Digital Tools #1

Make sure you're working smarter

When we meet with prospective web clients who are looking for ways to better engage with their audience, we start with a key question: What is the purpose of your website?

We’re not surprised when we don’t get a clear answer to what seems to be a simple question. Websites are complex and can be used for a variety of purposes. Since we work closely with various non-profit organizations, we know that the answer to our question depends on who is being asked. The development team knows the site is for donations. The program wants a healthy overview of services and well-articulated vision statement for grant proposals. Board members want to make sure the site represents policies and has the ability to educate the public. The HR specialist want a clear link to job opportunities and a site that makes the organization a fun place to be. The designer is looking for great photos, design and less copy. 

Taking each need in its own silo produces four very different looking websites. 

From a fundraising perspective, the number one need is donations. we know that an increasing number of donors are searching for places to give online. In fact, when WE review the site analytics for organizations that take donations, we often see a beeline to the donation portal--kind of a purposefully direct pathway without taking time to browse. 

We know that online giving grew over 20% last year. So one main purpose for your non-profit organization’s website should be to engage potential donors and encourage them to give. As more and more donors shift their focus to online donations, organizations today must make sure the giving process is smooth.

Some of the questions we'll ask are:  

  • Does your website make visitors want to give? Is it engaging?
  • Does your website make it easy for visitors to give?
  • Does your website tell potential donors why they should give?
  • When a visitor does give, do they leave your website with a good feeling?
  • Your website is a key tool to engage your current donors. It's also a great place to cultivate and acquire new donors. That’s why we build websites with your donors in mind, making it easy for them to become long-term financial supporters. 

We make sure your website makes communication, education and cultivation easy. But as we pointed out in our Myth series, your website is one of millions. You want to make it stand out. Make it a place where people want to come. More than that, make it a place donors, supporters and even strangers want to share with others. 

It takes more than a static site to do that. 

So here’s what we know about online giving and how we have designed Barefoot Web to meet the needs of your donors:

  1. The donation process must be consistent, easy to do and transparent. Don't ask for too much information -- just what you need. The form should be quick and easy. 
  2. Be smart about getting people to your site. Links from an email, social media post or a physical mail appeal connects directly to the project you are raising funds.
  3. Use effective landing pages specific to the campaign. Make unique pages for every communication tool you've use so you can track the effectiveness of the campaign. Using Barefoot Web makes landing pages a breeze. And when you match it with Barefoot Analytics, you can track your donations by appeal. This makes it easy to analyze and evaluate the impact of the campaign.
  4. The donation process must be seamless. Do not send your donors down rabbit trails. The best practise is to make it possible for donors to give is right on the landing page, especially if you are providing a monthly giving option. 
  5. One click donation process. Studies have shown that simple donation landing pages that use clear communication to drive donors to give are the most effective in actually raising funds. Barefoot Web integrates your brand logo and colours into the payment platform and allows you to integrate recurring giving options, creating a friction-free giving process. 

More than that, every donation button can be unique, tracking that donation to the project, gift, product or program the donor is interested in. They don't have to choose from a list of programs -- it's automatic. 

When donors feel good about the process, they are confident in you. The professional attitude they get adds to their confidence of fiscal responsibility and effectiveness. When they finalize their donation, they need to feel that they have contributed to something bigger than themselves—it’s that feel good moment. Barefoot Web allows you to customize your messaging for each appeal to reaffirm their giving commitment. And, of course, Barefoot Web is set up to immediately send a branded tax receipt.

Having a consistent, seamless and feel-good donation system is critical for building donor confidence in your organization. And if you are regularly offering a monthly gift offer, you are ensuring its ongoing success. But receiving online donations is only one part of the donation process because, while your donor’s work is done, your work is just beginning. 

Make sure the information you collect from every donation is secure, correct and saved in a DRM (Donor Relationship Management) tool. The tool should allow you to manage your supporters, making sure you personalize every communication. 

More about the DRM next week! 

Barefoot Digital has a suite of digital tools that make you work smarter not harder.

Contact us now to find out more.

 

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