Company is Coming: Getting Your Website Ready for End of Year Giving

65% of all end-of-year donors will visit your website before making a donation—that’s what Gail Perry, author of Fired Up Fundraising:  Turning Board Passion into Action tells us. 

Are you ready?  Is your website ready for a deluge of visitors?

I don’t know about you, but when I know I’m going to receive company, I clean my house.  In fact, when my kids were little, one day I was on a mean cleaning streak.  I was scrubbing all kinds of things.  My son—about 6 at the time--turned to me and said, “Who’s coming to visit?”  He had learned to associate cleaning and visitors! [I know:  I should be embarrassed to tell this story, but who has time for house cleaning when you have young children?].

Well, your website is about to receive a lot of visitors.  As you begin to ask people to give this holiday season, many of them will turn to your website to check-you-out before they give.

Don’t panic.  There’s no need for a total re-design (okay, maybe there is, but it doesn’t have to be done today).  You can make some quick fixes to your site to get it “company ready.”  With limited time, focus on your Donate Button and your Donation Page

Your Donate Button and Donation Page

  • Make sure you have a donate button, but also make sure it is conspicuous.  Network for Good tells us that Donate buttons should be “Big, bold, juicy, bordering-on-obnoxious.” 
  • Also among best practices, make sure the Donate Button is on every page of your website.  I know.  Obnoxious.  Again.  Do it anyway.  It works.
  • Make it stand out.  It should be bold, maybe in a unique color.
  • Put it at or near the top of the page, that is, “above the fold,” meaning donors should not have to scroll to see it. 
  • Make sure the Donate button goes directly to the page that allows donors to enter their credit card information.  Don’t make donating on your website a scavenger hunt.  Donors won’t play.
  • Have content on your Donate page that supports the ask you are making in letters and in email appeals.  Use the same picture(s).  I often find people think that “I’ve used that picture already.”  It’s okay.  Use the same photo.  It helps donors feel like they’re in the right place and reinforces your message.
  • Stephen Covey in The Speed of Trust argues compellingly that trust changes everything.  In an era when we never know who will announce next that their credit card customers have been hacked, we need to do all we can to reassure donors about security. It’s important on our donate page to have assurances for the public—assurances about your site’s security, assurances about your organization’s credibility and standing, and assurances about your privacy policy (that you have one!).  In a White Paper titled Beyond Best Practices about online giving, Convio tells us that having a large security seal from a recognized, accredited organization impacts results.  The organizations that have large indicators that their sites are secure near the top of the page raise more money online than those who don’t share information about their security systems and raise more money than those who share security information in small print at the bottom of the page.
  • Finally, keep it simple.  In that same white paper, Convio shares that your donation form should be no more than one page long.

Why do you want to spruce up the house?

Between 2012 and 2013, online giving grew by about 13% according to an annual report by Blackbaud.  Many believe it will grow even more between 2013 and 2014. 

Don’t miss out.  Do your housekeeping.  Company is coming to visit.