Donations are what drives many a charity. Here are a few sound techniques to get more people to donate and help further your cause.

Donations are the lifeblood of many not-for-profit organisations and regular donations can offer a charity a predictable, regular income. How can you maximise your chances of converting curious website visitors into supports and get people to part with their hard-earned cash?

Be transparent

Before anyone is going to donate to you they need to know who you are. This isn’t as simple as setting up an “about us” page with your history; people want to know what drives you, what effects you’re having and, most importantly, what you’re going to do with their money if they donate.

Make all this information easily accessible from your homepage. If you don’t then people won’t trust you. In this age of the Internet people get suspicious when they don’t find information where they expect it. By putting everything about yourself front and centre you make people feel more relaxed and they will trust you more.

Write engaging content

Internet users are fickle creatures with short attention spans — if you mention cats for no apparent reason in an article then you can bet half your users will go searching for pictures of them. Don’t worry, I’ll wait until you get back… OK, so when writing for the web you need to be focused, simple and concise. Make sure to start with your most interesting stuff in the first paragraph because if you don’t grab them by the end of it they aren’t going to continue reading.

Be personable with your writing, talk to your readers as you would to a friend. One of the biggest mistakes people make is thinking that technical jargon makes you sound professional. It doesn’t, it just alienates people. If what you have to say is worth saying then your professionalism will shine through regardless.

Make clear calls to action

So now you’ve told people about yourself and you’ve written some engaging content. What’s next? Make sure you have a clear call to action. It’s great to have people enjoying what you write and becoming aware about your cause, but if you don’t have a clear call to action you’re missing out on a big opportunity. At the end of your content you want to devote the last paragraph to what your reader should do next. This might be something as simple as joining your newsletter — it might be donating to your cause.

When writing a call to action be positive and make it about the user — not yourself. Say ‘5 ways you can fight bad examples’ instead of ‘We need your donation more than ever’. This gives people a sense that they are making a real difference and it’s a lot more friendly to search engines — so more people will find it.

Think about your headlines

One of the biggest mistakes people make is thinking that the headline of an article is only as important as any other line on a website. It’s not — it’s so much more important. The headline is the first thing that people are going to see and a lot of people will make a decision on how good your article is based on the headline alone.

It’s not just people who think headlines are more important — search engines do as well. Google looks at title text when deciding where your pages come in the search results. So make sure to get keywords into your headlines.

The best headlines give a clear idea what your article is about as well as drawing people’s attention. ‘How to do X’ and ‘The 6 best Y’ are great headlines because they clear and straight to the point. Using a question as a headline is another good method as it engages people on a personal level and draws them in.

Don’t treat people like numbers

Charity is all about helping people; it’s about making the world just a bit nicer. It’s great when you can say that you’ve helped out 10,000 people but to a lot of people that doesn’t mean anything. Numbers don’t carry any emotional weight, they’re just points of data. To engage users on an emotional level you need to show how you are having an effect on people’s lives.

Case studies are a great way of showing how your charity is doing good for the world. People find it much easier to empathise with individuals than they do with rows of data.

Make it easy to donate

It sounds like the simplest advice to increase donations yet strangely it’s the one that people overlook the most. 50% of the time people decide not to donate online it’s because the website makes it too difficult. Even more shockingly 13% of websites don’t even make it obvious where you can donate.

Just think, after all the hard work you’ve done to convince people that you’re the right charity to donate to half of them will end up too confused by your website to manage it. Make sure to write clear calls to action so people know where to donate. Then make sure to streamline the donation process as much as possible. Give people the option to sign up to your newsletter but don’t force them to create an account.

Test, test, test... and test

Nobody’s perfect. We all make mistakes, it’s one of those little quirks that make us human. Another is our attention to detail; tiny changes can change how we view things in a big way. Just take a look at these two sentences: “You should follow us on twitter” and “You should follow us on twitter here”. There doesn’t seem to be much difference but the second sentence will be clicked by 27% more people.

This is where testing can be really useful. Don’t be content just to stick with your first choice — try a range of things and see which one works the best. Google analytics has a great set of tools to help you get started.

These are just a few of the ways to get more donations. Want to find out more; sign up for our newsletter today.

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