Author: De’Yonté Wilkinson
Why did you create a website for your nonprofit?
Maybe it was to raise awareness for your cause. Or, maybe it was to add some legitimacy behind your organization during the early days after your founding. Maybe it was to share updates about your ongoing campaigns… or, most likely, it was a combination of all three!
But, did you create your website with generating direct support for your mission (i.e. donations, volunteering, advocacy, etc.) in mind?
If not, it’s time to take a second look at your site. Two things need to happen to generate support through your website:
- You need to drive a high level of traffic to your website.
- You need to maximize that traffic by transforming it into conversions.
Now, let’s say you’ve already accomplished the first step in the list. Through word-of-mouth, social media sharing, and search engine optimization, you’re seeing a significant amount of traffic to your website. But, you’re not seeing that traffic turn into actual action that benefits your nonprofit, whether that be donations made, advocacy-related outreach, or another key organizational goal.
Don’t fret! There are a few changes that you can make to your website to point all of your new visitors in the right direction. In this guide, we’ll discuss four strategies for converting web traffic into funds raised and advocacy actions.
Strategies for Converting Web Traffic Into Funds Raised:
- Online Donation Form
- Matching Gifts
Strategies for Converting Web Traffic Into Advocacy Actions:
- Call/Email a Representative
If you check out the best nonprofit websites, they’re all a bit unique; some use color to stand out, others imagery, and others, written storytelling. However, they all have one thing in common — regardless of the strategies they use, each website inspires supporters to take action.
Your website can do this, too! Let’s start with the fundraising strategies.
Strategies for Converting Web Traffic Into Funds Raised
There are numerous technologies and strategies that can be used for successful online fundraising, from crowdfunding platforms to virtual events and eCard campaigns. However, according to Cornershop Creative’s guide to digital fundraising, updating your website is the perfect place to start regardless of the type of campaigns you choose to host.
The biggest perk of prioritizing fundraising on your website is that, while most fundraising campaigns are time-bound and have an end date, supporters can give on your site at any time throughout the year as the inspiration strikes. Campaigns come and go, but your online donation page is forever.
With that in mind, consider the following two strategies to convert web traffic into donations raised.
Strategy 1: Online Donation Form
You probably already provide site visitors with some sort of avenue for giving through your site, whether a link to a third-party donation page (such as PayPal) or a nonprofit-specific donation form provider.
Since you probably have some sort of donation form, we’re going to focus on tips to improve your form. This includes:
- Embedding the form directly on your website, rather than linking out to a third-party site
- Ensuring the form is branded and fits nicely with the design of your website
- Connecting the form to a secure payment processor to make online transactions as safe as possible for donors
- Prioritizing accessibility by providing clear text descriptions for what is required in all form fields and ensuring the form is tab-friendly (i.e. able to be navigated by a keyboard “tab” button alone)
- Limiting the number of form fields to create a quick, hassle-free experience
- Limiting and clearly labeling any “required” fields with both color and a written signifier (like an asterisk) to ensure site visitors know what they need to do to proceed to the next step
The goal is to make it as easy, straightforward, and trustworthy as possible for site visitors to make a donation. From there, you want to drive traffic to the page with calls to action in the form of buttons, in-line text, and lightboxes across your site.
Strategy 2: Matching Gifts
Matching gifts essentially give your nonprofit two donations for the price of securing one. With these programs, employers pledge to make a donation to approved nonprofits corresponding to gifts made by their employees. So, if someone makes a $50 donation to your nonprofit, you could earn a second $50 donation from that donor’s employer, too.
Needless to say, it’s a pretty good deal.
A lot of nonprofits miss out on matching gifts because their donors don’t know that these programs exist. But, by embedding a searchable database on your website, you can give donors the ability to search their own match eligibility.
Here’s how it works:
- Donor John Doe makes a donation.
- He lands on the confirmation page. Thanks for your gift, John Doe!
- On that page, he sees a search bar that invites him to type in his employer.
- His employer pops up, along with simple directions on how to submit his donation for a gift match. He’s great, so he follows the steps.
- You receive a donation, John’s employer information, and eventually, a second donation from the employer.
It’s a win-win for everyone involved! After this step, you’ll want to send an extra-special thank-you note to both the donor and the employer to express your appreciation and ensure they remain engaged with your organization going forward.
Strategies for Converting Web Traffic Into Advocacy Actions
Can your nonprofit’s website play a role in your nonprofit’s advocacy work? Yes!
According to Grassroots Unwired, “Grassroots movements are formed when concerned individuals connect with one another.” Your website is the central hub for your nonprofit’s efforts online — that includes serving as the digital spot for concerned individuals to connect with one another.
Put frankly, your advocates are turning to your website to “plug in” to your digital community and learn how to take action for your cause. So, to turn that web traffic into action, provide supporters with plenty of outlets to take the next step!
Strategy 3: Petitions
Petitions are an ideal first action because supporters only need to sign (or type!) their name and they’re good to go. The best ways to encourage petition signatures include:
- Making them available digitally on your website.
- Encouraging supporters to share petitions with social sharing buttons.
- Telling a story about why the petition is needed to help drive advocates across the finish line.
- Sharing statistics around how many signatures the petition has received so far and how many you need to reach your goal.
You can really go above and beyond to encourage petition signatures on your website. For example, check out how the Center for Food Safety mapped out its petition signatures to show the “buzz” around bee-killing pesticides throughout the U.S. It’s a compelling visualization!
Exercise your creative muscles and see where it takes you.
Strategy 4: Call/Email a Representative
One of the most direct ways for your advocates to influence change is to contact influential people and ask for it.
But, let’s be honest — influential people come with a certain level of celebrity. Whether congresspeople, local leaders, or even business professionals, it can be nerve-wracking to pick up the phone or type up an email.
To encourage this type of advocacy, make it easy for supporters to take the next step by:
- Making contact information easily accessible by listing it and providing links directly on your website.
- Writing a script that advocates can replicate word-for-word in their outreach.
You can take this a step further by simply embedding a form that site visitors can use to email guests, such as how Save the Children does on its various Contact Lawmakers action pages. Guests simply add their name, email, and address, and hit send!
If you’ve done the hard work of driving traffic to your nonprofit’s website, it’s time to generate those conversions!
With these tips, you’ll encourage site visitors to take direct action on behalf of your cause whether through fundraising or advocacy. Your website can work for your mission year-round as the perfect complement to your various campaigns and activities.
De’Yonté’s a late-80s baby who found his passion for web design and development during MySpace’s heyday, when he helped his friends create awesome profiles. He’s spent the last three years specializing in WordPress and conversion optimization, and is an active proponent of coding guidelines. In his off time he enjoys cooking, Rugby, and hanging out with his wife.