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As the world becomes increasingly more digital, nonprofits around the globe are recognizing the importance of accepting online donations as a form of giving. Online giving can provide numerous benefits for nonprofits, from increasing donation amounts to improving donor engagement.
Fortunately, accepting donations online is easier than ever, thanks to technology! In this blog post, we will explore why online giving options are important and show you how to accept donations on your website with 7 easy steps.
Why It’s Important to Accept Online Donations
Collecting online donations can be a powerful and budget-friendly way to raise funds for your cause or organization. However, it can also be a daunting task, especially if you’re not familiar with the process. But with 63% of donors preferring to give online, it’s becoming more and more important for nonprofits to offer this option to donors.
Whether you’re a small nonprofit just starting out or an established organization looking to enhance your fundraising efforts, let’s explore six reasons why online giving is important for nonprofits and how it can help your organization reach fundraising success.
1) Donor Convenience
Being able to gather donations online is a big deal for making things easy on your donors. They can show some love for your organization quickly, no matter where they are in the world. Nowadays, life’s moving fast, and donors really appreciate the option to give when they want to, without dealing with going somewhere or mailing a check.
Online giving options also provide a range of payment methods, allowing donors to give using their preferred payment method, whether that’s a credit card, PayPal, or another online payment service. To ensure that your online giving options are as convenient as possible, it’s important that your organization invests in a donor management platform that offers multiple payment processing options, such as Keela.
2) Increased Efficiency and Saved Time
Online giving options aren’t just about making donors happy – they’re also about getting things done faster. These online giving platforms come packed with all sorts of tools that make donating a breeze. That way, you can focus your time and effort on the stuff that can’t be done on a screen, like building those in-person donor relationships.
In addition to saving time and resources, online giving options also provide you with a way to track donations and donor data in real-time, which can help you better understand your donor base and improve your fundraising strategies. For this to be effective, it’s critical that your organization invests in a fundraising platform that will automate many of the tasks associated with making a donation, such as donor acknowledgement and tax receipting.
Being able to collect donations online is a must to make sure donors can easily pitch in, no matter where they are. When it comes to online giving, donors don’t have to stress about being there in person or mailing in their support. This makes it a good option for donors that live far away or may not be able to access your office easily. With online giving, you’re opening up the door for more people to join in – especially those who might not have been able to give before for logistical reasons.
4) Increased Giving
Online giving has been proven to boost donations and cash flow for nonprofits in quite a few ways. First off, these online giving platforms make it easy and accessible for donors to give. Making it easy can nudge supporters to give more often and maybe even go bigger with their contributions and give more that they may have held back on if things were more complicated.
Additionally, online giving options can provide donors with the option to set up recurring donations. On average, recurring donors are over 5 times more valuable for your nonprofit than one-time donors. This means that when you’re considering how to accept donations on your website, it’s important to set up your online donation page to include recurring giving prompts in order to turn more one-time donors into ongoing supporters.
Finally, there are more advanced donation forms available currently that are able to pull in a combination of donor giving history, demographic information, and wealth indicators to generate a custom ask amount for every donor. As technology becomes more advanced, more and more nonprofits will be investing in online donation platforms that offer these kinds of features, so it’s important to invest in them sooner rather than later.
5) Donor Engagement
Offering online giving options is a smart move to amp up how involved your donors are with your organization. These online giving platforms come packed with interesting tools that let you connect with your donors. You can send them personalized messages, let them spread the word on social media, and even send them email updates. Plus, you often get real-time info on how your fundraising’s doing, which can excite your donors to jump in and help you reach your fundraising goals.
Online giving is particularly important for millennial and Gen Z donors, who have grown up in the digital age and expect a seamless and convenient online experience. These generations are more likely to donate online than through traditional methods, and they place a high value on transparency and communication from the organizations they support. By offering online giving options, your nonprofit can better engage with these donors and provide a transparent and convenient way for them to support your cause.
Offering online giving choices can also be a budget-friendly option for nonprofits compared to more traditional fundraising tactics. When you accept donations online, you avoid costs like printing and postage for mailing donation forms. Those expenses can really add up, especially for bigger nonprofits. Additionally, the fees for processing transactions on these online giving platforms are usually lower than the credit card fees tied to traditional fundraising. This means more of each donation can head straight to your cause, instead of being invested in admin. Transaction fees can differ between online giving platforms, so keep a close eye on ones with the lowest fees, like Keela, for instance.
On top of all this, online giving choices makes handling donations very easy, cutting down the time and effort you need to manage and track those contributions. This leaves you with more resources to zero in on your mission and the impact you’re making.
7 Steps to Accept Donations Online
1) Create a Donation Page and Form
The first step in collecting online donations is to create a donation page and form that you can direct potential donors to.
Remember, the goal of having a donation form, in the first place, is to make it easier for donors to give. Your donation form needs to be simple and easy to access. When potential donors visit your website to donate, they shouldn’t have to dig too far to find what they need. They should be able to find your donation form and support you within a few clicks.
In this example, notice how Legado’s donation form is beautifully designed. With this form, this nonprofit organization reminds visitors of its core mission. They included a link to their annual reports to show the impact of donors’ contributions. The form also clarifies that a donation receipt will be emailed to donors after they donate, which goes a long way to building credibility and trust.
2) Embed Your Donation Form on Your Website
By adding a donation form to your nonprofit’s website, you meet your donors where most of them are — online.
