woman shopping with a credit card on a laptop
August 25, 2020

Nonprofit website edits you can make now to boost year-end giving

Donna Bungard

Get a head start with ensuring your online presence makes it easy for people to donate during the year-end giving season.

The last three months of the year are the busiest for nonprofit fundraising as people participate in year-end giving. One-third of all charitable donations occur in the month of December alone. In addition to this, more and more people are donating money online; the total online revenue for nonprofits grew by 10% last year.

At the same time, as COVID-19 continues to impact communities, societies and economies around the world in unprecedented ways, we know the revenue streams of nonprofits have been hit hard. Charitable fundraising streams have also been affected with traditional, in-person, methods put on hold as we follow physical distancing and large gathering guidelines. COVID-19 has shone a spotlight on the essential role many charities and nonprofits play. Promising findings gathered during the pandemic explain most donors plan to maintain — or even increase — the amount they give to charity in 2020

We are seeing many of the nonprofits we partner with starting conversations about their year-end giving plans now, earlier than they have in previous years. Charitable organizations are doubling down on improving their online presence and focussing on how they can make it easier for people to support them online by revising their content strategy.

We recommend these 3 changes to your nonprofit website to boost 2020 year-end giving: 

1. Make it easier to donate.

  • Review your content for clarity. By using clear and simple words, you’ll ensure your content can be read by the greatest number of people possible. Since people read 25% slower on a screen compared to reading words on paper, keep it as brief as possible and write for scannability, use bullet points, lists, buttons and bold text.
  • Review the ease of your user experience (UX). User need and behavior changes over time, a good way to ensure your site is still meeting the needs of your users is to test and refine the user experience on your site. How clear are your donate buttons? Do you have clear giving amounts? Consider making it easy to sign up for monthly donations as this type of regular giving is gaining in popularity.

Khoi Vin’s excellent podcast series Wireframe has a recent episode about how design tweaks in their UX worked to increase giving for the bigger platforms such as GoFundMe, Kickstarter, and Chuffed (28 mins).

2. Tell real stories.

  • Help donors visualize the impact of their donation by turning suggested fundraising amounts into tangible and positive outcomes. For example, a one-time donation could provide a Christmas dinner for a family of 4 who is going through difficult times. Or a monthly donation could give safe shelter and support to a young person, giving them the ability to enroll in school full time:
Screengrab from the Covenant House website storytelling page.
Covenant House storytelling case studies. 
  • Bring your stories to life with embedded images, films and quotes from the people whose lives will be affected by each donation. Also think about where you are telling your story. Facebook giving accounted for 3.5% of all online revenue, mainly focussed around Giving Tuesday (the first Tuesday following Thanksgiving.) Align your website and social media channels to get the most out of valuable year-end giving moments. 
  • Clarity is the key to conversion! Don’t be afraid to remove content that confuses your key message or is merely underperforming. Delete or archive it and focus on content that’s on message and has a clear call to action. Every call to action should have two main goals: to get your donor to do something and give them the motivation to do it. Make sure your call to action is clear and tells people what to do and why in the most direct way possible.

3. Ensure accessibility.

Having an inaccessible website could mean losing potential donors but more importantly for many industries including nonprofits, it could also mean breaking the law. With 1 in 4 US adults living with a disability and many more with temporary or unreported disabilities, it’s vital your site follows web content accessibility guidelines (WACG.)

  • Adding captions and transcripts to your videos and films will ensure the greatest amount of people will be able to access your content. Doing this will also help search engines pick up your film and index it, improving your visibility in organic searches. 
  • Ensure your donation forms are screen-reader friendly! With many donor personas in aging groups, form labels and functionality are critical to the donation process.
  • Make your alternative tags meaningful to help convey the need you’re displaying.

To learn more about accessibility, read our this blog post on our favorite tools and tech to ensure your site is accessible.

The feel good factor with year-end giving.

You want to make your donors feel empowered. Showcasing your success and impact in a clear way will help people to better understand how their contribution will make a difference. Building a digital connection with your donors will only become more important as giving becomes more common online.

  • Make it easy for people to donate, 
  • make it crystal clear where their money is going, and 
  • include them in your success story. 

Jeff Brooks, Creative Director of TrueSense Marketing explains the importance of making your donors an integral part of the success story you tell online: 

‘If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them,’ 

The time to get started for year-end giving is now! Don’t wait till you’re overwhelmed if you need support. It’s an unusual year for us all and we get that you’ve got a lot on your plate already. Kanopi is here to support you, so if you need a hand, contact us and we will help you get your content strategy in top shape ahead of the busy fundraising season.