In the age of the internet, it’s become more and more difficult to capture the average web surfer’s attention. That’s why nonprofit organizations need web pages that not only feature quality content but also incorporate engaging, user-friendly design that can attract new donors.
Design plays a critical but easily overlooked role in driving revenue through conversions. Conversion rate (the rate at which people who land on your donation page actually complete a donation or become active in other ways—i.e. join the newsletter or membership program) is important for all nonprofits to consider when strategizing new ways to increase their reach. When you’ve got a great website, donor acquisition and retention are bound to increase.
According to practices from Morweb’s 22 Best Nonprofit Websites, bumping aesthetics higher up on the priority list allows organizations to connect with supporters in new, effective ways (thus, raising your conversion rate).
With a better understanding of how to bring more clicks to your website (and keep them there), your nonprofit’s webpage will be the best shore in town for all web surfers to catch a wave. We’ve gathered four key ways to convert people who click on your organization’s website into active supporters. We’ll cover:
- Understanding Your Site’s Current Performance
- Simplifying Your Most Important Landing Pages
- Streamlining Your Donation Page
- Adding Engagement-boosting Tools and Options
Ready to make your nonprofit’s website stand out? Read on to learn more.
1. Understand Your Site’s Current Performance
In order to make the most impactful changes, nonprofits need to learn more about online engagement and how their donors are interacting with their sites. It’s easy to identify ways to optimize your website’s appeal when you know what areas need improvement. Start by looking at the following analytics:
- Your current conversion rate. Consider how many people navigate to your website and how many people follow through with making a donation. If 10 people click on your website and 5 of them make an online donation, your conversion rate is 50%. If you have significantly more people navigating to your website than people donating, there is room for website development to drive more donations.
- Where traffic to a donation page is coming from. There are many ways people might be reaching your donation page, such as through social media or a compelling homepage that has the donate button in large-print font. Once you identify how people are getting onto your donation page, you can pinpoint where you’re doing a good job of directing supporters to donate and where you can improve.
- The rate at which different traffic sources convert versus others. Consider which traffic sources are your strongest (bringing the most visitors to your donation page) and which traffic sources could use further development. Even a page that’s doing relatively well can take advantage of the strategies in this article.
- Your fundraising metrics. Take a look at fundraising data analytics to determine how often donors donate, characteristics of your donors, and other performance measures. If you understand your donors better, you’ll be able to better market your nonprofit’s website to them and similar audiences who can become your supporters.
Google Analytics is a free tool that you can install on your website to measure these kinds of metrics and identify traffic sources. This should help you determine where to make modifications to enhance your site.
2. Simplify Your Most Important Landing Pages.
Based on what you’ve learned through your web and fundraising analytics, find the landing pages where you’re generating the most or least traffic and/or the most or least conversions. Focus your efforts on making the most of or improving these pages first.
Consider the following steps on how to edit different landing pages.
- If the landing page is a donation form, the best practice is to simplify it as much as possible – more details on this in the next section.
- If your homepage is one of your biggest landing pages, dig into what users are doing once they land there – clicking through to a new page, going straight to your donation page, or perhaps just leaving. This can give you clues as to what visitors are looking for and how you can improve the site to anticipate their needs.
- If it’s another page on your site, like an “about us” page or a page about a particular campaign or program, consider the changes you can make that will better encourage readers to connect with your mission, learn more, or donate.
Remember to keep in mind the user’s experience – navigating your website should be both informative and easy! Your goal is to encourage the user to donate or find other ways to get involved in your organization after reaching your website. The design should merge seamlessly with your content, but it shouldn’t be too fancy or technical. Avoid distracting users and always keep your audience’s experience in mind.
3. Streamline your donation page.
Donors are more likely to submit a donation when the process is quick and accessible. A huge part of boosting conversions is prioritizing the user experience of the actual donation process. Consider incorporating some (or all!) of these practices to make donating a smoother experience:
- Add a donate button so web surfers can easily navigate to the donation process. It should be clearly labeled on the donation page. Try experimenting with different fonts and sizes so that the button stands out.
- Minimize the amount of unnecessary information you collect from first-time donors to avoid donation abandonment. Don’t worry about missing out on getting information from first-time donors. You can learn more about them once you’ve secured the relationship and established a thriving giving program. In the donation process, unobtrusive email sign-up, membership sign-up, recurring donation options, and suggested donation amounts can all add value for your nonprofit without slowing down the donation itself.
- Ensure your donation page is fully mobile-optimized. Donors should be able to easily donate to your nonprofit from the comforts of their smartphone. Make sure that your webpage can be viewed on a smaller screen and that the giving process is simple for mobile users.
- Use an integrated, secure payment processor. Your website should have a reliable payment processor that takes funds from donors’ bank accounts and deposits them into the nonprofit’s account. Consider these important features:
- CMS Integration: A processor that works with your content management system (or website builder) will ensure a simple process for users and easier access to data for you.
- PCI Compliance: A payment processor that’s PCI compliant will make your donors trust that their credit card information is safe.
- Tokenization and Encryption: A safe payment processor takes the extra step of protecting your donors’ credit card information by encoding it in ways that can only be read by authorized systems.
- Fraud Protection: Your donors’ information should stay confidential. An ideal payment processor should therefore have fraud protection measures in place, such as card verification numbers.
Most importantly, simplify the visual design and any clutter on the page. You should still include impactful images and words to emphasize your mission and the impact that donations will have, but keep them extremely focused. When a message is to-the-point, donors can better understand your nonprofit organization and the impact they’ll have by becoming a supporter.
4. Add Engagement-boosting tools and options.
Look for ways to actively encourage more engagement both through the donation process and across your site. Ask yourself: If I were a potential donor, what would make me want to click on the donation page, donate, and then stick around?
There’s a lot of benefits to having a visually appealing website. It’ll bolster your organization’s brand, build trust with supporters and new donors, and allow your nonprofit to reach more people than ever before.
Consider getting a website builder with compelling features like blogging, event registration, social media integrations, and on-site donations. This will help your nonprofit connect more with donors and increase your conversion rate. To improve the user experience for members, build a page or portal that incorporates tools like processing dues and promoting member-exclusive events.
Across your site, make sure that you’re offering visitors real value. Again, think about why supporters come to your site and anticipate their needs. A quick review of your most popular campaigns and programs can help you find general gaps on your site that could be filled to generate more traffic and conversions over time.
For example, if your advocacy campaigns are especially popular but you don’t have a dedicated advocacy page or features like interactive maps or petition tools, you’re missing an opportunity to engage more visitors who could be directed towards taking a target action.
This is especially important for membership organizations since they need to both raise funds from members and provide real value in exchange for their dues. Morweb’s crash course on membership sites offers a range of tips for engaging members online and capturing their long-term support.
Your nonprofit needs an effective website to connect with new and old donors. By creating an accessible website with compelling content and features, you’ll be able to increase your conversion rate.
As you analyze your website metrics to determine what areas you can improve on, be sure to put yourself in the donors’ shoes and think about how you can make it easier for them to engage with your page. Shine a light on your nonprofit’s mission with well-written content and make your website a fun and easy place to explore. When your improved website is up and running, your conversion rate will thank you!