You have two options to collect donations through an online form: you can create a separate web page or embed the form directly on your website. We recommend embedding your donation form directly onto your website. This will help keep visitors and donors on your website longer and make them feel more comfortable as they make their donations.
3) Choose a Reliable Payment Processor
To accept donations online, you need to integrate a payment processor or payment gateway into your form or website. The most popular platforms for accepting online donations are Paypal and Stripe.
Both PayPal and Stripe offer nonprofit discounts, and as such, compared to other payment processors, they make it easier for you to recoup a more significant percentage of your donations.
4) Automate Tax Receipts and Donor Acknowledgement
The next step has to do with donation tax receipts themselves. Your donation receipts should be automatically sent to your donors in a PDF format to save time and reduce stress.
As soon as a gift is received through your online donation form, the receipt should be automatically generated and emailed to donors immediately. The donation receipt includes the Donation ID, Serial Number, Organization Name and Address, and Signatures. For recurring donations, the donors should be able to choose to receive a receipt for every gift or a cumulative receipt at the end of the year.
5) Segment Your Donor Email List
Email is the best way to stay in touch with your donors and send updates about your organization. Creating effective email fundraising campaigns will result in more donations down the line. With solid email communications, you can engage your donors, communicate your impact and remind them how important their gifts are to your mission.
However, for your email communications to be effective, you need to understand your donors. Segmenting your donors based on their giving history will help you identify your most and least engaged supporters. With this information, you can send targeted messages to each donor segment to encourage them to take action.
6) Use Email to Promote Your Donation Form
Now that you have successfully identified your donor segments, you can communicate with them in the right way. Your email should include different content that will resonate with each segment, and should always include a donate button with a link to your online donation page.
Remember, it’s important to make it as easy as possible for your donors to give, so make sure the button has a clear call to action and goes directly to the page where they can make their donation.
Whatever you do, be sure to include a donate button with a donation link in your email. Remember, your donors should be able to access your donation form easily.
7) Encourage Donors to Go Paperless
Dive into your database and determine who your donors are that tend to give offline. Once you have that list, it’s time to encourage them to move online by sending a letter!
The letter should explain why removing paper receipts helps your nonprofit organization save time and money on printing, mailing, and other manual processes. Highlight how this transition also helps to reduce paper waste and support a healthier environment and also allows more of their donation to be invested in your mission and not in administration.
How to Promote Your Online Donation Page
So you’ve set up your donation page and you’re ready to accept donations online. But how do you make sure that you’re getting your message out and showing that your fundraising platform is open for business?
Promoting online donation pages is crucial for your nonprofit! You put it in all the work, now it’s time to spread the word. Here are a few ideas of how you can best promote your online donation pages to inspire your community to use them:
1) Fundraising Campaigns
A fundraising campaign can be a powerful tool for nonprofits to promote their online giving options and encourage donations. When crafting an email campaign, it’s important to focus on telling a compelling story that showcases the impact of donations and inspires supporters to give.
Every email campaign should include direct links to your online donation page in the email, making it easy for donors to give with just a few clicks. Personalization is also key, so you should be segmenting your email lists and tailoring your messaging to different donor groups.
2) Social Media
Social media is an important platform for your organization to promote your online donation pages. Using social media to share compelling stories and updates that highlight the impact that your organization is having is a great way to encourage donors to give.
In general, we spend a large portion of our lives on social media, so it’s no surprise that social media platforms also offer various tools that can help you encourage online giving, such as fundraising buttons and links to donation pages. These buttons create a donor-centric experience and allow you to meet donors where they are spending most of their time online.
Social media can also be a great tool for donor engagement, allowing you to respond to questions, share donor stories, raise money and foster a sense of community among your supporters. By effectively leveraging social media you can reach your fundraising goals and make a greater impact in your community.
3) Website Placement
Strategic website placement is essential for visibility of your online donation pages. You should always aim to make your donation page easy to find and accessible from every page of your website. This can be achieved by prominently featuring a “Donate” button or link in the header or footer of the website, and ensuring that it is displayed prominently on the homepage.
You can also use pop-ups or banners to encourage website visitors to donate and direct them to the donation page. The pop-ups should include a clear CTA along with a brief impact statement. Pop-ups can be a great addition to a multi-channel fundraising campaign as they allow donors who have read about your fundraising campaign through email or social media to quickly find your donation page and make their gift.
4) Fundraising Events
Fundraising events offer an excellent opportunity for your nonprofit to promote your online donation pages. You can promote your donation page before, during, and after a fundraising event in several ways.
Before the event, you can include a link to the donation page in all event marketing materials, such as invitations, flyers, and social media posts. During the event, you can prominently display your donation page on digital screens, banners, or printed materials, and make it easy for attendees to donate on the spot using their mobile devices. Creating a QR code is a great way to make it easy for your event attendees to make a donation online.
You can also use a fundraising event to encourage recurring donations by setting up a booth or table where attendees can sign up for monthly giving programs. Your booth should be inspirational and contain giveaways that share the work being done towards your mission and the impact that recurring donors can make. Ideally, your attendees will sign up to be a recurring donor on the spot, but you can also follow up with attendees via email or social media after the event to thank them for their support and encourage additional giving through your online donation page.
In conclusion, online giving options are critical for nonprofits looking to increase revenue. Your donors are becoming more and more accustomed to using technology in their daily lives and nonprofits that don’t offer online donations capabilities are more likely to see a decrease in both number of donations and revenue. Before investing in an online giving option, it’s important that you understand your organization’s goals and set up your donation pages in a way that highlights the impact that donors can have.