 10. • Offer a compelling call to action – Tell them why they need to donate TODAY – Incite them to take action! – Make the appeal feel personal Solutions
  11. 11. • Eliminate unnecessary fields on the donation form • What data do you really need – and use? • Less is more! Solutions
  12. 12. Question • Do you know how many fields are on your organization’s online donation form? • How many clicks does it take to find your form and make a donation?
  13. 13. Problem
  14. 14. Why it matters… • If site visitors can’t find it instantly, what’s the point? • Assume they’ve never been to your site or heard of your organization before • Simple math: – Convert more site visitors to donors! – 1,000 visits @ 1% conversion = 10 donors – 1,000 visits @ 3% conversion = 30 donors!
  15. 15. • Make your donation CTA front and centre! • Use obvious language • Refine and test navigation • Offer multiple access points in the navigation Solutions
  16. 16. Problem Source:, Alissa Ruehl, 2013
  17. 17. Why it matters… • 30% of traffic to nonprofit and charity websites is now from mobile • 15% of donations are coming from mobile web browsers – This number is growing! • Don’t lose them because the process is cumbersome! Source: Artez Interactive, “Mobile Matters”
  18. 18. • Invest in responsive design – For the donation form landing page at LEAST • TEST the donation process from a mobile device Solutions
  19. 19. Problem
  20. 20. Why it matters… • Huge increase to lifetime value of donor • Reduce costs for handling donations • Reduces ‘donor inertia’ – Donors have to make an effort to cancel the gift • Keep it straightforward and easy when they’re inspired!
  21. 21. • Ask them for a recurring gift! • Don’t separate one-time gift form and recurring gift form • Make the process easy and intuitive Solutions
  22. 22. Considerations • Payment processing integration – Monthly gifts automatically processed or manually processed – How to handle credit card data • ACH (direct debit) as a payment method ideal for recurring – Less rejected transactions than credit cards and lower processing costs – Churches love ACH for tithing
  23. 23. Final Thoughts • Visual representation of security – https:// vs http – Other icons to reassure donor their data is safe • Credit card fraud prevention – Payment processor tools – Fraud targeted to charities – Avoid the refund scam!
  24. 24. Group Challenge • Grab your phones, phablets or tablets! • Grab a partner (or partners) • Go to their org’s form • Try to make an online donation!
  25. 25. Discuss… • Is the call to action compelling? • Where is the form on the site’s navigation? • What does it look like on your device? – Can you enter your details? • Can you set up a recurring gift?
  26. 26. Conclusions
  27. 27. Thank you!