5 Tips for Nonprofits Seeking to Increase Website Donations

Liam Burns
Written by Liam Burns
September 24, 2020

How can nonprofits encourage more online donations during these uncertain times?

The good news is that you’ve already taken a huge step towards increasing donor engagement by maintaining a website. As of July 2020, more than 4.5 billion people around the world are active on the internet. That’s almost 60 percent of the planet’s population.

As a nonprofit organization, an online home allows you to tell your own story in your own terms. It also serves as a repository for important information and other essentials, such as expertly designed landing pages that urge your audience to make website donations.

Having a website is only the beginning, though. To boost nonprofit website donations, your target audience needs to know how and where to find you online.

Is Improving Website Traffic a Foolproof Way to Increase Nonprofit Website Donations?

It’s not a coincidence that more than 65% of companies use organic site traffic to measure the success of their content. Higher website traffic lays the groundwork for more potential donations, but it is far from a foolproof tactic to raise conversion rates.

More eyes on your website can raise brand awareness and business potential. It can also lead to more conversions across the board due to sheer numbers. To illustrate: If your typical conversion rate is 4% at 100 site visitors a day, it would be natural to expect double the number of donations with 200 daily site visitors.

However, attracting those sheer numbers should take a backseat to thoughtful engagement – especially in the context of a nonprofit marketing strategy. If your site visitors aren’t genuinely interested in your cause, they’re less likely to make a nonprofit website donation.

What is the use of driving large amounts of traffic to your nonprofit website if you’re not able to convey the purpose of your organization or convert visitors into donors? We’ll discuss relevant and actionable tips shortly, but in a nutshell, the lesson here is to prioritize the quality of your targeted marketing initiatives over the quantity of your site visitors.

5 Things Nonprofits Can Do to Encourage More Online Donations

You can increase nonprofit website donations through comprehensive and intentional tactics that don’t focus on attaining huge but temporary boosts in pageviews. This route is more effective and will result in more long-lasting effects.

With the ongoing pandemic, more than half of adults in the U.S. say that online access is essential. There are more people on the internet than ever before. Now is an opportune time to connect with your audience, improve engagement with existing donors, and nurture relationships with new and potential long term supporters of your cause.

Below are five ways nonprofits can increase online donations through raising website traffic.

1. Include the URL of Your Nonprofit Website in Your Physical Materials

Let’s start with the basics. If you distribute business cards or detail-oriented collateral like brochures or flyers, make sure your website URL is printed legibly on them. Do you send out direct mail newsletters and solicitations, too? Include the URL in your letterhead.

You can use a QR code or a vanity URL if you’re worried that people won’t take the time to type in your website address on their browsers. Tell your audience what to expect from your website, too. Pair the printed link or code with a compelling call to action that describes the tremendous impacts of even the most small-scale donations.

Consider creating custom landing pages for your respective direct mail or brochure campaigns. Not only will this strategy allow you to lead prospects directly to a donation-focused call to action, but it will also help you keep track of an individual campaign’s performance and engagement.

2. Maintain an Engaging Blog Section With Regular Updates

One of the best ways to keep your donors and first-time visitors engaged is through a steady stream of content created specifically for their interests. With a streamlined and consistent blog strategy, your website can eventually become a trusted resource for partners, adjacent organizations, and the public.

Site analytics and blog comments can help you figure out which topics are more likely to spark discussions that will encourage your community to engage with your brand. You want to craft blog posts that your audience will want to read and share online afterward.

You can diversify your content and intersperse long-form blogs with press releases, as well as donor or beneficiary testimonials and guest posts.

Acumen – a nonprofit that invests in change-maker companies around the world – has a robust “The Latest” section that displays blogs, news updates, and press releases in one unified feed.

While blogs are the cornerstone of content marketing, you may also use them as part of a larger and multichannel nonprofit marketing initiative. For example, a blog section can also provide material for concurrent or future social media or email marketing campaigns. Acumen likely does this, as they send out online newsletters and maintain multiple social media presences.

