5 ways to optimize your online giving strategy

We recently invited our FrontStream Webinar series guests to take an 8-question survey about their online fundraising capacity. 223 nonprofit and charitable organizations completed the eight-question survey, revealing some interesting trends and facts about the state of online fundraising in our sector!

Here’s what we learned…


1. Have a donate button on your website and Facebook page

We found it encouraging that 87% of the survey respondents confirmed that they do have an online donation button on their nonprofit website or Facebook Page. While it is simple enough to install a donation button or Facebook donation tab through, most nonprofits surveyed do not test the donation button’s effectiveness after it is installed.

In fact, only 26% of the nonprofits surveyed had tested their donation button and configured it based on language, page positioning, color or other factors. Of those that had tested it, the majority had tested it for functionality rather than conversion. While it’s not critical to test every aspect of your donation button, studies show that increasing button size and using eye-catching colors can improve your donation conversion rates!

2. Offer the option of donating in honor or in memory of someone

The survey also revealed that while almost 51% of nonprofits allow visitors to choose a specific type of donation, 35% don’t allow a choice, and 14% of the respondents did not know if a choice was possible.

Many responded in the comments section that their online donation system does not allow administrators to configure the fields on the donation form to accommodate tribute giving. If your nonprofit can’t offer “in memory of” or “in honor of” donation options, you are missing an opportunity to meet your donors’ needs.

3. Don’t forget to recommend giving levels

Similarly, 59% of the nonprofits surveyed did not offer recommended giving levels on their websites. Donors look for recommendations when giving, so tell the world how each donation amount has a corresponding impact in your cause. For instance, does $20 equal a meal for a family need? We have also noticed that experimentation with your giving levels can increase overall donation sizes. FrontStream Fundraising Pro uses the information from previous donations to automatically optimize giving levels on a donation form. Learn more about it here!

4. Have a segmented giving strategy, both online and offline

While most nonprofits have a donation button, and about 50% configure it in some way, further survey questions reveal that nonprofits are generally not thinking about strategy when it comes to online giving. When asked “Does your organization have a segmented online giving strategy and plan? (i.e. planned peer to peer fundraising events, fundraising button drive, Facebook-supported giving drive, etc.),” 71% responded no. Take the time to talk to your team about how you can segment your donor communications by location, method of giving, first interaction with your cause, response channel, gender, age or more!

5. Ask your donors how they prefer to give

Similarly, when asked “Have you identified how your donors prefer to give?” (whether it be online, by check, PayPal, etc.), 49% responded no. It seems that nonprofits are just beginning to think about deepening their understanding of how to cultivate online donors. One way to broaden your knowledge is to survey your donor base asking how they prefer to give.

FrontStream Holdings LLC is a registered ISO of Elavon, Inc. Georgia, Chase Paymentech Solutions, LLC, First National Bank of Omaha, Omaha, NE, BMO Harris Bank, N.A., Chicago, IL, Deutsche Bank, USA, New York, NY and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Walnut Creek, CA.