- Digital communications & marketing
- Fundraising ideas
- Donor Engagement
Earning new supporters for your nonprofit organization can feel a lot like fishing. You bait your hook—whether by using social media ads, email newsletter campaigns, fundraising pushes, or direct mail outreach—and hope that it catches prospective donors’ attention.
One type of “bait” you might not have considered as an avenue for engaging new donors is your nonprofit’s website. When prospective supporters want to learn more about your organization and what it stands for, your website will be one of the first resources they turn to. To hook these visitors, ensure your site is optimized for not only sharing information about your purpose but also for converting potential supporters into donors.
In this quick guide, we’ll cover four ideas for attracting new donors with your nonprofit’s website.
1. Optimize the donor journey
Your website should facilitate a streamlined user experience that encourages supporters to start their donor journeys. Donor journeys consist of the actions and decisions donors make that impact if and how they decide to contribute to your nonprofit.
The first step to pushing a supporter along their donor journey is providing them with clear next actions they can take to get more involved through your website. Consider your nonprofit’s audience and how your website can appeal to each type of prospective donor. For instance, your prospective donor audience might consist of:
- Volunteers who have yet to donate
- Constituents who have benefited from your nonprofit’s services
- Advocates or engaged social media followers who have shown strong advocacy support for your cause
- Community members who are already familiar with your organization but need more information before donating
Once you have a grasp of who your prospective donors are, you can design your website to cater to each audience. For example, explore how the Boys & Girls Clubs of America appeals to each of its unique user groups:
This homepage drop-down menu allows users to choose the category they identify with, whether they’re a parent, teen, educator, alum, or supporter. This ensures that each visitor has access to personalized and relevant information, kicking off the awareness and research phases of the donor journey.
2. Use your site to tell your story
To earn prospective donors’ trust and support, you’ll need to highlight the emotional side of your purpose by telling your organization’s story. When you make an emotional connection with website visitors, you can gain their support for the long term.
Bring your story to the forefront using these website elements:
- Testimonials. Testimonials allow you to feature the perspectives of your volunteers, beneficiaries, staff members, donors, and other community members in their own words. For instance, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital includes powerful patient testimonials telling the stories of kids who received care through their organization.
- Your blog. Your blog is a great platform to feature updates on your nonprofit or share interviews with volunteers, staff members, donors, and constituents to highlight their emotional connection to your purpose. For instance, perhaps your organization is dedicated to saving endangered whale populations in the Atlantic ocean. You can share updates on your website’s blog, highlighting the stories of different whale pods you’ve tracked over the years or a recent volunteer experience where supporters removed trash from a coastal area.
- A digital annual report. When they’re streamlined and visually appealing, annual reports can tell your organization’s story in a succinct, compelling way. They back up your impact stories with hard data about the difference your organization makes in your issue area.
Once you’ve drawn website visitors in with your optimized homepage, your emotional impact stories will help convert casual visitors into passionate supporters of your cause.
3. Embed your donation form into your website
By embedding your donation form into your website, visitors can quickly make a donation whenever inspiration strikes. Plus, they’ll feel rest assured that their contributions will be handled properly by your organization.
Use these tips to optimize your embedded donation page:
- Keep the form short by only asking for necessary information.
- Offer suggested donation amounts to help visitors determine how much they should contribute.
- Add a link to your donation page on your homepage and in your navigation.
- Make your form accessible, inclusive, and optimized for mobile.
Whether you’re preparing your website for year-end giving, hosting a 24-hour giving day challenge, or simply sharing your site on social media, provide supporters with an easy and quick way to donate without leaving your site. Plus, your online donation page can save donors’ information to streamline the process the next time they want to donate.
4. Show prospective donors the benefits of giving
Along with promoting your organization’s story and impact, you can also use your website to share the benefits donors will receive by becoming an engaged or recurring contributor.
Use your website to highlight benefits such as:
- Thank-you gifts. Send donors little prizes as thanks for giving. This could include a free t-shirt with any donation of $100 or more or a monthly themed sticker that you send as part of your recurring donor program.
- Public recognition from your organization. Include a live social media feed on your website that features donor shout-outs. This shows prospective donors that when they join your cause, they have the opportunity to be recognized on a public platform.
- Personal fulfillment. Showcase testimonials from donors who contributed major gifts and inspired their family members to become lifelong donors as well. This gives prospective donors an idea of the long-lasting contributions they could make.
By promoting these benefits, you can show donors that they’ll get just as much out of their relationship with your nonprofit as your organization does. Plus, showcasing these benefits can demonstrate your organization’s dedication to appreciating its loyal donors.
A final note about attracting donors with your nonprofit website
Your website is your nonprofit’s go-to tool for showcasing what your organization is about and encouraging supporters to get involved. Optimize the donor experience so new supporters can quickly become familiar with your nonprofit, discover how they can get involved, and feel like giving will be worthwhile.