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How to prepare your website for the year-end giving season

October 24, 2021
Two nonprofit professionals sit at a table with a laptop, paper, and a pen to prepare their website for the year-end giving season.

One of the best tools your nonprofit organization has when it comes to year-end fundraising is its website. When you design (or revamp) your website using a nonprofit-specific content management system (CMS), you’ll be prepared to meet your year-end donors’ needs and your fundraising goals. 

In this guide, we’ll cover four best practices you can implement on your organization’s website, regardless of web design experience. With the right nonprofit website builder, you can easily make changes that will have a big impact on your year-end results, setting you up for success in the new year! Let’s get started with our first best practice. 

1. Ensure your donation form is easy to use.

Your donation form is the most important part of your website at any time of the year, so make sure to revisit it in anticipation of the year-end giving season. Ensure your form is simple, easy to use, and convenient for your donors to access so they can fit donating into their busy holiday schedules. 

According to Morweb’s article on donation page design tips, here are the top ways to optimize your donation form:

  • Brand your donation form. A branded form will boost brand awareness and build trust with donors. Customize your form to display your organization’s logo, color schemes, and any other visual elements that help your supporters recognize your nonprofit.
  • Optimize your donation form for mobile devices. Many of your donors will be giving on the go, so your donation form (and the rest of your website) should be responsive to smartphones and tablets. This means your form should automatically adjust to fit the size of the screen your donor is using. Choose a nonprofit CMS that will do this for you so you can avoid slow load speeds and ensure your form’s fields are “thumb-friendly.”
  • Use a minimalist form design. Keep the donation form simple by only asking for necessary information, marking required fields, and condensing your donation appeal. Space out your content to make it easy for donors to comprehend everything at a glance. 

After implementing these tips, test out your improved donation form. Simply split a group of staff members or volunteers in two, have them use two different versions of your donation form, and ask them for feedback. 

Keep the changes minimal between the two forms (ideally limiting it to one difference per test), to clearly identify what is working and what isn’t. This will help you know what your donors’ experience will be like during your campaign. 

2. Offer multiple ways to give and get involved.

Every donor has a different giving capacity, especially during the holiday season. For example, some people may receive bonuses on their paychecks while others have smaller budgets after buying gifts for loved ones. Donors appreciate when the organizations they care about recognize this and offer multiple ways to contribute. 

Here are some ways you can design your website to diversify your donors’ involvement options: 

  • Include a matching gift search tool on your donation page. The year-end season brings out donors’ generosity, and many of them would take advantage of corporate gift matching if they knew their employer offered it. Select a matching gift provider to add a matching gift search tool to your donation page. Donors can then find out if they’re eligible for donation matching and increase their impact.
  • Allow donors to opt-in to a recurring gift program on your donation form. Your donors may have a New Year’s resolution to give to your organization on a regular basis. Allow them to opt-in to your monthly giving program, and they’ll be billed automatically each month. This will provide a consistent revenue stream for your organization and a consistent giving habit for your donor!
  • Share volunteer opportunities. Some donors won’t be able to contribute financially but still want to get involved through your volunteer program (or even do both). Make sure to have a dedicated volunteer page or portal where you post up-to-date volunteer information and opportunities for supporters. 

Every contribution to your cause makes a difference. Let your supporters know you value them, no matter what they give, by ensuring you have a system in place for thanking donors and volunteers. For the year-end season, you could even send handwritten holiday cards to add a personal touch. 

3. Create year-end event landing pages.

The year-end giving season can be a great time for hosting events that help you end your year with a bang. Whether you host a large-scale gala to celebrate successes or a virtual benefit concert to pull in last-minute donations, create dedicated year-end event landing pages to keep information organized. 

Include all the details your guests will need about each event, such as: 

  • Its purpose and connection to your cause 
  • Your fundraising goal for the event 
  • Date, time, location, and parking details
  • Livestream links for virtual or hybrid events 
  • Information about attire (especially important for themed events, like a Winter Wonderland gala)
  • Link to the registration form
  • Online store with event merchandise
  • Entertainment, catering, and sponsors 
  • Auction items and bidding information 
  • Sign-up options for your newsletter, recurring gift program, and volunteer opportunities 

Another fun element to include on your event landing page is a fundraising thermometer. This can help your guests see how close you are to reaching your campaign goal and encourage them to give more. 

4. Encourage social sharing with social media integration.

Whether you’re hosting a walk-a-thon fundraiser, planning a fancy gala, or setting up a text fundraising campaign, you’ll want supporters to share your year-end campaign with their families and friends. 

Social media is the best tool at your disposal to get your supporters talking about your cause and year-end fundraising goals. Here are some features to add to your website to encourage social sharing:

  • Social media icons. Social media icons signal to your supporters that you have a social media presence and want to connect with them. They encourage your supporters to quickly click through and share an event landing page or donation form with their social media followers.
  • Live social media feeds. With the right nonprofit CMS, you can embed a live feed into your website. Display live feeds on your homepage so that website visitors can see updates on year-end fundraisers. A live feed encourages visitors to move back and forth between your social media profiles and your website, building an integrated approach to marketing. 

By employing these social media features on your website, you’ll make it easier for supporters to spread the word about your cause and year-end goals. Remember to thank supporters who share your social media or website content. This can be as simple as a “thank you” in the comments or a direct message. 

Make the most of this season of giving

As you strategize for your end-of-year campaign and use this guide to prepare your website, remember to take a walk in your supporters’ shoes. Think through what resources they need to get involved in your year-end fundraiser and how you can use your website to make them feel acknowledged and valued by your organization.

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