When creating the donation page on your website, you will come across many suggestions: including where to put your donate button on the home page (top right side), how many donation suggestions you should include, whether you should use a pop-up or an embedded form. The one thing you may not think too much about is your nonprofit’s donation link. Most nonprofit employees do not have a marketing degree, and what is out there online can be confusing. We have created a simple guide for you to follow when creating your donation link.
What is a Donation Link?
A donation link is the URL or website address where your donation form is held. This is the webpage where your donors will complete their donations. Some website visitors will only want to use this webpage, so ensure it is easy to find.
One way to do that is by including a featured snippet for this page in any Google ads you may purchase. Google ads allow you to have multiple headers so they can send people to the web page that best matches their search. Including a featured snippet of your donation link will make it easy for Google to send those who want to donate to your organization directly to the donation page.
Common Types of Donation Links
Many a time, donation links are interchangeably used with payment processors; they are third-party companies used to finalize online credit card or ACH purchases and donations safely. Below we have listed some of the more well-known and affordable options for nonprofits. Before choosing a payment processor, ensure that your donation software supports your preferred payment processor.
PayPal is the most common of all third-party payment processors. Their popularity has also made them one of the most trusted. It is easy to set up an account with PayPal, and they offer a lower processing cost for nonprofits. The current processing cost for 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations is 2.2% + $0.30 for each transaction. Donorbox supports PayPal, but only business accounts can connect with our system. With Donorbox, you can also ask your donors to cover the processing fee of PayPal – the simplest way to ensure maximum donations.
Stripe gives the same level of security as PayPal, and the cost is only slightly higher at 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. It is also the chosen payment processor of Donorbox because of the vast options nonprofits receive. There are discounted fees for nonprofits as well. Donors can use credit and debit cards, ACH, SEPA, Google Pay, and Apple Pay using this processor (shown in the image below). The best part about Stripe is the ability to collect data from your donor’s credit cards. This is entirely PCI compliant, but PayPal does not offer this option.
Square allows nonprofits to take donations on your website or in person. Most nonprofits use this payment processor at events. The cost is comparable to PayPal and Stripe, at 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction. The price will be higher at 3.5% + $0.15 if you manually enter the customer’s card information instead of swiping it. Square transfers payments to nonprofits within one to two business days.
With Square, nonprofits can add customer information and collect recurring donations. Unfortunately, recurring donations will be charged the higher fee each time. Donorbox makes recurring donations a breeze with multiple intervals, payment options, and utmost security.
How to Create a Donation Link for Your Nonprofit
A donation link is just the URL or website address of your donation page, and the process for creating that link depends on your donation software. Donorbox makes that process easy.
The above image shows a donation page hosted by Donorbox. All you need to create one is a Donorbox account; sign up with your email address and a password. Once that is done, you can create your first campaign with a campaign name and description. Then create a customized donation form for your campaign. Finally, add a payment processor.
Stripe and PayPal are both supported by Donorbox, but Stripe is our main payment processor. Signing up for both allows donors to use whichever works best for them. Connecting both accounts on the Donorbox dashboard is simple with step-by-step directions.
Once your payment processor is connected, you can go live with a Donorbox-hosted donation page or with an embedded form, pop-up form, or donate button on your own donation page. Read our blog on how to get started with Donorbox.
How to Promote Your Donation Link
Online donation links make accepting donations easier for nonprofits, but they are useless if your organization does not promote their existence. Nonprofits can promote donation links in several ways, online and off. The following are just a few examples of how your organization can share with donors how to donate online.
1. Social Media
Social media is likely the first place that comes to mind when it comes to promoting online. If your organization has collected enough followers on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you can promote your donation link at no cost.
The way to find success with social media is by telling a story. With each post, include your donation link. Donors will appreciate the convenience, especially if you have done your due diligence to inform and persuade them.
If your organization is still new to online fundraising, and you are not reaching the number of people you would like through social media, you can promote your donation link with Facebook and Google Ads. Remember, featured links can be added to your Google Ads to help reach the right people.
Learn more about How to Plan and Execute a Stellar Nonprofit Social Media Campaign.
Promoting your donation link with an email will be similar to social media campaigns with a few key differences.
Your organization will not want to send out too many emails since this can cause more donors to unsubscribe from your email list. Because of this, your organization will not connect with donors as often as you do through social media.
Emails must connect with the donor quickly, but they also can share more information and influence donors’ actions. With the right subject line and story, you can reach your donor base and encourage them to act. By segmenting donors by their interest in specific campaigns and programs, along with the donation amounts they can afford, your emails will have a better chance of getting donors to click.
At the end of each email you send to donors, there should be a call to action. This call to action will ask your donors to give to your campaign and include your donation link.
Some event attendees will donate with cash or check, but others would rather donate online. One way to accept these online donations is with a hand-held payment processor. Square has a system that is easy and convenient to use at events. If your organization chooses not to collect online donations at the event, you must offer an easy way for attendees to donate after they leave.
Include your donation link on all programs and pamphlets. Encourage attendees to visit your website to make a donation and point out where they can find the link.
4. Fundraising Letters
Mailed solicitation letters are still a widely used way to raise funds. Including a pre-paid envelope will encourage many donors to send checks, but many will still want to give online. Including your donation link on the pre-paid envelope and in the solicitation letter will provide donors with several opportunities to see where they can connect online.
5. Website Banner
Website banners are another way nonprofits can promote their donation link to those outside their current donor list. They can be created on Google and Facebook; then shared on other similar websites or Facebook.
The cost for these ads is determined by views or clicks to your website. Nonprofits will also want to hire a designer or use a volunteer with design experience to create the website banner. A professional-looking banner will have better results. You will want to include the cost of a designer in your budget for this campaign.
Along with a professional design, you will need to write effective content and include your donation link.
Create a Donation Link Today
Your donation link is a powerful tool to help donors quickly find your donation page. Those who already know about the good work you do know they want to give and will appreciate the convenience.
After creating your donation link and making it live, you can promote it through social media, email, events, letters, and online ads. Remember to use the donation link as a call to action after telling your story. This will get you the best return on your campaigns.