Formstack Blog

4 Quick Ways for Nonprofits to Get More Website Donations in 2016

We’re well into the new year, and you’re probably finishing up the last of your giving statements for last year’s donations. That means it’s time to turn your eyes toward new ways to earn more funding and nurture recurring donor relationships. Every nonprofit has its tried-and-true tactics for bringing donations in the door, such as an annual charity dinner, corporate matching programs, or maybe even a holiday 5K. But you might be missing out on the best-kept secret for getting more donations this year: your website.

Here at Formstack, we surveyed over 200 marketers in businesses and nonprofits across the country about their best strategies and greatest opportunities. We uncovered a lot of great findings for our “The State of Lead Capture in 2016” report, but one of the most interesting tidbits was around how successful your website can be. When we asked our marketers what mediums result in their best quality leads (or in your case, donors), 23% of respondents credited their websites, more than any other tactic.

If you’re looking to ramp up your donations this year (and let’s be honest, what nonprofit wouldn’t accept more donations?), we’ve got four tips to help you harness your website and grow your cause:  

1. Define your own “lead.” A lot of the marketers in our survey work in industries with very defined marketing prospects, such as someone who fills out a demo request form and is contacted by a salesperson. However, as a nonprofit, your marketing prospects are a bit different. Do you have a page where volunteers can sign up for service opportunities? Those are people who can be nurtured toward giving campaigns or encouraged to bring their friends to future events. Do you have a web form for people to request more info about child sponsorship? Contact forms are a common method of lead capture in most industries. Once you define what a “lead” might be for your organization, you can create goals around getting more people like that on your site.

2. Establish your website conversion rate. Once you have a good idea of what your best quality leads might be, take a look at your current conversion rate to establish benchmarks and set goals. A conversion rate is where you compare the number of people who complete your goal against the number of people exposed to your website. So if your goal is to get people to fill out a recurring donation form, divide the number of people who submitted the form by the number of people who visited that page. Knowing these numbers will help you compare different strategies you use to drive more nonprofit donations or engagement and determine whether they help or hurt your cause.

3. Use advocacy to your advantage. Every nonprofit has a subset of recurring donors who have been there for the organization since the beginning. Harness this loyalty by using their network to grow your own. In our lead capture survey, 17.5% of respondents reported that referrals gave them their best quality leads, second only to their website conversions (check out the chart below for all of the responses to this question). Once you’ve beefed up your website, try building out a landing page with resources to help your donors spread the news about your cause. Try hosting a fundraising contest with tickets to your annual dinner as the prize, or encourage donors to ask for charitable donations instead of gifts over the holiday season.

4. Segment your email lists for better donor engagement. In our “The State of Lead Capture in 2016” survey, email marketing was a consistent driver of high quality leads for our respondents. If you’re not currently using email marketing to re-engage old donors or entice new ones, hook up your donation form with an email client and quickly build lists from your website conversions. Once you’ve got a batch of email addresses, try to segment them based on how they’ve interacted with your nonprofit. Have a lot of one-time donors? Send them an email about recurring options or gift matching. What about campus representatives at local colleges? Target them with materials for organizing a fundraiser at their school. 

Want all the marketing tips from our “The State of Lead Capture in 2016” report? Click the link below to read it now!