Strategies that work to increase online donations

The more you put into it, the more you get out of it.

That’s the lesson nonprofits are learning when it comes to creating their online-donation platforms. While the percentage of donations that come in over the Internet is still relatively small — between 2 and 5 percent across the sector — those organizations that work harder to make their websites — and particularly those pages that lead to online donations more robust and engaging — are seeing big returns.

fuse_austin_2_0On April 29, Ira Horowitz of Cornershop Creative will share his expertise on improving nonprofits’ websites for free at Salsa’s FUSE Austin, a free, one-day conference designed to help Austin nonprofits raise more money online. The conference will feature five speakers from across the country who will share their experience and insights. LEARN MORE HERE

Horowitz says most nonprofits don’t make the most out of the software tools they already have to raise money online.

“One of the primary things we do is help nonprofits get the most out of what they’re already paying for,” he says. “We help them take these tools out of the box and implement the features that have been proven to increase engagement and conversion rates.”

And the number-one thing your nonprofit should do to improve its website is make it more mobile friendly. Here’s why….

It starts with emails. Most studies have shown that about 65 percent of emails are read on mobile phones and tablets, and for most nonprofits, emails to your constituents are still going to be the primary drivers to your nonprofit website.

“If readers have to pinch-and-zoom on those little screens, they’re just going to delete the email,” says Horowitz.

Nonprofits should also count on readers coming from social media, Horowitz says

Once they’ve clicked on your email, make sure readers are going to a webpage that’s also mobile friendly. “It’s often a matter of adding a little coding that can make your forms easier for someone to use from their mobiles,” he says. “Sometimes it’s a matter of just making those tiny buttons on your donation page larger and easier to tap.”

“People’s attention spans are shorter than ever. They need to come to your website and see what they need right away.”

Horowitz points to some case studies of clients his company has worked with for ideas and inspiration.









When you look at the Student Conservation Association‘s website on a mobile phone, you can see a “donate” image on the first view. The mobile site is well organized for vertical viewing, uses engaging photos to help you understand its mission and has simple, intuitive navigation.

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 1.44.45 PM

For some nonprofit websites, the secret is to put the donation page at the highest point of interaction. Friends of the Earth Action takes advantage of its most-used tools, it’s online “take action” petitions. Once a user completes a petition, she’s automatically directed to its donation form. Horowitz says because of that one change, Friends has seen an uptick of 10-15 percent in its online donations.

Horowitz says the trick is to use the tools you have in a smart, strategic way, being mindful of the little things that can throw off a prospective donor.

Even the little things can mean another lost donation. “Sometimes it’s just a matter of making headers bigger,” he says. To learn more about how you can help your nonprofit raise more money online, RSVP now for FUSE Austin on April 29.


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