All types of charitable organisation – Whether you are a charity, church, school PTA, local cause, hospice, gallery or museum (basically anyone that relies on donations) – Have really taken a hard hit over the past couple of years.
We were already moving towards a cashless society and then the pandemic hit – A catalyst for the transition to digital donations and online payments everywhere.
People have been encouraged to pay for everything by card or mobile – With just a quick tap of their card or smartphone, they’ve paid. No need for cash!
And thus, people are less likely to carry cash. And this is the very reason why your charity, church, school PTA or other charitable organisation must make sure that it has everything in place for easy, efficient and accessible online donation.
Here at Donater we make it our business to provide simple, straightforward digital payment options for charities. We are passionate about making it possible for all charitable organisations – Big and small – to be able to take digital donations so they can continue doing their vital work.
So here are our 10 Top Tips to make sure your supporters can easily donate online – From church congregations to school PTA’s.
10 Top Tips to Boost Online Donations
- Winning Website and Online Donation Page
The potential for online giving is huge, but research tends to find that online giving for churches in particular is only at about 15%. The first step to increasing this percentage is your website and online donation page, and making it mobile.
People are always on their smartphones, and if your website doesn’t display properly when someone logs on then you’ll lose that potential donation. Your website and your online donation page should be optimised for mobile. Make sure that it is obvious where to go to donate – Have a ‘Donate Here’ button that stands out against the rest of the page, where people can easily click through to make their donation.
Make sure that the branding between your organisation, website and online donation page is consistent. This creates trust with the donor and reassures them that their money is going direct to you. If possible, it’s also beneficial to keep website visitors on your page rather than leading them to a third-party site to make their donation. You could also consider using a .org domain as these are generally more trusted when making donations.
Once you’ve got your potential donor through your website to your donation page, don’t lose them at the last hurdle by bombarding them with a huge form to fill in. Ask for the least amount of information possible so it’s as quick and as easy as possible to make their donation. Don’t risk losing them – Keep it to the fewest number of steps possible.
Donater can help you with this with an easily accessible ‘Donate Now’ button and an online donation page branded to your organisation.
- Increase Traffic to Your Charity Website
Once you’ve got your website and online donation page looking snazzy, you need to encourage people to actually visit your website. The more people that visit, the more chances you have to turn that visit into an online donation, and thus the more donations you are likely to get.
There are a few great ways that you can promote your website:
– Talk about it during any events or gatherings – You could even suggest they make their donation there and then.
– Promote it on your social media channels, and encourage your current supporters to share it with their friends and followers.
– Make sure your SEO is up to scratch. If you’re not sure how to do this, ask for professional advice, or perhaps someone in amongst your supporters has the skills to help you.
– Promote it in all of your direct mailings and emails.
– Add it to any flyers or marketing material you use.
A Donater QR code is a fantastic way to direct people from flyers, marketing material, posters etc direct to your online donation page. All the person has to do is scan the QR code with their smartphone and they are taken directly to your donation page!
- Create a Mobile App
Want easy online donations? There’s an app for that. Today is the age of the smartphone – We have apps for staying connected with friends, banking, booking taxis, ordering take away food, and paying our friends. We’d hazard a guess that the majority of your supporters have a smartphone and are already familiar with apps, so convincing them to download yours shouldn’t be too difficult!
Imagine your entire support network having your app on their phone, with the ability to donate at the touch of a button.
Just like your website, your app should be branded consistently with your logo and colours so that they are confident they are interacting with your charity or organisation. And it’s not just donations that having an app is good for – They are so versatile and open up lots of opportunities for staying in touch with your supporters. You could share sermon recordings, update a blog, advertise events and display information.
Our sister company Sprechen are experts in all things tech and could assist you with app development.
- Enable Recurring Donations
Once they’ve donated once, invite them to give on a recurring basis – Maybe monthly would be a reasonable suggestion. Or even every Sunday if you are a church!
Online donors are more likely to give more to their church, and also more often. On average, those who give digitally give 33% more than those who donate in cash. They also donate 44% more often! This could be true of any charitable organisation. It pays to take things online!
It’s all about the tools. If they have an easy means of donating at their fingertips, then they can give whenever they feel inspired to do so.
And what’s even better than this, is that if you enable them to automate their donations they don’t even have to think about it, safe in the knowledge that their donation will automatically be made for them each month.
Once you’ve done the hard work of inspiring someone to donate that first time, use that opportunity to not just do it once but to keep donating. After that you have the lesser job of maintaining a relationship with them and reminding them how much of a difference their regular donations make.
It’s also worth considering suggesting specific gift sizes (e.g. £10, £20, £50) as research has shown that this directly increases the amount that is given. People like to be told what to do when it comes to donations!
It is also beneficial to make sure donors are aware that they can stop their recurring donation at any point – If they know it’s simple to stop, they are more likely to start!
- Use Text-to-Give Fundraising
There’s a few technological advances that are revolutionising fundraising, and Text-to-give is one of them. It’s super simple and great for organisations that meet regularly like churches or school PTA’s.
The great thing about text-to-give is that it’s easy and immediate. No need to remind or hope that your donors will go away and forget to look up your webpage later. With this, they can send a quick text from their phone and make their donation there and then.
