According to a website usability study by Jakob Nielsen, potential donors consistently want the same questions answered when determining whether or not they will give online. In most cases, if website visitors have to look hard to answer these questions, they become frustrated and may be swayed not to give.
Considering that nonprofits receive around 10% of donations online, and estimates say they’ll constitute the majority of donations by 2020, websites should be as donor-friendly as possible. Here are the four questions donors want answered before they give and how you can answer them.
1. What are you trying to achieve?
Every website visitor wants to know who you are and what you value. This is why the About page is consistently the second most visited page on any website (behind the home page). Make it easy for potential donors to determine what you value and why you exist.
- Write a brief description of who you are on your home page, using keywords to get your point across.
- Create a page that outlines your mission, your beliefs, and your goals (or a separate page for each).
- Use graphics or ads to direct people to these pages.
- Write news stories or blogs showing what your ministry has done and what its doing.
2. How do you use donations?
Detailing what donations are used for is a great way to gain credibility with potential donors. Create a pie chart or list detailing what percentage of donations go to operating costs, specific aspects of ministry, staffing, and other costs. Donors’ minds will be set at ease once they learn where their money goes and will be more likely to contribute.
3. How can I give?
It is important to explain, in clear and concise writing, the different ways in which they can give. On websites where users left without giving, 53% were frustrated with content–unclear writing, missing information or confusing terms.
Without using jargon or obscure language, make sure you cover these topics (if you accept these types of donations):
- Automatic, recurring giving (which encourages more giving over time)
- Non-monetary donations
- Giving in wills
- Giving by check or money order, through the mail
- Giving over the phone
4. Where do I give?
Surprisingly, Nielsen’s study found that donors couldn’t find where to give on 17% of the websites used. Using a simplistic home page design with minimal banners, ads, and graphics is one way to avoid this problem. To avoid “banner blindness,” limit your graphics to only your key calls-to-action. And, of course, make “Give” or “Donate” clear in your navigation.