Cash and check donations are mailed or collected at events. Your organization may have a large number of older donors who are comfortable with the check and cash system, but our current pandemic has limited many of these options.
Online systems are quickly becoming the favorite way of collecting donations. To accept donations online, your organization will need a way to collect donations on your website, store donor information, and promote these new ways of giving. This article will walk you through seven steps to help you easily collect more donations online.
7 steps to collect donations online –
- Create a donation form
- Set up a crowdfunding page
- Enable recurring donations
- Encourage company gift matching
- Create urgency with a goal meter
- Launch a text-to-give campaign
- Share your donation page in fundraising letters
But before we get on to the steps, it is important for you to know how to accept and manage more online donations. Once you have the idea of how to store your donor/donation data, automate some of the tedious processes for ease, and promote them effectively, collecting donations online would be a breeze.
How to Accept (and Manage) More Online Donations
Before you can benefit from online donations, you need a system set up to make the process easier. Collecting donations is only part of it. As you research online donation systems, you will need to find one that helps with donor management and soliciting and automatically schedule some of these actions.
Collecting donations online is easier than many realize. There are several processing systems out there. Some target nonprofits and others can be used for both nonprofit and for-profit businesses, like Paypal and Stripe. Donors can use credit cards or their bank account to make their gifts. Processing fees are included with these transactions, but the convenience and safety of online donations override the cost for many donors.
The best online payment processors include a donor management system. This is essential for strengthening relationships with donors and raising more funds. Donor management systems that include donor profiles, donor segmentation, and reporting tools will significantly benefit your organization.
A nonprofit fundraiser’s time is limited, and they must spend it efficiently. Online donation systems that automate some actions are a good use of money for an organization.
Donor gifts that can be collected online weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually will impress your donors and make life easier for your staff. Donorbox includes automatic notifications to nonprofits for donor anniversaries and changes to recurring donations. Donation receipts can also be automated to put less stress on your staff.
After choosing an online donation system, it is vital to promote the option to donate online to your donors. If your donor management system allows you to segment your donors, you can send targeted campaigns to your donors.
Easily find donors who have given online already. Split these donors into small, medium, and large donors and send emails to each group. You can create donation forms that include amounts that are targeted to each group and programs that appeal to specific donors.
7 Steps to Collect More Online Donations
After choosing an online donation system that provides ways to collect donations, store donor information, and promote campaigns online, it is time to start accepting donations online. We have listed seven steps below to help you collect more donations online.
1. Create a donation form
Donation forms can be created for general donations and individual campaigns.
Online donation forms should not overwhelm the donor. Collect only the necessary donor information and if possible, include donation amounts that fit within the donor’s budget. Donorbox donation forms make it easy to collect donations online with suggested amounts, donation tiers, memorial donations, company matching gifts, and recurring donation options.
There are two different donation forms your organization can use to accept donations on your website. Embedded and pop-up forms each have pros and cons. Choosing which form to use and when to use it depends on your goals.
Embedded forms are located on your website’s landing pages. Each email and social media campaign your organization sends out will link donors to a landing page on your website. These pages are an essential part of marketing to new donors. These pages are another way to answer questions and give website visitors more information on your organization.
Once your donors have reached your landing page and have decided to donate, an embedded form is the best option to collect online donations. These forms can also be branded to match the rest of your website. Embedded forms can also gather more information than pop-ups and are better for new donors. Here’s how an embedded Donorbox donation form looks like on a nonprofit website –
Collect donor names, addresses, and emails along with information on which programs that most interest them. Embedded forms also give donors options for donation amounts which will help you with future campaigns.
Pop-up donation forms are meant for those who know they want to donate. There is no extra room on these forms to convince donors, so they work as a call to action for donors. Pop-up forms can be most effective when the timing is right. Use this form to make it easy for visitors arriving or leaving your website.
truthout.org makes the most of a Donorbox popup form to encourage their website visitors to donate to their cause quickly.
2. Set up a crowdfunding page
It is rare to find someone who has not seen a crowdfunding campaign online. Whether these campaigns ask for donations in place of birthday gifts or are meant to collect money for a family facing tough times, people are becoming more comfortable asking their friends and family for donations.
Crowdfunding campaigns have gained popularity because of how easy it is to share these campaigns. After seeing how many people started to use crowdfunding to raise necessary funds for individuals, nonprofits began to jump on the bandwagon. Crowdfunding is quickly becoming the first choice for many fundraisers.
Organizations have found the most success with crowdfunding when used to raise funds for specific programs. Donorbox offers crowdfunding pages that can be customized for each campaign. Tell your organization’s story and share pictures and videos on your crowdfunding page. Post regular updates online about your campaign’s successes. Allow donors to subscribe and send personal emails to encourage donor involvement.
