We hear more and more about the importance of the donor experience. What is it and does it really matter? If someone supports your organization, can you really mess that up? The simple answer is yes! Creating and nurturing a great donor experience is vital to the success of your non-profit’s fundraising strategies. Following current research in the field and talking to your donors about their experience is vital. When asking donors for feedback, and truly standing in their shoes, the usual practices of your nonprofit may take new shape.
Here are seven keys to creating a great donor experience.
Your Nonprofit Website Is Pivotal to Donor Experience
Your nonprofit website is the absolute heart of your donor’s online experience. You may think that it is less important than social media because we have become so focused on Twitter and Facebook. Yet it is the nexus, the brain and the soul rolled together of your online presence. Every communication you have with your donors leads back to it.
It’s easy to look as though your nonprofit is living in the past with regard to your website. If there is old content on your site that does not speak to what you are doing today, delete it. Add new content. Staying fresh and current with your website is a strong message to your donors. How do you feel when you visit a site that is outdated? Do you wonder what else may be dull about the organization?
Add new features. Stay current with best practices for nonprofit website design and functionality. Look at the top websites in the nonprofit world – how does yours compare? What great bells and whistles does our website have to draw more donors? Did you know that Google has new search parameters between mobile friendly online material and that which is not?
Add new photos and videos every week. You may believe you’re branding your nonprofit with a certain photo, yet the desire of your donors is to see new photos and videos. Would you stay on Facebook if the same photos and videos were there every time you logged on?
Time for a website upgrade?
Good Writing Matters
Statistics show that donors will stop donating if your content is unappealing or somehow not relevant. If your newsletter, nonprofit website and email communications are drab, donors will lose interest. They will also lose faith in your mission, as good writing defines you. If they have to wade through too content to gather a single point or experience redundancy, they’ll become frustrated. If donors have to “click here” too many times on your website to find information about one program, for example, they are likely to disengage. And they’ll not be as invested emotionally to your content if every page is not accompanied by a great photo.
Stick to specifics about your program on your website in effort to keep people turning the pages about the details of your work. Write an engaging story instead of a dry eBook or white paper. Keep your content well organized in thought, as though you are teaching your donors and potential volunteers. What is the first thing placed on the table at a restaurant? Your writing is the very first thing potential donors and recurring donors see on every communication from you. It is the bread of your nonprofit charity organization. It stays in the minds of the fundraising world you interact with daily.
Always write as though you’re writing to your donors. This is true of your website, newsletter, emails and social media content.
Start a project of gathering feedback from those who test your website from a donor experience perspective. Email a questionnaire to your staff, donors and volunteers about these questions:
- Do you have to go to too many pages to find information on one subject?
- How engaging is our content?
- Do you look forward to communications from us?
- Do you read our emails or delete them because they add no value to you?
- Is our content helpful to you?
- How engaging is the look and feel of our content and photos?
- How can we make our content better?
Make It Easy To Donate
When is the last time you tested the online giving experience of your donors? Are you making things easy and gratifying for your donors? Have you made a donation online and asked your staff, family and friends to do the same in an effort to evaluate online giving in the shoes of your donors?
Take the plunge and invest in a way to process donations designed for the best donor experience. Don’t make donors leave your donation site to make a donation on PayPal. With products like DoJiggy Payments your supporters will have a more seamless donor experience. Sign up and start accepting credit card payments – right on your DoJiggy websites, within minutes.
Consult your test team with the following questions:
- Was filling out the donation form easy?
- How could our donation form be made easier and shorter?
- What page are you brought to next?
- How can we improve our confirmation page?
- Were you provided with info on how your donation will be used?
- Did you receive an email or phone call saying thanks?
- How can we improve our thank you note?
- How can we improve our process and the donor experience overall?
Ask For Donor Feedback
Email your donors regularly asking for their opinion. What you’ll learn will be enlightening. Donors will feel more engaged and rewarded by letting them know their thoughts matter. Questions don’t need to be technical or specific about your website and donation page. You may ask them what your public perception is or how you can do more fundraising. Once the door to communication is open and relationships of trust are built with your donors, questions and answers are open ended.
Group meetings are another forum to ask donor’s what they think. Topics are open to the climate and current happenings at your nonprofit. They also provide a way to brief donors on the progress of a specific program, announce a new program or fundraising campaign. Nonprofit program staff and administrators who are well informed can engage donors in a lively town hall meeting in both live formats and online. Recordings and videos of the meetings may be posted on social media platforms and your nonprofit website.
Engage Donors Further
Your donors want to support your organization – so give them the tools to do so. The power of non-profit crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns lies in the hands of your donors and donor teams. Even though individuals tap into their social network of supporters, donors and staff members work together on a walk-a-thon fundraiser, 5K race or golf marathon team. Each team creates an team page within the crowdfunding website and enjoy working on this together. Teams meet for planning parties and get to know each other. All types of online fundraising events have the potential to bond donors as they plan, create and share the victory of each fundraising event.
A Beginner’s Guide to Crowdfunding and Peer-to-Peer Campaigns
Virtual fundraising is another way to facilitate donors working with other donors. Bring diversity to your donor base by reaching a global audience through virtual fundraising, and team donors together. Virtual donors and volunteers work by phone or online to help nonprofits with online marketing and non-profit SEO strategies, research projects and more. Virtual volunteering allows employees, in partnership with nonprofits, to work on projects without scheduling confines. Add a section on virtual fundraising and volunteering to your nonprofit website defining your needs and making it easy for constituents to connect with your charity organization.
A real factor involved in a donor’s experience is how your nonprofit spends money. Savvy supporters will review what your administrative and fundraising costs are. Many donors will consider what percentage of their donation goes towards your programs. They’ll look at whether a portion of their donation goes towards transaction fees on your donation website. Donor retention is achieved through transparency as to where their money goes. Making this information available as part of the donor experience is another key to increasing satisfaction.
Always Properly Thank Donors
It is surprising to know what a proper thank you is from the donor’s perspective. If it comes too late, what remains in their mind is that you didn’t thank them at all. An email or phone call within a couple of days of their donation is what makes donors feel your thanks and remember it.
If you write to donors in thanks, speak to the specific program they contributed to and share the impact it had. The same concepts apply with regard to dry content; make your thank you note interesting and engaging.
Add a special note of thanks to donors on social media platforms and say how their contribution helped your nonprofit. Donors will feel loved and flattered by a public, online thank you. This will engage other donors, as they’ll want to help with the project you’ve addressed in your thank you, and be treated with the kindness you show other donors.
When sending out a big thank you to donors in a newsletter, speak to all of the programs involved vs. one you wish to highlight. This ensures they’ll know you appreciated their gift. It is again surprising that donors are not really interested in hearing how much you appreciate their donations, rather than in how it helped the nonprofit.
Open communication with donors is refreshing, revealing and vital to your nonprofit’s success. And standing in the shoes of your donors is essential. The door is open to new things once the truth is on the table.