How easy do you make it or your constituents to give to you online?
I'm not talking about your "give now" button or your homepage design, but rather the design of your actual giving page mechanism and the experience your donors have when attempting to make an online gift. As we know, online giving is the fastest growing giving method, up 20% in the last year alone and as more and more people completely wire their lives, consider this report from networking company Cisco that states the increase in mobile data traffic grew 2.3-fold in 2011, more than doubling for the fourth year in a row. Average smartphone usage nearly tripled in 2011.
So I must ask you if you have looked at your online giving statistics lately? Do you know the percentage of your donors that give online? Have you tried making a gift online to your organization recently? Have you checked out your giving website on your smartphone? What is your abandon rate on your giving site? This means how many people click on your site, attempt to fill out your form and then leave without making a gift??
Part of the consulting work I do is to help people optimize their online giving and make it donor focused so I have quite a list- Here are some characteristics and samples of good giving sites for your organizations in the comments and screen shots below!
1. The site should not take long to complete, if you make it long and cumbersome with many boxes, required info and such, you are killing your rates. In addition, leave your development jargon off of this page, how do I know what a constituent means to you? And look at that scary drop down of giving choices- what do they mean? And why is unrestricted LAST?
2. Can I make a pledge and pay a pledge online? If not, why? This should be easy, if I am allowed to pledge online my gift will be larger! Also on this site there is a nifty campaign thermometer redesigned at the bottom and a link to a map so you can see where other donors are from- interactive and brilliant!
3. Is there an option for monthly giving? I want to be able to give you my card number and have you deduct a certain amount each month on a date that I specify- these gifts are larger than one time gifts and allow you to have fewer lapsed donors. This option to be reminded by Skidmore College is brilliant, so donor friendly!!
4. Can I give using my iPhone, iPad, droid or blackberry? What does your site look like on a smaller screen? Remember if you send me an email appeal and call to action, I will probably open it on my mobile device and act right away. If you make that difficult and I can't complete the transaction from my device, you've lost my money!
5. When I complete giving what do I see? I should see an immediate acknowledgment and a page where I can share the news that I just made a gift to you via integrated Facebook, twitter and other links, so I can let others know! This is so easy to do its ridiculous but we still seem to be missing it!! At the minimum take me to a page where I can join your LinkedIn group, like your Facebook page or follow you on twitter! If I just made a gift, I'm more likely to do so now!
6. Am I emailed an acknowledgment and receipt immediately? Save your paper here folks! If I'm giving to you digitally, thank and receipt me in the same manner!
7. As far as the actual payment, remember that I don't have to give you a blood sample and my first born hold in order for you to process my card! The information can be minimal, especially once I give you my CVV code! Stop making me answer 60 questions just because you want more data!
8. Do you make it easy for me to designate my funds? Is there a box I can tell you more about where I want my money to go? Look at this poor example below, why do I have to search to find what you want me to give to? This is too much work for me to give YOU a GIFT!
9. For all that is goo and holy, stop suggesting amounts to me with radio buttons! You've probably aimed too low or too high and I'm not happy about that- if I'm going online to give you $100 and you start your giving options with $25 what do you think I'm going to do? The opposite is true too, what if you overshoot and I am offended? SEE BELOW:
10. That being said, please make sure I can give you a LARGE amount online. I may need some airline miles and paying my $50,000 pledge online will help me get elite status. I've seen it happen and I've seen organizations that won't let a donor give large gifts online, or limits the type of card I can use. Don't cut off Amex jut because it costs more, it is my card of choice, especially for large gifts and if you stop me from using it, you are killing my donation amount. Remember most Amex's don't have limits!!!
I would love to hear your thoughts on this post. And yes, if you ask me offline via email I will send you a list of good, bad and mostly ugly online giving sites!