In terms of online fundraising, there is no resource more valuable than your organization’s website. It is important that your website successfully makes your case to potential donors as to why they should give you their money. Here are some tips to make your website an effective fundraising tool.

Up-to-date and accurate sites bring in donations

When your site is constantly updated with the newest and most accurate information it shows your supporters that you are an active organization with an urgent cause. A great deal of potential donors look at an organization’s website in order to determine whether or not there is a need for their money and if the organization is effective. Nothing will turn off a donor more than a website that has not been updated in 2 months. You want to have the most current information possible on the issues that your donors care about.

Dynamic content brings donors back

This ties in to having up-to-date and accurate information. It is important to have dynamic content on your site that will make donors want to return, as well as feel like their donations have been worthwhile. This could be online polls, a blog, web calculators for tuition or costs of legislation, photos, etc. You should also have voting information for every election: precinct locations, dates of voter registration/vote-by-mail/early vote deadlines, etc. Having a calendar of upcoming events is also valuable, since your donors may become your next volunteers.

Make contribution button stand out

When someone visits your page, you want to make sure that there is no way they could possibly miss seeing your contribute button.

Contribution form should be quick and easy

If there is too much extraneous text or fields to fill out on your contribution form, there is a chance that the potential donor may quit half-way and you just lost a donation. You shouldn’t have too much more than is required by law, as well as e-mail address.

Encourage action after contribution

Too many organizations just have a generic “Thank you” message following the completion of the online contribution form. This is a wasted opportunity to make another pitch to the donor, but this time to take action. Some possible ideas are asking them to email their friends about donating, signing up for an event, signing an online petition, joining a group, etc.

Have a recurring donation option

Give your supporters the option of becoming sustaining donors (ie YDA Tomorrow Club). Instead of a one-time donation, allow them to schedule $10, $25, $50 donations per month. Create an incentive for these donors, such as free event tickets. You can also market these programs using an opportunity cost or trade-off pitch. This is where you say something like “would you give up a cup and a half of coffee a month to (insert goal here).” This technique works well in making donors aware of their ability to become a sustaining donor.

Have ideas of your own about using your website as a fundraising tool? Leave a comment!