How to build an effective fundraising website & online donations

Non-profit organizations need to build a base of support to keep their operations and mission on track. Online donations and fundraising is often a weak point for many traditional non-profits.  Typically the web is a place where many organizations cut corners, which can hurt support potential.

Effective online donation campaigns

The web can be a vital place for a non-profit to build support in many forms. Online donations is one key motive for going online with an effective presence. Additionally, you can extend the support base by building volunteer groups, material gifts, professional help and brand visibility, which all helps to fulfill your mission.

A few reasons for building an effective case for support online:

  • Online donations from small micro-donations to monthly giving or increasing the ease of giving for donors
  • Event registration with donation fees (event-based fundraising)
  • Growing your volunteering base
  • Advertising and building visibility for the organization and mission, which can lead to new donor relationships and increased giving
  • Material gifts
  • Professional help and pro-bono service gifts
  • Social media & search visibility

Design & user-experience for a better campaign

We have found that the design and user-experience contribute profoundly to the success of online fundraising and non-profit websites. Making the mission and actions of an organization clear and well articulated help the organization’s story resonate with potential donations. The website’s ease of use encourage giving by reducing frustrations of interacting with the organization online. It is important to remember that an online presence is a vital part of the non-profit brand and campaign.

Telling your brand story

Tell the story of your cause: Specifically, the website represents the brand and the campaign. Therefore, the fundraising website needs to tell a convincing story and illustrate the story with testimonials and examples. The website is a central vehicle for cause-based story-telling. Remember to keep it emotional and visual, as users often skip long passages of text in favor of illustrated examples and structured content.

Inspire brand champions

Non-profit staff can only accomplish so much in a day. One way to make a non-profit web campaign highly successful is to enlist the help of your extended community. Help your community help you. Give them easy ways to share your content and find you new donors. The extended family and friends of your community can make a high probability support base for your cause. Recommendations go a long way. Part of Ironpaper’s philosophy with online fundraising is to help brands connect to these potential supporters via brand champions.

Online Fundraising Tools

thermometer for online donationsThere are a number of tools that can help a non-profits succeed online. These tools should strategically integrate with the primary touch point (website) and campaign stories. Here are a few tools:

  • Incorporate Facebook as a tool for authentic conversation with the public
  • Use Twitter & (again) be conversational or interesting (Don’t just ask for money!)
  • Social media sharing tools within the website
  • Donation pages that inspire!
  • Events with pre- and post-event website updates and tie-ins
  • Donation thermometer
  • Campaign updates and an “inside” view of the campaign progress
  • Newsletters can help build retention & donations if used properly.
  • Content management systems make it easier for non-profits to publish content and make their efforts transparent and relevant to users

Our solution for online donations

We have built a website fundraising system that powers the non-profit website and provides donation intelligence and analytics to build successful campaigns.

web-based fundraising CMS and CRM tool

Learn more: Website fundraising tool

About Ironpaper

Ironpaper is a web strategy agency based in NYC. Ironpaper specializes in design, technology and marketing for the web.
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