Building a beautiful, engaging donation page is important. But having a great page won’t help you if no one actually uses it! The old adage “build it and they will come” might ring true for amusement parks or playgrounds, but simply building a nice page won’t help you find and engage donors. Luckily, driving traffic to your online donation page isn’t terribly complicated.
There are three areas of your organization’s outreach channels that you should be using to get people to your donation page. Because this is such an important topic, I’m going to dedicate a blog entry to each section. This week I want to focus on:
Using Your Webpage Effectively
For a moment, forget you work for your organization. Pretend you’re Joe Shmoe who has never heard of you and has stumbled across your website. What can you tell about your charity? What makes you want to contribute? What catches your attention? Why shouldn’t you just click back to what you were doing a minute ago?
Once you’ve evaluated your website’s appeal, here are some things to think about:
1. It should be easy to get to your website.
It’s probably intuitive to most people, but I want to be sure I mention this — link to your site everywhere you can think of. Link to it from your Facebook posts. Link to it on your Twitter account. Your Google+ account. Your YouTube account. Links to your website should be everywhere you maintain an online presence. You can decide for yourself when to link to your website itself or when to link directly to your donation page, but you need to be linking everything you do to your website. People can’t help you if they can’t find you!
2. Make your website engaging.
Keep potential donors engaged by telling your story. I know I tend to harp on the significance of good storytelling, but it’s unbelievably important. People aren’t going to stick around long enough to make donations if you don’t draw them in and keep their attention. Numerous studies show you have mere seconds to catch and hold a user’s attention once they land on your page — make sure you make the most of them!
Creativity is necessary when it comes to engaging your supporters: walls of text about your organization and your mission aren’t going to catch peoples’ attention. Instead, reduce your long description of your organization to a snappy mission statement and go from there. Include photos of what you do, pictures of your staff, stories and anecdotes from the people you help, easy-to-digest facts and statistics, videos, anything you can think of. Make your page visually interesting, break up text-heavy content, and appeal to your donors’ emotions. After you do this, make sure you:
3. Make your “Donate” button as visible as possible.
If your donation button is hard to find, people will not donate to you. That might be a pretty heavy-handed statement, but think about it. Your average Internet user only spends a few seconds on each page. You could have the most beautiful, compelling content imaginable, but they’re going to get bored and move on if they can’t figure out how to make a donation. Donating should be easy.
Look at your page. Is your “donate” button easy to see? Can you find it from each and every page on your site? Is it visually striking? Can you find it in less than two seconds? If you answered “no” to any of these questions, make your donation button easier to find.
Having a well-designed, engaging webpage that helps you connect with your donors is, perhaps, the most important step to collecting online donations. In the next couple of entries, I’m going to go into how you can use social media and e-mail campaigns to drive traffic to your donation page. Once you’ve got a good website set up, the rest will quickly fall into place!