More than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations are currently operating across the United States according to a recent report from the National Center for Charitable Statistics. Each of those groups focuses on making a difference in people’s lives, communities, and the world as a whole. While all of them are certainly worthwhile, certain organizations garner more attention and bring in more donations for their causes than others.
Though millions of potential donors with common interests are out there, convincing them to get involved and make contributions isn’t always as simple as asking them to. In some cases, even drawing their interest to begin with can be a struggle. If you’re looking to increase engagement and get those donations rolling in, the key to success lies largely in your website. Certain measures can greatly boost your online donor engagement and conversion rates.
Focus on Website Design
Though improving visibility through SEO is crucial, it’s only one piece of the puzzle. It’s also important to make sure visitors have a positive experience once they reach your website. That’s where website design comes into play. Of course, it’s a complex aspect with numerous factors to consider.
Different organizations have diverse needs when it comes to the layout and other visual elements of their websites. For companies that are selling products and services, having a vibrant, dynamic website is often recommended. Flashy animations, product descriptions, exciting pop-ups, and other tools help catch people’s attention and encourage them to make purchases.
Studies indicate that’s not necessarily true when it comes to nonprofits. Visitors to your website and others like it want to see information about your organization and the work you do without being bombarded by unnecessary ads and sales tactics. Keeping things relatively simple is typically more effective for charitable organizations’ websites. Give them visual elements, but make sure they’re substantial and relevant to your organization and its cause.
At the same time, it’s a good idea to present donors with a clearly organized and easily navigable website. We’ve all encountered those chaotic sites that make it difficult to even find the information we’re looking for much less act on it and ultimately take us around in circles when we click on internal links. We also know what happens when we find ourselves on one of those sites: we leave them without taking further action. Make sure your website’s functionality works for your cause rather than against it.
Be sure your website is mobile-friendly as well. Based on reports released last year, more than 90 percent of the population visits the internet via mobile devices at this point. Standard websites don’t function properly on mobile devices. Optimizing your site for mobile visitors will boost your ranks in search results and make you more visible to prospects.
People expect instant gratification these days, so just how quickly your website and internal pages load certainly makes a difference. Most expect websites to be fully loaded in less than two seconds though Google itself prefers sites to load in less than half a second. If your website doesn’t load quickly enough to meet users’ expectations, they’ll abandon it and move on to the next.
Those are only a few of the important elements of website design. Professional website design covers those bases and many others. It’ll ensure you have a site that’s visually appealing and fully functional. As such, prospects will be more likely to interact with your website and ultimately convert to donors and advocates.
Make Your Calls to Action Obvious
Most people aren’t willing to spend a great deal of time scouring nonprofit websites in hopeless attempts to find out how they can donate. If they can’t find your calls to action fairly quickly, they’ll give up and walk away. Be sure your “Donate Now” buttons are clearly visible and unmistakable. It’s also a good idea to strategically place multiple calls to action on your website and its individual pages. This simple step alone will greatly increase your donor engagement rates.
Make It Personal
Prospects typically want to learn as much as they can about a cause before they contribute to it. That means providing in-depth information about your cause is imperative. That said, potential donors also want to know more about your organization specifically and why they should choose it over others in your field.
Because of that, you’ll need to provide precise information about what you do. Post pictures and videos of your volunteers at work in the community. Offer details about the events you’ve held and how they’ve impacted the cause. Keep in mind, visitors to your website are in varying stages of the conversion funnel. Give them information about your cause, but also provide increasingly more specific details about your organization to draw them further in.
Offer Donors Multiple Options
In truth, most people have causes they’re passionate about and want to donate to relevant charitable organizations. Unfortunately, only about 50 percent actually have enough extra money in their budgets to do so, and that number is getting smaller each year. Consider giving visitors alternatives to making cash donations.
Offer people the option to volunteer to help with community events. Give them opportunities to organize fundraising events of their own and donate the profits to your organization. There are several ways you can boost engagement by allowing prospects to contribute physically rather than financially. As is the case with “Donate Now” buttons, be sure to make those alternate calls to action readily visible to visitors.
Improve Your SEO Strategy
Whether you’re operating a major multinational corporation or a local, community-based nonprofit, SEO is essential for ramping up visibility and encouraging viewer engagement. SEO, or search engine optimization, is a significant factor in making your website more visible to donors. It’s what brings up your website when people search for charitable organizations that focus on the causes they’re passionate about.
If you have all the right SEO strategies in place, the search engines will see your organization’s relevance. In turn, they’ll place its website at the top of people’s searches. Then, prospects will visit your website as opposed to those of other organizations in your field. That gets your foot in the door with potential donors, which is the first step in fostering donor engagement. Considering the number of nonprofits that are currently up and running, this measure is especially valuable.
Get More People Involved in Your Cause
Improving donor engagement is vital for nonprofit organizations. That’s a bit easier said than done, though. Refining your website design and SEO strategy can go a long way toward encouraging visitors to interact. Providing details about your organization and how you work for your cause makes the experience more personal and further encourages involvement. Simplifying the donation process and giving prospects multiple ways to help can also greatly boost donor engagement.
At Donor Love Digital, we’re passionate about helping nonprofits build effective websites. Let us do our part to improve your online engagement rates, bring in new leads, and expand your network of volunteers and donors. As a result, you’ll be able to raise awareness for your cause and extend your outreach programs to even more people who need your help.