No rooting around your handbag for spare coins, no promises of I’ll do it later; just quick and easy donations in the palm of their hand.
- Follow Up With E-mail
It’s pretty clear that regular communication with donors is extremely important, and email is one of the most convenient ways to do that, for you as well as your supporters.
Just as with your website and app, make sure your emails are on brand and compel the reader to want to find out more, entice them to click through to your website, and direct them towards your donation page.
Always personalise your emails as much as possible, so that your members really feel like you’re talking directly to them.
It’s important to balance out your donation emails so not all communication is asking for money. You could alternate them over the course of the month with an email once a week, with fundraising only messages every other week, and non-fundraising messages on the other weeks.
After a donor gives to your page, also make sure that a thank you email is sent – This serves as a receipt as well as showing your gratitude for their donation.
- Be Transparent With Finances
Just like with any organisation, not-for-profit or for-profit, donors expect transparency with finances so that they can see how their money is being spent.
Be as transparent as possible with your financial reports – Tell them how much you have raised, how that money has been spent and what funds are currently available.
The more you involve them, and prove how much difference their donations are making, the more likely they are to feel comfortable donating.
- Encourage Engagement
Sometimes it’s about quality, not quantity. You would be much better off with an engaged group of supporters of 100 people willing to give, than with a group of 1000 attendees who were disengaged with your mission and unwilling to donate.
Your charity is likely to be a community-driven organisation, especially if you are a church or school PTA, and as such will likely have passionate members who care about your cause. This care will translate to a willingness to mobilise and encourage their friends and family to be a part of that community too. And how better to become a part of that community, than by making a donation?
The more engaged people are with your charity and your mission, the more passionate they will be about making your mission theirs too.
Fundraising largely stems from building strong relationships with your supporters and members. Use these relationships to empower your supporters and encourage them to fundraise themselves on behalf of your charitable organisation.
Peer to peer fundraising is a brilliant opportunity to raise money as people really buy into a cause when it’s being sold to them by a friend or family member. Seeing someone who is important to them, fundraising so passionately for a cause they really care about is bound to bring in donations. They are more emotionally engaged and more likely to give, and give generously. (See our previous blog on the Psychology of Giving – People love to look generous in front of their peers!).
Do it in the right way, offer the right tools for their fundraising, and support them the whole way and you’re bound to not just increase your donations but also your charity growth and community.
- Keep Donors Updated
We spoke about emails earlier, but it’s important to regularly get in touch with your donors and let them know exactly how their money is having a positive effect. The more your donors feel directly connected to your mission, the more likely they are to keep giving. When they can see how much good change their donation is bringing, they will naturally want to keep helping. People nowadays really want to make a difference, and if you can show them that they are doing just that through donating, they will want to keep giving.
You should always use a donor’s gift in the way that they intended. If this becomes impossible due to priorities changing and something else becoming more urgent, then make sure you are very transparent in what you are doing. This is where it really helps keep the trust if some key supporters are a part of your finance committee.
If you have donors giving to different things, make sure that the communication they receive is specific to that area when you communicate with them.
- Be Grateful
Make sure your donors know that you are thankful for them. Let them know that you are grateful for their donations, and make the thank you as personal as possible.
Keep the process of how you do this as realistic as possible – Maybe you would like to hand write a thank you to each and every donor. But realistically, there probably isn’t time for that.
But whatever thank you you can achieve, letting your donors know they are appreciated is well worth the effort.
Devoting your time to your current donors and showing your appreciation of them will certainly pay off in the future.
It’s so important that all charitable organisations, no matter how small, have a successful fundraising strategy. Bringing your donations online is a huge part of that. We hope that these tips will help you to highlight what things you could work on and what you are already doing well, so you can keep your mission alive.
Digital Fundraising is easy to Integrate with Donater
Here at Donater we have a suite of fundraising tools specifically designed to make giving easier. Easier for the donor to make a donation, and easier for charitable organisations to receive that all-important fundraising.
Our suite of online fundraising tools include:
A dedicated online fundraising page, personalised to your charity or good cause. Supporters will immediately recognise your branding and thus, trust that they are in the right place to make a donation. Online fundraising pages are easy to share online via a handy link, and can be easily linked to your website with a ‘Donate Now’ button.
QR codes. We’ve all become more accustomed to QR codes with the NHS Covid app, so you’ll know how quick and easy it is to scan one with your smartphone. QR codes can be just as handy for taking donations. All your supporter has to do is scan the QR code with their smartphone, and it will take them to an online donation page. Once there, they can choose to donate with a tap via Google Pay or Apple Pay, or pay with their bank details. QR codes are a great addition to any physical marketing about your event, such as posters or newsletters as well as transforming a traditional donation box into a mobile way of taking digital donations.
NFC Tags. Our NFC tags take the above QR code concept a step further, and enable any supporter of yours with an NFC enabled smartphone to merely tap the tag or sticker. They will then be taken to an online donation page where they can make their donation quickly and simply. These work better with in-person events, but could easily be placed at the entrance to your charity or on collection boxes so visitors can donate to your cause if they wish.
Get in touch
If you would like to discuss how Donater could help your charitable cause to raise money digitally, https://donater.co.uk/contact-us/.