See how successfully Seeds Wilderness Therapy is running a crowdfunding campaign on Donorbox to help families with struggling teens.
3. Enable recurring donations
As a nonprofit, there are few things better than a recurring donor. Recurring donations can be collected weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually. These donations are reliable and can add to an organization’s annual budget.
These donors are also primed for relationship building. They have already shown they trust your organization enough to give regularly. The more you learn about these donors, the deeper your relationship with them can grow.
The convenience of automatically collecting these donations gives donors and nonprofits peace of mind. Donors do not have to waste their time visiting your website each month to donate, and your organization can count on these donations and add them to their budget each year.
Online donation systems that collect recurring donations are easy to come by, but some systems, like Donorbox, offer more benefits to donors. With a login and password, donors can upgrade and manage their recurring donations themselves. Nonprofits receive automatic notifications when recurring donations expire and when donors change the donation amounts.
4. Encourage company gift matching
Many corporations offer matching gifts as an extra employee benefit. The obvious bonus to these recurring gifts is the additional amount from the businesses.
If donors are not sure if their company offers matching donations, they can visit Double the Donation. Donorbox has partnered with Double the Donation to make adding this to your website easier.
Another way to encourage more donations is by starting a campaign highlighting a company’s matching gift. If you have built a relationship with a local business and formed a community partnership, ask if they are willing to match a campaign’s donation amount in exchange for free advertising. Many companies are open to this option instead of another event sponsorship.
Once you have the company’s buy-in, you can start sending out communication pieces asking people to donate to reach the matching amount. Give them a specific campaign ending date and encourage excitement and involvement in the campaign.
5. Create urgency with a goal meter
Matching gift campaigns are a great way to create urgency with your donors. Another way is to include a goal meter on the campaign website landing page and any communication piece you send to donors. Goal meters, or fundraising thermometers, are a visual way to track how a campaign is doing.
Nonprofits can add these thermometers to website landing pages and any communication pieces they send out to donors. Many people are visual learners, and this image of how a campaign is doing encourages action quicker than any verbal post will do. Tarjimly is a great example of a nonprofit leveraging the benefits of a goal meter in the best way possible.
It is also encouraging to donors to see their individual donation having an immediate impact on a campaign. If your campaign goal is to reach a specific amount to gain a matching corporate gift, your donors will gain more excitement when they can see how close to that goal you are. Donors may even give more if their donation pushes your campaign over the goal.
6. Launch a text-to-give campaign
Online donations are not only for social media. Online campaigns can include emails and text-to-give campaigns. As technology improved, more nonprofits have found text-to-give campaigns working well for their organizations.
Text-to-give campaigns started out only being successful for large brand name organizations, like the Red Cross. In the past, a news story would come out about a flood, tornado, or hurricane hitting a large location with hundreds of people being affected. The Red Cross would just have to send out the campaign information to the news and their millions of supporters to see a quick response.
Today, there does not need to be a tragedy for people to use text-to-give. Nonprofits and even churches have begun to use text-to-give campaigns as ways to reach supporters. Instead of asking for an offering every Sunday, churches can simply start a text-to-give campaign. Younger donors are the most open to this type of campaign.
With Donorbox, it’s easy and convenient. You get a unique campaign ID and a texting number as soon as you enable text-to-give. Your donors need to send that ID to the number and in turn, they’ll receive a mobile-friendly donation page link for making the donation. The next time they want to repeat the same donation, it’s even quicker, as shown in the image below.
Our ultimate text-to-give guide will help you get started today!
7. Share Your donation page in fundraising letters
Just because your nonprofit is collecting donations online does not mean all your solicitations should be online. Many nonprofits have a large number of donors who are older and more comfortable with mailed solicitation letters. These donors will often send checks or even give cash. Some of these donors will never give online.
You can persuade other donors but they may not know or understand online giving. By reaching out to them the way they are comfortable, you have already started to build trust.
Fundraising letters can encourage online donations by simply mentioning the option and including a link in the letter or email. If you are just starting to accept donations online, you can also send a letter explaining why and how this type of donation can help donors like them.
Giving them facts about the safety and convenience of online giving can encourage more donors to try this new option. Sharing details about your online system’s fraud prevention and protection services can assure them that your organization cares about their concerns. Letting them know about ways online giving can save them and the organization money may also get their attention.
Fundraising letters can be a powerful tool to collect more donations online and offline.
Donors are more comfortable giving online, and this trend is only growing. By choosing not to add online giving to your website, you are missing out on thousands of dollars. Accepting donations online is not as difficult or expensive as it once was. Online donation applications, like Donorbox, make it an affordable option for even the smallest organization.
As you start to accept donations on your website, you can learn more about how to raise more funds online. Visit our blog for tips to help you succeed in your online giving.