It’s no secret to anyone in the nonprofit space that the holiday season is a critical time of year for reaching new supporters, engaging current supporters, and driving donations. In fact, it’s the time of year when most organizations can expect to receive many of their largest donations. Canadians are compelled to generosity during the ‘giving season’, and many express it by making charitable donations.
Summer is the perfect time to prepare for this critical giving time. Take time now to ensure your organization is thinking strategically about how you can use digital to drive holiday donations.
Optimize Your Homepage Your organization’s website is your most powerful tool. For starters, it is often the first online touch point for most people discovering your organization. Second, your website has a strong influence on whether or not someone will donate to your cause. So, it is imperative that your website properly reflects your mission and gives visitors the correct impression of your organization, as these visitors are prospective donors.
Since the holiday season is such a busy time, be sure that as soon as a prospective donor hits your site, they can quickly and easily navigate to the donation page. The easiest way to do this is to ensure your “Donate” button is in a prominent place on your homepage, ideally in your site header. Choose a colour that stands out from the rest of the content on the page so that it is easy to spot. If a visitor has to look for too long or scroll to find that button, they will likely leave your site and you will have missed the opportunity to convert that visitor into a donor.
If you are running a specific holiday focused campaign, make sure this is also evident on your homepage. Use the prime real estate space on your website, the section above the fold, to promote your holiday campaign. When potential supporters visit your site, they should easily be able to learn about your holiday campaign, the campaign goals, and how they can donate – they will feel excited and compelled to give to your organization during the ‘giving season’. The holiday season generally evokes positive emotions, so keep this in mind when crafting your holiday campaign and be sure to use appropriate copy and visuals on your homepage, along with a clear call to action for site visitors to donate to your holiday campaign.
Give Your Donation Form a Makeover So, you have managed to get a site visitor to click through from your homepage to your donation form. Now what? This is the time to ensure your online donation forms are optimized for those donors looking to make holiday and year-end donations.
The goal of your donation form is to have someone make a donation to your organization. You want to make it as easy and simple as possible for someone to do this. But, with that being said, there are some quick ways you can give your donation form a holiday makeover. Create a seamless experience for your donor by having a donation form that aligns with your holiday campaign and message.
Donors are more persuaded to give when they know the tangible results of how their donation will make a difference. And, research has also shown that donors tend to give more during the holiday season*. So, use this as an opportunity to add suggested donation amounts to your donation forms that better reflect your organizations average gift size at the holidays. If possible, also include an impact statement that relates to each donation amount. For example, “A $100 dollar donation will provide a water purification system to a family in need”. If you communicate the direct impact that different donation amounts can have, you often can persuade donors to give more.
Mobile, Mobile, Mobile! According to the Blackbaud Charitable Giving Report 2015, nearly 14% of all online donations in 2015 were made using a mobile device. It is evident that mobile devices have become a key part of the online giving process, and your organization needs to ensure that your website and donation forms are optimized for mobile. If your website is not mobile-friendly, you are missing out on potential donations. This is especially likely during the holidays, when you are experiencing increased traffic and donations, and donors are on-the-go and won’t waste too much time looking for that “Donate” button. If your website and donation forms are not yet mobile optimized, this should be your first priority. Maybe, make it a summer project?
Kathleen Grace, Director, Digital Strategy at Stephen Thomas Ltd specializes in digital and integrated marketing strategy and works with clients to ensure they are thinking strategically about their digital channels when it comes to meeting and exceeding their fundraising and marketing objectives. Connect with Kathleen via Twitter @KathleenRGrace, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.