Online Giving Best Practices

Is your organization getting started with online giving? Do you offer online giving, but aren't reaching your goals? The following are best practices that can help you maximize the results of your online giving efforts.

Optimizing Your Website's Home Page for Online Giving and Ongoing Engagement

  • Use the 5-second rule. If you show someone your homepage for 5 seconds and hide it, will they know what your organization does and why they should care/support you?
  • Make your donate button big, prominent, and "above the fold" - can you find it within 1-2 seconds?
  • Option to donate should be prominent on every page of the website.
  • Use big images and (limited) text on the homepage (and throughout the site) to evoke emotions.
  • Content should be clean, simple, and easy to use.
  • Ensure other actions are prominent and obvious on the homepage - enroll; sign up for eNewsletter; volunteer; attend event; etc. If a prospect isn't ready to give now, make sure they have some way to start a relationship with you.
  • Include links to other online channels; explain (briefly) why someone should join you on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Optimizing Your Online Giving Form

  • Include only one clear call to action (donate!) on your form.
  • Donation form should be one page - don't require too many clicks.
  • Donation form should be short - use as few fields as possible. If a field isn't absolutely necessary, remove it.
  • Ask for additional information in your confirmation page and/or thank you letter.
  • Keep the look of the form consistent with your brand and the rest of your site.
  • Incorporate short yet compelling copy/images to emphasize your mission and need.
  • Be clear about where money donated will go and what the gift will help achieve.
  • Include web analytics on your form to test its success (and how people are getting to the form).
  • Offer both a clear, real-time confirmation page of the donation and automated thank you email.
  • Mail a hardcopy thank you letter for each gift as well.
  • Confirmation email should mentions how the gift will display on the donor's credit card statement (if it won't say your organization name).
  • Include text in large enough font for older donors to read.

Online Giving Form Functionality

Your online giving vendor should allow you to:
  • Easily modify your form (text/images AND fields) to test different versions and match form to current campaign.
  • Offer donors ability to select which fund to support.
  • Don't overwhelm them with too many options. Keep it simple.
  • Accept recurring gifts.
  • Accept gifts in honor or memory of another person.

Need help selecting a vendor to provide Online Giving? Review our Online Giving Tools article to help you get started.