Six tips to boost your online donations

Ben May, Marketing Manager, Charities, CAF

Fundraising for a small charity is hard work. I don’t have to tell you that.

Non-existent fundraising budgets, lack of expertise and lack of time, can make you feel that you’re missing out on opportunities to raise more from your donors.

That’s why it’s so important that you make the most of the fundraising activities you are committed to – like your online donation journey. Here are some tips to help you get it right.

1  Make it super easy

Is the donation button or page prominent?

How many clicks does it take for someone to be able to make a donation?

One of the key benefits of online giving is the speed and convenience for your donors. Unfortunately, too many charities make their online donation process unnecessarily complicated.

Once donors arrive at your donation page they’re ready to give. You need to offer them the fewest number of steps possible to complete a donation. This means including a minimum number of fields on your donation form and allowing donors to give without requiring them to log in or create an account.

When a donor or prospective donor hits donate, you don’t want to distract them from the action of donating. If you can, remove the menu tab in your website header, sidebars and any other calls to action (like newsletter sign-up forms, menu tabs, etc). Feature only the key information that will help them complete the donation.

Your donation process should be easy to understand without much, if any, guidance. If you have to explain it, it’s not easy enough! Take a look at how Neuroblastoma UK and Right to Life UK have made it easy for their donors to donate online.

2  Make your online donation form user friendly

With 26% of UK donations being made online according to our latest UK Giving report, it’s crucial for charities to have a user friendly online donation form available on their websites.

If donating feels too much like hard work, people give up. So when creating your donation form, be sure to make it clear, user friendly and most importantly, mobile responsive. The Charitable Giving 2018 report found that online giving to UK non-profit organisations increased 5.5% in 2018.

3  Make it match — brand consistency

Building and maintaining relationships with your donors is the key to fundraising. And the value of your charity’s brand is vital in helping to maintain trust with your supporters.

Make sure that you have consistency across your website and communication channels. The use of different fonts, colours and tone of voice can all impact on how donors perceive your organisation. Donors like to give to the brands that they trust.

Also, make sure that the copy and call to action on your donation page reflects what you’ve used in your marketing and communications. This is called ‘message match’ — a marketing term that refers to consistency throughout your campaign.

4  Make more than one ask

On many charity websites the only call to action and supporter journey available to supporters is their “Donate Now” button. This misses a major opportunity to engage different types of supporters in different ways and to link their donation to a specific impact right from the beginning of the journey.

Our CAF Donate charities tell us that one of the most effective ways of increasing donations is to have more than one online appeal, project or fundraising campaign live on your website at the same time. Some donors might be more interested in donating to one project over another.

Another advantage of regularly launching online appeals is that they provide new reasons for supporters to give, with the possibility of linking each new appeal journey you create to a fresh marketing campaign. For instance many of our CAF Donate charities set up new appeals specifically for Giving Tuesday.

Take a look at how Bournemouth Parks Foundation and Humanity Without Boarders have used multiple appeals on their websites.

5  Make sure you show the impact

Demonstrate to your donors how the money they donate will make a difference to your cause.

Case studies, testimonials, statistical data and videos from work in the field will give donors the confidence that their contributions are making an impact, and encourage more giving.

6  Make use of your supporters

The most important part of any fundraising campaign is to spread the word. As a small charity you’ll have committed supporters who have a passion for the campaign or project you’re raising funds for.

Make sure you use them. Send them the link to your donation page and give them an email that they can forward onto their friends and family.

Follow these tips and you’ll be on the way to boosting your online donations. And if your charity is not yet accepting donations online then enter our Small Charity Week competition. Not only could you be raising funds online in no time, you could also win £750!