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10 characteristics of good giving sites

Learn the top 10 characteristics of good giving sites for your organization from THE Donor Relations Guru herself, Lynne Wester.

Lynne Wester
June 30, 2021
Nerd Mr Butter

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How easy do you make it for 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.

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 10 characteristics of good giving sites for your organizations!

#1: Does 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?

#2: Pledges are available ✍️

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!

#3: Includes a monthly giving option πŸ“…

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.

#4: Is mobile-optimized πŸ“²

Can I give using my mobile device? 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: Has gratitude confirmation and social sharing πŸ‘

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, it’s 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: Sends immediate acknowledgment letter πŸ™

Am I emailed an acknowledgment and receipt immediately? Save your paper here, folks! If I'm giving it to you digitally, thank and receipt me in the same manner!

#7: Asks for the minimal amount of donor data πŸ‘

As far as the actual payment, remember that I don't have to give you a blood sample and my firstborn 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: Offers easy fund designation 😌

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: Does not have radio button amount suggestions ❌

For all that is good 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? But, of course, the opposite is true, too: What if you overshoot and I am offended?

#10: Accepts LARGE payments πŸ’Έ

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 just 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!

What are you doing to enhance your online giving experience? I would love to hear from you!



Givebutter made a $100 donation to Lynne's charity of choice, Austin Angels, for her guest blog contribution.

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