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4 reasons your online fundraising isn’t working

While nonprofit fundraising goals are as varied as the organizations themselves, the primary component that determines success is a direct and effective path for potential donors from call to action to recurrent online donation. This path, the fundraising “funnel,” generally goes as follows:

  1. Drive donors to your website
  2. Convince them that their gift is worthwhile and meaningful
  3. Persuade them to “click to donate”
  4. Provide them with an easy-to-use, secure donation page
  5. Encourage them to establish (and follow) a recurring donation schedule

If there are any leaks in this fundraising funnel, potential donors are often discouraged from donating again or donating at all. The following are the most significant reasons your online fundraising may not be meeting the financial goals of your nonprofit (and fix-it strategies).

1. You aren’t driving donors to your website

It seems like an obvious problem to have, but it actually happens more often than you might think. In other words, your call to action, or your reason potential donors should give you their money, may not be convincing; it may not communicate the impact of your organization or how their donation would make a difference. It may not be urgent or specific enough.

For more help on attracting visitors to your website, read our post: How to attract the right people to your cause with digital media.

2. Your fundraising appeals may not emphasize online giving

It is also possible that your fundraising appeals may not be reaching the right audience or through the right channels. If you send out direct mailers to potential donors, do they include your donation website address or landing page link? They should.

Are you fully taking advantage of your social media platforms? Are you effectively using channels that fit well with online giving? You should be. Mistakes, like not sharing personal stories on social media or not engaging with followers, can largely deter people from donating. Are you making donating as easy as possible by linking your social media messaging directly to your fundraising campaign? You definitely should be.

For effective email marketing, there are a few important things to keep in mind to move donations through the funnel. First, you must ensure that a single, clear call to action and your fundraising aims are communicated consistently throughout your messaging. Additionally, make sure that you aren’t assuming your multipurpose newsletter is enough to point people in the right direction; sending pointed, specific fundraising emails aside from these will help people know how they can actually help. Are you sending emails on a regular schedule? Plan for those. This helps your organization remain timely and relevant to your potential donors.

Need help with that? Here are the ingredients of a good fundraising email.

3. Your website… isn’t great

In addition to your direct fundraising appeals like email and social media, you will hopefully get organic online traffic to your website from search engines and potential donors who want to learn more about your organization before giving you their hard-earned cash. If your website doesn’t meet their needs, they likely won’t follow through with their donation.

Your website must provide a thorough explanation of your organization and its aims by answering the basic questions in a compelling way to potential donors. It is likely that people have gone to your website purely because they wanted to follow up on something they heard or saw elsewhere for more information. Are people able to quickly identify what your organization does and what kind of impact it makes? Can they see how their donation would help? Most importantly, can they easily find where to click to give?

Another issue that can affect the potency of a website is its content and design. Is it outdated? Is it irrelevant? Is it keeping up with current trends and consumer demand? Is it easy to navigate, with accessibility across various platforms, like desktop computers and mobile devices? If a website is hard to navigate or has a poor user interface, potential donors can become frustrated or lose interest in giving.

4. Your fundraising page doesn’t close the donation

Here are some of the questions to ask yourself when structuring your donation page:

  • Are you distracting donors with a ton of navigation links? It is imperative that your donation page makes it as easy as possible for users to donate. If users cannot easily navigate through your website or donation platform, or it’s just simply difficult to give, they won’t. Use as few fields as possible and keep links to a minimum. Donors must have no choice but to stay focused on giving.
  • Are you ensuring that your donation page is secure, and reminding donors as such? People like to see a security certificate and trust logo, so make sure that is visible. Communicating security is as important as making it secure.
  • Are you communicating the impact of the gift on your donation page? Are you clear about where donations are going and who they are helping? Your donation page is more than a donation form. It is your last step to convince donors why they should give.

One thing to note: for direct tactics like hard mailers and fundraising emails, you will, in fact, benefit from bypassing your full website and sending donors straight to a fundraising landing page where you can convert their gifts without making them wade through a lot of links.

Have further questions on how to get the most out of your fundraising funnel? 4aGoodCause is here to help. Let’s talk!

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Ronald Pruitt

Ronald Pruitt

Ronald is the President and Founder of 4aGoodCause, the fundraising CRM that makes recurring, monthly giving a breeze for small nonprofits.

For over 25 years, Ronald has had the joy of doing what he loves, building online solutions that make a difference in the world. He’s helped raise millions of dollars online for small nonprofits across the country. Connect with Ronald on LinkedIn.

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