Thursday, July 3, 2014

Other mistakes that undermine your web fundraising

Last time I wrote about the "beginner" mistakes that undermine your web fundraising. This time I will cover the more intermediate mistakes that cost you online donations.

1. No Benefit for the Donor
If your website is all about what a wonderful non-profit you are, all your achievements, all your programs, you sound just like most other mediocre websites, whether charitable or commercial. If, on the other hand, you communicate what your organization can do for the donor, you immediately separate yourself from the pack. As with successful direct mail text, use the words “you” and “your” often. Your website should not appear to be a snare to catch a gift, but a tool for the donor to achieve his or her philanthropic goals.

2. No Urgency
Make it clear why the donor must do something now. What are the implications if they delay? Perhaps even set a deadline. “We need to raise $xxxxx by xx date in order to ensure children are fed.”

3. Colors Blend In
Does your call to action stand out or are you enslaved by corporate brand guidelines? Fundraising is often about creating action out complacency. It is hard to do that if everything is subject to the tyranny of a non-intrusive color palette. Your “donate” button should be big, bold and assertive. Your call to action statements should stand out. Tell the snarky designers to apply their sacrosanct brand guidelines on a nondescript brochure. You need to make sure your case for giving literally vibrates on your web page.

4. No Credibility
Donors are not only concerned about ensuring that their gifts are well used but also that they appear to be savvy philanthropists.  They don’t want to look like fools to their peers. They want to give to organizations that are winners. Nothing cuts through the “Who are these people?” question better than donor profiles, complimentary quotes by supporters, or the logos of recognizable corporate sponsors. Use them.

5. Loaded with Jargon

Sometimes it’s fun to use big words that make you look smart, right? Maybe, but it is a terrible fundraising tactic. Few but your own employees will understand highly technical industry jargon. Simple words work best when trying to persuade someone to take action.

Apply these elements and see your website giving soar.

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