Online fundraising sites are powerful tools to help you fundraise.
Your online fundraising website is the rallying point for all of your planning. It has to make an impression and also be effective at getting people to take action.
We know it’s daunting, so we put together a guide on the elements you need to build a high-performing online fundraising site.
P.S. Click here to see how CauseVox makes it easy for you to create a powerful online fundraising site in minutes, for free.
Online Fundraising Site Best Practices
1) Visual storytelling
Your weapon against apathy is a compelling story. The best way to raise funds and to drive action online is through video.
Video allows your audience to connect with you on an emotional level, which inspires them to take meaningful action.
80% of the top grossing campaigns through CauseVox use video storytelling to reach their fundraising goals.
Your fundraising site should include a video that compels viewers to action. Learn more on how to structure a story.
2) Personal & team fundraising pages
Personal and team fundraising is a method of fundraising that leverages your supporters to fundraise on your behalf. It’s also known as social fundraising and peer-to-peer fundraising.
It’s one of the fastest growing fundraising mechanisms. Walkathons, marathons, and “birthday wish” campaigns are common types of peer-to-peer fundraising.
By creating an army of fundraisers, personal fundraising helps you reach new networks of donors. You should empower your supporters with a way to fundraise for you in every online fundraising campaign.
Read more on our case studies of how nonprofits have used personal fundraising to scale their impact.
3) Content marketing for fundraising
Content fundraising is a new way of cultivating donors. It uses content as a way to engage, educate, and fundraise.
Here’s how it works.
You create content (blog posts, photos, etc) and post them to your fundraising site to get people interested in your cause and campaign. You can also bring in personal and team fundraisers so that they can create content on your behalf.
Content fundraising helps you rank higher on search engines, builds credibility from your supporter’s personal stories, and helps you grow your prospective donor list.
We found that content helps you get a 20% increase in donations!
4) Branding & Customization
Your brand and personality matters online.
The Online Giving Study found that the branding and personality of your fundraising page makes a double-digit difference in the amount of donations you get.
Donors not only give 15% more to branded fundraising pages, but they give 38% more over time!
You should personalize the background image, colors, calls to action, and URL of your fundraising site so that branding can help you get more donations.
If you’re using a fundraising platform to power your fundraising site (like CauseVox), you can easily personalize and customize your fundraising site with our easy to use tools.
5. Fundraising Metrics
The primary metric for an online fundraising campaign is the amount of donations raised. On your online fundraising site, you must include your fundraising goal as well as the progress towards that goal so far.
This metric should reflect both online and offline donations, ideally as close to real-time as possible. This way, donors can see how they can make a difference.
The secondary metric on your fundraising site should be the units of impact created by donors so far as part of the campaign. This is the true measure of success that helps you connect impact to individual donations.
To create an impact metric, think about what the impact is per unit of donation. What can $50 do? What can $100 do? Will it feed a family for a week or provide clean water to a village?
It’s a bit indirect.
But by shifting your mindset from focusing on dollars to focusing on the impact of the donations, you’ll be able to get more donations.
6. Call to action
A call to action is a specific, defined, and measurable action, such as making a donation or sharing your fundraising site on Facebook.
It’s the culmination of all of your planning, messaging, and rallying. Your call to action directs people to take an action.
A good call to action for an online fundraising campaign will do three things.
- Provide a brief, one sentence summary of the online fundraising campaign itself
- Build in a sense of urgency so people take action now instead of later
- Use active language through verbs (click, donate, share, etc).
Learn how to write a call to action for your online fundraising site.
Gamification is the use of game mechanics or game design to encourage a desired behavior. It takes game techniques to get your audience to do what you want them to do.
For example, the progress bar is one of the most common gamification techniques used in fundraising.
The progress bar helps your supports and donors visualize their donation making an impact towards the overall fundraising goal. You should include the progress bar on all pages of your online fundraising site.
If you’re using social fundraising methods, another gamification technique is the fundraising leaderboard.
The leaderboard typically displays the top fundraisers on your fundraising site. This encourages fundraisers and teams to engage in friendly competition to drive more donations to your nonprofit.
8. Social media integration
Your online fundraising site should include social media integration with Facebook and Twitter. This allows your online fundraising site to reach your supporter’s personal networks seamlessly.
Social media integration can be as simple as Like and Tweet buttons or more complex with auto-posting and analytics.