Three Strategies to Convert Website Visitors into Donors

September 20, 2023

This guest post is brought to you by Murad Bushnaq

Murad Bushnaq is the Founder and CEO of Morweb. Since its inception in 2014, Murad has acted as Creative Director and Chief Technologist to help nonprofits spread their vision online through engaging design, intuitive software, and strategic communication.

Imagine this: a new site visitor passionate about your cause is looking for an organization to support and lands on your website. However, they’re quickly met with a disorganized website design that makes it difficult to learn about your mission and how to get involved. On top of that, your website looks like it can belong to any organization and they’re not sure whether it is trustworthy. As a result, they click off.

To avoid this issue from happening, you need a strong web design that immediately demonstrates that your organization is credible and deserving of donor support. When your website highlights all of the impactful work you’re doing and creates a positive user experience, you’ll be more likely to convert visitors into donors.

Whether you’re hoping to build a new website from scratch or revamp your existing digital presence, you’ll need the right strategies and tools to streamline the process. Use these tried and true best practices to turn your website into a fundraising tool you can count on year-round:

  • Optimize your donation page
  • Streamline your navigation
  • Create an engaging blog

Before you dive into these tips, ensure that you’re working with the best tech stack possible to bring your web design dreams to life. Morweb’s guide to the best nonprofit website builders recommends looking for an intuitive content management system (CMS) that offers drag-and-drop editing, built-in accessibility tools, and SEO features to increase your visibility online.

Backed by a dynamic CMS designed for nonprofits, you can create an inspirational website that turns passive visitors into devoted donors of your organization. Let’s begin.

Optimize your donation page

The first step to converting website visitors into donors is ensuring you have an engaging and user-friendly donation experience. Your website’s donation page is the central hub of your online fundraising strategy, so it’s critical to create a seamless donation process that takes supporters just moments to complete.

To take your donation page to the next level, use these top strategies:

  • Leverage storytelling: New site visitors might not feel completely sold on whether they should give to your organization. To illustrate your nonprofit’s impact and demonstrate how donations will be used, highlight a brief story at the top of your donation page. Make sure to end your story with a clear call-to-action to give so more beneficiaries can receive support. For instance, an animal welfare organization might show a before-and-after photo series of a dog who was rescued from a puppy mill and is now thriving in its new home. Then, they can add a few sentences that tell the story of this dog and how donations made his transformation possible.
  • Use ample white space: If your donation page appears cluttered, your supporters won’t be able to digest the information on it and might immediately click away. Space out your on-page elements, including your prompts and visuals, so supporters are met with a minimalist and clean design that feels welcoming.
  • Limit your number of prompts: You might feel tempted to ask your donors all types of questions on your donation form, such as how they found out about your organization, their interest areas, and if they want to get involved in volunteering. However, you don’t want to overwhelm them with a long donation page that feels like it’ll take a while to complete! Stick to asking the most essential questions, including donors’ names, contact information, donation amount, and billing information. You can make other prompts optional or simply save these questions for later in the donor stewardship process.
  • Add suggested donation amounts and impacts: To encourage donors to give larger amounts than they originally intended, highlight a few suggested amounts, like $15, $25, $50, and $100. Include the impacts of each donation amount so supporters understand the tangible connection between their gift and the difference it will make in your mission. For example, a STEM education nonprofit might explain that a donation of $50 will secure necessary school supplies for 5 students in need.

It’s equally important that donors feel comfortable and safe giving to your organization. Work with a CMS that integrates with secure, PCI-compliant payment processors to ensure donors’ information won’t be leaked. You can even include a note on your donation page that highlights your payment processor and explains that supporters’ information will be protected to reassure your new visitors.

Streamline your navigation

Once your donation page is optimized and ready to go, you need to direct new site visitors to your form with a user-friendly navigation system. After all, site visitors will likely be wondering how they can support your nonprofit, and if it isn’t obvious, you might miss out on opportunities to bring in more donations for your cause.

Here are our top recommendations to point people in the right direction to give:

  • Add your donation page to your navigation menu: Your navigation bar is the perfect place to bring attention to your donation page, as supporters will be able to see it regardless of what page they might be on. Create a visually distinct button in your navigation menu that says “Donate Now” and display it prominently on the right or left-hand side.
  • Use bold calls to action: Top nonprofit websites use calls to action (CTAs) throughout their website content that direct supporters to give. For example, if you create an event landing page for your upcoming fundraising gala, this would be a good place to direct people to your donation page to give in advance of your big event. Make sure your CTAs are straightforward, use urgent language, and are time-bound to encourage people to donate right away. For example, a CTA that says “Donate towards our campaign!” is less effective than “Donate by midnight to get your gift matched!”
  • Add a site search option: A search bar will enable your supporters to look up any resource or page on your website, including your donation form. You can add this user-friendly feature with the help of your nonprofit-specific website builder.

To test the user experience of your website, consider using a free tool like Google Lighthouse. This will generate a report on how your organization can improve the quality of its website to better meet the needs of your audience.

Create an engaging blog

New site visitors will be curious to learn more about your organization’s current projects and how you’re making strides to create change in your community. The perfect place to highlight these insights and more is in your blogroll. A well-planned blog can provide value to new and existing supporters, help establish your authority as a trusted organization, and keep donors up-to-date on everything that’s going on.

To jumpstart a valuable blog that will encourage giving, use these best practices:

  • Share a variety of content related to your mission: While discussing your fundraising needs is important and can make a big impact on your fundraising campaigns, site visitors might get discouraged if all of your content focuses on asking for donations. Instead, vary your content by sharing beneficiaries’ stories, day-in-the-life recaps from loyal volunteers, updates on your latest fundraising project, and big accomplishments. This will help to demonstrate your nonprofit’s impact, inspiring site visitors to give.
  • Stick to a regular posting schedule: If the last blog post on your website is from 2018, site visitors might be unsure if your organization is still active and will feel dissuaded from donating. Follow a regular posting schedule, such as posting twice a month, so your blog always has fresh content.
  • Widely promote your blog: Once your blog is up and running, you need a way to get it in front of as many people as possible. Double the Donation’s guide to nonprofit marketing recommends taking a multichannel approach to increase touchpoints with prospective donors. For example, you can share a link to your latest blog post in your email newsletter campaigns, social media posts, and text messaging campaigns.

To create your blog roll and publish posts, leverage a nonprofit website builder with pre-made templates. This way, you can easily plug in your blog content and push it live in just a few moments. Plus, the right CMS will automatically mobile-optimize your posts so prospective supporters can check out your content anywhere, at any time.

A strong website design can deliver a ton of value for your nonprofit, allowing you to connect with new supporters, encourage giving, and build strong relationships that will benefit your organization year after year. As you make changes to your website, actively track data points, like page views and bounce rates, with the help of your CMS so you can assess your digital performance and hone your strategy as needed.

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