9 Tips for Collecting Charitable Donations Online | BlueSnap

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9 Tips for Collecting Charitable Donations Online

Written by: Briana Strauss

Did you know 34% of all charitable donations are given during the holiday season?

That makes this a perfect time to engage with potential donors. This means that charities should be taking steps now to maximize year-end donations. With a growing number of people turning to online options for charitable giving, it’s more important than ever to make sure your organization is set up to collect donations digitally.

In this post, we cover nine tips for collecting more donations online to help you during the holiday season and year-round.

Charitable Donation Tip #1 – Create an Online Donation Form

Your website needs a designated page for donations. It should be easy to find your donation form, and once it’s built, you can direct potential donors to this page instead of a general home page. Your form should be optimized to make the donation process as simple as possible for visitors. A cluttered, confusing or disorganized donation workflow can turn potential donors away.

Pro Tip: Instead of starting from scratch, using a form builder, such as JotForm, can make the process a lot easier.

Whether you’re creating a donation page from scratch or optimizing an existing one, remember that your page’s only goal is to collect online donations. Make the page easy to find on your website, include a compelling reason for visitors to donate and make it easy to submit funds through the page.

Charitable Donation Tip #2 – Clean Up Your Website

A website isn’t a “set it and forget it” tool, especially. Your website doesn’t need a major overhaul every quarter or anything, but you should take the time to maintain your site and online donation form.

For instance, if you have an upcoming fundraising event, you should add the details to your website so people can easily find the information. Make sure your site is current, all links work and it’s easy to navigate. The better shape your website is in, the more likely it will attract virtual donors.

Charitable Donation Tip #3 – Use Compelling Pictures

Another way to set your organization up for more donations is to use compelling photos. It’s important to demonstrate the good work the organization does and where donation dollars go by showing impactful images. Whether they’re posted to the website or other digital platforms, the pictures should be clear and help to tell the organization’s story.

For example, a nonprofit animal shelter collecting donations to fence in a play area could show pictures of the dogs that would benefit and where the play area will go. Wherever the funds are going, let photography help tell the story.

Charitable Donation Tip #4 – Leverage Social Media

Social media is a cost-effective way for nonprofits to engage with a large audience and, in turn, increase online donations through awareness and targeted campaigns. Whichever platform you use, be sure to post frequently and respond to questions or comments on your pages. It helps to designate specific team members or volunteers to run the social page for consistency.

There’s no shortage of content that nonprofits can share on their social channels, but here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Fundraising event details
  • Volunteer and staff stories
  • News and updates
  • Accomplishments and awards
  • Behind-the-scenes looks
  • Funding goals achieved
  • Organization history and anniversaries

Charitable Donation Tip #5 – Try Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is an excellent way to solicit donations from people around the world. With crowdfunding, nonprofits can showcase certain projects or causes that individuals can contribute to. For instance, a nonprofit could start a crowdfunding campaign to sponsor holiday meals for low-income families in the community.

The GoFundMe Charity platform is a great site to get started with crowdfunding. While GoFundMe is designed for individuals, GoFundMe Charity helps nonprofits raise more money with powerful data insights and custom branding.

Charitable Donation Tip #6 – Allow Recurring Donations

Donor retention is crucial for nonprofits. Gaining new donors can be expensive and exhausts more resources than encouraging donations from existing donors. There are many ways to boost donor retention rates, but one of the easiest ways is to offer recurring donations.

The best way to encourage sign-ups is to give donors an option to select recurring donations directly on the donation page. Automating the process ensures a steady flow of donations long after the busy holiday season.

Charitable Donation Tip #7 – Use Payment Tools

Online donation tools can make the payment process easier and reduce friction for potential donors. Be sure to have your payment page connected with your chosen online payment tool.

As a general rule, the easier you make it for someone to donate, the more donations you’ll receive.

When it comes to accepting payments online, there are tons of best practices. However, here are some things to consider when choosing a payment tool.

  • How long has the payment tool been around?
  • What are the payment processing fees?
  • How easy is it to use, both for your nonprofit as well as donors?
  • Is it PCI compliant?
  • Do they offer friendly and helpful customer support in case you have any questions or an issue arises
  • Are there fraud protection tools in place?
  • Can you capture donors’ information and sync it with your database automatically?

Charitable Donation Tip #8 – Try an SMS Campaign

With an SMS campaign, mass texts are sent to potential donors with a short pitch on why they should donate to your cause and a link to your secure payment page.

There are fees to consider with this type of campaign such as transaction fees and SMS charges. This article rounds up some of the best free and inexpensive SMS marketing tools for nonprofits to help you keep expenses low.

Charitable Donation Tip #9 – Say Thank You

No matter how you collect online donations for your nonprofit, it’s important to say thank you. Whether you use an automated email, a thank-you page redirect or even a personalized note that’s sent through the mail, you need to make an effort to thank each donor.

Donors need to know their contributions are appreciated. If at all possible, let them know what their funds went toward. For example, with each donation made in December, an automated email could be sent thanking the donor and sharing the specific projects donations are funding during the holidays.

Having a strong web presence and the ability to seamlessly collect online donations goes a long way in securing donations throughout the year. Whichever collection method or marketing tactics you use, be consistent and persistent for the best chance of success.

Briana is the partnership marketing manager at JotForm, where she spends her time building relationships with other exciting SaaS companies. When she’s not in the office, she loves going to a yoga or barre class and running along the Embarcadero in San Francisco.