If you think people have a fear or lack of interest in donating online, think again. When asked, more than 60% of donors responded they plan on making an online donation at some point in the future. Recent survey results show that overall charitable giving increased in 2013 by 4.9%. One of the fastest growing channels was online giving, increasing by more than 13%.
Creating the right online donation form is advantageous for a number of reasons: convenience, cost-effectiveness, communication, and donor retention.
That’s right, I said donor retention.
An effective online donation form is one of the main ways for an organization to retain donors. We all know by now, approximately 3 out of 4 donors, will not give to the same organization again.
With donor retention in mind, here are five tips on creating an effective online donation form:
1. Keep it simple.
If your online donation form takes more than 60 seconds to complete, shorten it. The idea here is convenience. The more time it takes to complete the form, the less likely a potential donor is to submit it.
2. Provide giving level options.
Donors need you to paint a picture of how their contributions will impact the mission of your organization. Information like, your $20 donation will buy enough school supplies for one child for an entire school year, or your $30 donation will feed a family of four for a week, connects the donor and makes the experience feel more personal.
3. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS provide an option for donors to make their donation a recurring or monthly donation.
The number one way to achieve donor retention is by establishing a monthly or recurring giving program. According to industry expert, Harvey McKinnon, “When donors are upgraded to monthly giving, our analysis shows at least an 800% increase in income over a lifetime. Most monthly donors stay with an organization for 5-10 years — especially if they give via EFT (Electronic Fund Transfer). Some will give until they die.”
4. Allow donors to indicate their interests in the organization, but don’t require it.
If someone wants to take the time to tell you they are interested in volunteering, special events, etc. great! Never require a donor to provide too much personal information.
People want to know their information is secure!
There is one more component in the online giving experience that is not a part of the form itself, but is one of the most critical pieces to achieving donor retention:
Bonus: Thank them!
Thank online donors sincerely and expeditiously. Whatever the channel may be, email, letter, phone call, remember it is called a thank “YOU”. Again, let donors know how important they are to fulfilling your mission. This is the time to glorify and appreciate them. Also, consider having your executive director, or a board member, make a personal phone call to donors giving over a certain level. A little personal attention can go a long way. Make every donor feel like they matter.
What works on your online donation forms? Let me know in the comments below!