3. Optimize Your Blog Content Through SEO and Designing for Mobile

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a non-negotiable aspect of content marketing. Truthfully, SEO is the backbone of digital marketing. It’s near impossible to effectively increase website traffic and raise brand awareness without improving your content’s organic search performance.

To appear in more search engine results pages (SERPs), you need SEO. You may still be successful in engaging loyal and long-term supporters without it, but attracting first-time visitors and new donors will be more difficult.

However, optimizing blog content – and your website in general – is not just about SEO. Did you know that 40% of nonprofit website traffic comes from mobile users? With a large chunk of your target audience most likely viewing your website through their smartphone screens, it makes sense to invest in a mobile-first design strategy.

Avoid walls of text, use white space and minimalist elements, and make sure your website loads fast. Almost half of all consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds, and 40% will abandon a website if a page takes over three seconds to fully load.

4. Craft and Manage Your Social Media Presence in at Least One Channel

Do you remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? It raised more than $100 million in weeks, mostly through online donations at the ALS Association’s official website. All it took was a clever hashtag and viral-worthy participation instructions for social media engagement to soar.

Social media has steadily become an essential aspect of most multichannel marketing strategies – and it’s not hard to figure out why. From 2005 to 2019, the percentage of U.S. adults on social media went from 5% to 79%. Facebook is home to 2.4 billion users, while Instagram has about a billion.

UNICEF is a great example of a nonprofit that cultivates multiple channel presences, as evidenced by the social media icons displayed prominently on their website’s footer. The organization has millions of followers on the main social platforms — Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter — and thousands on their other chosen channels, like Pinterest and YouTube.

You don’t have to mirror UNICEF’s strategy to have a social media presence that will help increase your nonprofit’s website donations. Different organizations have different target audiences and available resources. Different platforms have different demographics, too. You may focus on one or two channels based on your particular needs. Doing so may also make it easier for your team to unify the customer journey – or, as is the case for nonprofits, the donor journey – across multiple platforms.

It may not always be the best idea to stick to the big three listed above, either. For example, Reddit or LinkedIn can be lucrative channels if your focus is on raising awareness or building your brand’s authority.

5. Don’t Forget to Communicate and Prioritize the Donor Experience

By the donor experience, of course, we mean the customer experience as it relates to nonprofit marketing. Two-thirds of customers will pay more for great experiences. It would only be reasonable to expect donors to make bigger or more frequent online donations for the same.

However, it’s important to remember that improving your donors’ experience with nonprofits may require a shift in perspective for marketers used to a for-profit playing field. For businesses, the customer is always right. For nonprofits, it’s more complicated.

Nonprofit organizations exist to meet beneficiaries’ needs, but also need to maintain strong and engaged relationships with donors. Unlike businesses – whose customers pay for products and services they will use – nonprofits have donors that often don’t have direct experiences with the initiatives their donations fund.

How do nonprofits approximate customer satisfaction that leads to customer retention? Invest in clear, concise, and engaging communications. More than 50 percent of one-time donors failed to support their chosen nonprofit more than once because the organization did not communicate effectively. This simple directive will improve donor retention and make it more likely for supporters to share your content.

How Can Decibel Help Your Nonprofit Increase Website Donations?

Digital experience optimization is growing pillar of any successful marketing and growth strategy implemented by non-profit organizations with an online presence.

Decibel’s industry-leading solution and flexible API will help you manage the donor experience across all channels. Purpose-built metrics which score digital experiences along with real-time behavioral data both help pinpoint where the biggest potential improvements lie across your website – a key for boosting online donations.

Let Decibel provide you with contextualized and actionable donor journey information, so your team can focus on creating and executing initiatives to improve donor retention and increase nonprofit website donations.

Want to find out more about Decibel? Download Forrester’s Total Economic Impact (TEI) Study of Decibel to learn how our pioneering technology can help nonprofits attract first-time donors and retain long term supporters.

Topics: Conversion Optimization, User experience
Back to Blog Home
Get Started

Ready to discover your Digital Experience Score?

Request a demo to speak to a Decibel expert and see DXS® on your website or app today.

Request Demo