Studies show poor websites are costing nonprofit organizations potential donors
There's a saying that says “Nobody buys a solution to a problem they don't know they have.”
Maybe this goes towards explaining why so many nonprofits continue to have websites that risk turning away potential donors and other supporters. Because it is difficult to quantify how many of these potential donors are being lost, the magnitude of the problem goes unmeasured and the website remains unchanged.
We're going to shed a little light on the problem posed by poor nonprofit websites, and also point you towards a solution that can help you start converting more donors right now.
For this particular post we have chosen to focus on the “Millennials” aged 20-35 as they are major consumers of online information. It is important to note, however, that regardless of age the studies show that your nonprofit website is the number one source of information for potential donors.
For donors aged 20-35, your website is a major factor in their decision process.
In the 2011 Millennial Report, nearly 3000 people between the ages of 20-35 were surveyed. The goal was to provide insight into how Millennials donated and engaged with nonprofit organizations. You can find the study here: http://millennialdonors.com.
Here we present a few of the key findings. For those surveyed, the study found that:
- 71% said they research the charity online before donating.
- 58% say their preferred way to donate is online.
- 65% want to know how dollars make a difference.
The study also concluded that:
“...nonprofit organizations are advised to study and sharpen their search-engine results...if Millennials can’t find or connect with an organization the way they want to, they’ll probably go out and find a different organization with which to engage.”
“Nonprofit organizations that succeed in the future will succeed in engaging Millennial donors on their terms – and then reaping the benefits.”
How to maximize your chance of converting online donors
Given the overwhelming importance of your website in convincing donors to support your organization, we thought it would be helpful to put together a checklist of information you will want to present on your website to instill trust in potential donors and maximize the chance they will financially support you.
- Ensure a Donate button is on every page.
- Include annual reports.
- Put social sharing buttons on all content so potential donors can become advocates of your cause.
- Have a breakdown of where the donated dollars are going.
- Have a staff list with bios.
- Have a board list with bios.
- Ensure contact info is easy to find and complete.
- Explain clearly the different ways to donate.
- Have a listing of services & programs offered by your organization.
- List your upcoming goals and your past accomplishments.
- Where appropriate, list your major supporters both corporate and individual.
How we can help you attract & convert online donors
Many nonprofits have outdated websites because modifying the site as they need to is difficult and time consuming. Even if they can modify their website, they often don't have many of the "right" visitors coming to their site.
At IT For Change we build websites exclusively for nonprofits, ranging in cost and complexities that fit their budget and their requirements. Because we work only with nonprofits we have developed an expertise in providing solutions to common problems that nonprofits face.
Staff can rapidly change information on the website.
Content is easily made to be SEO (search engine optimization) friendly, drawing more visitors.
Your organization is autonomous, no longer needing a webmaster to make changes on your behalf, thereby saving cost and delay.
Donors can navigate the site more intuitively, increasing the chance they stay on your site.
As more information becomes available and the usability of the site improves, your online donations increase.
Let's address the common hurdles up front
For every one great nonprofit website we see, there are another nine that are lagging behind. We understand there are real reasons for this, and we are here to help shed some light in areas that might not be clear.
Some common issues that have to be addressed include:
How much does this cost, can we fit it in our budget?
Will staff be able to use it?
When addressing the important cost issues, we suggest considering this as an investment in your communications and fund raising, not as an expense. Used properly, your website can become the most cost effective member of your marketing team.
Our pricing is presented clearly on our website to encourage adoption of our solutions, and you can build upon them at any time as your requirements change and/or your budget allows.
Staff usability concerns
Other issues like usability of the solution have been demonstrated by the thousands of worldwide groups using this software, including Amnesty, Oxfam, Greenpeace....even MTV and the White House.
Like any other “tool”, the website will work as effectively as the strategies you create and efforts you put into it. We can put you in touch with nonprofits who are using the tool right now with great success.
Summing it up
Many studies show that regardless of age or other demographics, potential donors are using your nonprofit website as their preferred source of information.
Failure to provide website visitors with the proper information and a user friendly experience is likely to lead to loss of potential revenues. The value of this lost revenue should not be ignored during times when traditional funding sources are often being cut.
It's time for nonprofit leaders to realize the importance of having a professional, informative website. We're here to help you, through education, conversation, and implementation.
(Image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/zomgitsbrian)