Five Important Strategies for Building Engaging Fundraising Websites
We recently discussed the importance of the “donate button”, one of the staples of online fundraising! However, before the donate button can have a chance to work its magic, you need to be able to draw visitors to your website – often multiple times.
Whether it’s a nonprofit website or personal fundraising page, here are a few key tips that can help make supporters compelled to visit and give to your cause!
1. Share your mission and how donations help
The first step to developing an engaged audience is proving why you should have their interest. Some nonprofits accomplish this with a simple mission statement, while others express their mission visually with a video. Here’s a great example from Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment’s Team Up Foundation:
If your supporters are creating personal fundraising pages for your charity’s campaign or event, ask them to share why that particular cause is personally important. Encourage them to set a fundraising goal, and explain what they’ll be doing personally for this initiative.
Even if your supporters don’t have a specific tie to the cause, your relationship with them could spur them to take action if they can see how easy it is to fundraise for you!
It’s also important that your website explain how your donations will be used for your cause. Knowing where donations go can help a supporter feel more confident in their decision to donate.
2. Tell stories
It’s no secret that stories can be a very engaging tool! Stories can create emotional reactions, which help a supporter feel connected to your organization. Feeling a “connection” is the pull needed to encourage visitor to return to your website multiple times, giving them more exposure to your messaging, calls-to-action, and eventually, a greater chance of donating. These stories can always be enhanced with relevant photos to help put a visual, memorable image in a supporter’s mind.
3. Update consistently
The content on your website can only capture a reader’s interest for so long, and supporters won’t be compelled to return and read the same information or stories over and over again. If the latest update on your website is from months ago, it will start to feel dated, and calls-to-action towards potential donors could lose their sense of urgency.
Keeping a regularly updated website, through blogs, progress reports, relevant news about your cause, or personal stories you wish to share will go a long way in making your page a regular visit for your supporters.
Here’s an example of a frequently updated “Top Stories” section from Habitat for Humanity, which provides a variety of different content to supporters checking out the website.
4. Build long-term engagement through social media
With all of the interesting content on the web , it’s may be hard to stay “top of mind” to supporters. Luckily, by promoting your freshest content, social media provides provide reasons for your fans to return to your website. This will allow you to reach your supporters over the long-run, and create multiple opportunities for them to donate to your cause.
Since much of the interaction through social media is voluntary, it’s important for you to make connecting with you easy to anyone who comes to your website. We recommend having very visible links to your pages on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and any other social media channel you’re using. Another great opportunity available is to capture e-mail addresses of your visitors through a newsletter button, allowing you to communicate with them regularly and send them back towards your page!
Here’s a great example of the very top of SickKids Foundation’s website, with icons for all of their social media channels and a link to sign-up for their e-newsletter.
5. Make sure your website is mobile friendly!
You’ve seen the statistics – mobile devices are becoming increasingly popular for Internet use, and more and more people will now want to view your website on their mobile phone or tablet.
We now see over 10% of traffic to fundraising and donation pages on our platform comes from mobile devices. If your website is not mobile friendly, potential supporters and donors may get frustrated trying to use your website and move on to something else.
For a great, mobile-friendly webpage, here are a few tips from Gist.com:
- Prioritize the most important information to your supporters.
- Avoid pop-ups and animation.
- Include whitespace so the page doesn’t seem cluttered and crammed.
- Keep the branding consistent between your full and mobile websites.