Did you know that most donors check out your website before they make a gift – whether they are giving on line or through the mail?

A recent study found that potentially up to 50% of your donors are going to check you out online before they give, whether they give online or not.

Couple that with the fact that the last week of the year is THE BIGGEST week for online donations, and it’s time to give your website a little tune-up.

Your website’s purpose is to provide an online resource for donors and prospects about the work your nonprofit is doing.  You might also use it to recruit volunteers, communicate with clients, and more, but be sure that its main purpose is education about your mission and your work.

Here are some things to help you maximize online giving this year. bigstockphoto_Keyboard_Hands____6603

1. Make it user-friendly.  Your website needs to be clean and easy to navigate.  People are very impatient online, and if your website looks too hard to wade through, people will go elsewhere.  Make it very easy for people to find what they’re looking for.

2. Make it sticky. Include lots of juicy info that your donor will be interested in.  Tell stories about the people you’re helping.  Highlight a few ket statistics of your cause.  Write short bits that your website visitor will be captivated by.  If your website contains lots of long paragraphs about your organization, donors won’t stick around.  They aren’t interested in your organization – they want to know about the people whose lives are being changed by your nonprofit.

3. Make your Donate Now button big and red and in the upper right corner of every page.  People won’t work hard to make a gift, so make it very easy for them.

4. Use simple language and great photos. Dump the acronyms and industry jargon.  Don’t talk about “at-risk populations” or “service recipients.”  Your donors and website visitors won’t know what that means.

5. Tell stories. Tell short, human-interest stories about the people your organization serves.  We want to read about the underdog overcoming adversity or tales that make us believe in the goodness of the world.  Share how your nonprofit is helping to make them happen.

Get these things right and you’ll dramatically increase the online donations you’ll receive this year!



  1. Make it sticky – that means the syrup from your dessert gets on your keyboard when you’re working on your website right? Just kidding.

    So often we forget to write things from the perspective of a donor. If our website looks the same as it did a year ago, aren’t they going to start to wonder what difference their gift made (if it appears as if nothing’s changed)? Thanks for the reminder to keep it interesting.

  2. Sandy, great list! I want to add that the first step is to make sure you have a website and that it represents your organization well. We live in a time where people probably don’t even do business with an organization that doesn’t have a website. In addition, that website needs to look as professional and polished as we want donors to view our nonprofit. I see nonprofits push websites to the back burner, but that just doesn’t cut today.

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