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Saturday, November 10 2012
Many non-profits overlook the fundraising opportunities that printed newsletters have. I've listed some quick ideas to breathe live into your newsletter's fundraising efforts.

1. Make your newsletter interesting. It sounds obvious but that's why most newsletters don't get read - they are dull and boring. Start with a professional looking design to make your newsletter visually appealing. If you don't have design skills then buy a template or pay a designer. Use large, interesting images that portray some aspect of your nonprofit that will capture the reader's attention.  

2. Feature stories about changed lives. Focus your newsletter  on the impact that your non-profit is having on people. Stories of changed lives is one of the top factors that motivate people to donate.

3. Always include a response envelope. Sending out an electronic newsletter is cheaper and faster - but, a large segment of the population still prefers to give by check. Providing a response envelope facilitates their giving. My recommendation is to alternate months with an e-newsletter and printed newsletter.

4. Follow up on the newsletter. Segment your list of donors and follow up the newsletter with a personal meeting, phone call, or an e-mail. 

5. The #1 thing that get's read in newsletters - is the personal note that you write on them. Leave room in your newsletter design to allow for you to include a personal note to donors. Write it in blue so it stands out. Use these notes to thank donors for their giving, to let them know you look forward to meeting with them soon, to engage them to participate in some way in your nonprofit, etc.

6. Inform donors of additional ways to give. Use your newsletter to educate donors of additional ways they can give to your nonprofit. Stagger throughout the year the examples that I list below.
  • Planned Giving - wills, bequests, etc.
  • Gifts in Kind
  • Securities - your organization will need to have an account set up with a broker to facilitate receiving the stock and then selling it. 
  • ACH - donations automatically drafted from checking or savings accounts.
  • Giving through your website. Provide an option for people to have a subscription if they want to want to donate monthly. Provide a PayPal option as well as credit cards through a merchant account.
  • Memorial Gifts
  • Matching Gifts - great way for people to leverage their giving.
7. Feature occasional stores about donors. Interview donors to find out why they give and what other ways they participate in the organization. If they give in some of the ways that are listed above - use this as an opportunity to explain some of these different giving opportunities and specifically how this donor was able to utilize a particular way to give.

Need Help?

If you're website isn't facilitating the variety of ways that your donors can give then contact us. We can set up your merchant account so that people can give online.  We can also set up your website to capture all of the additional giving methods we've mentioned.  

Request More Info

Posted by: Craig Ludrick AT 07:30 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, October 30 2012
2 Things Donors Want to Know
Research on donors' giving patterns has shown that there are two things that donors want to know before making a donation. In regards to your non-profit organizatoin, they want to know:
  1. What it does.
  2. How it spends its money.
Donors Can't Find What They're Looking For
The research study also found that donors struggled to find this information on the home pages or even in the pages within the websites of non-profit organizations. Often, critical information regarding how a non-profit organization spends its money was only available after a donor initiated the process. Unfortunately, this information was only available to people after they had made the decision to donate to the organization.

Putting Information in the Wrong Place
Other people who were researching or evaluating the organization, never had access to this important information because it was within the donation process. For example, in many cases there would be a link on the home page of an organization with a call to action to donate to a specific project. But only after clicking on that link would users sometimes get access to more detailed information. But in the mind of the user they would only arrive at that page after making a decision to donate. It would have been more effective to place important information that donors are looking for prior to the donation process. It would be most helpful to donors in their decision process to provide specific information for how money for a specific project will be used.

What You Can Do
  1. Tell people what you do. Make it very clear what your organization does and put it on the home page of your website.  Sounds simple enough but you would be surprised how hard it is to figure out what some organizations do when you visit their website. Focus on what services you provide and why. Keep it simple and easy to understand.
  2. Show where the money goes. Be proactive in anticipating donors questions and show how money for projects as well as the ministry budget is spent.
Posted by: Craig Ludrick AT 07:30 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, October 21 2012
Post Stories to Connect With Visitors

A research study discovered that visitors were interested in learning how people had benefited from the non-profit organization. Not only do donors look for this information on the organization's website but they also look for it on the social media sites as well.

The #1 motivator that encourages giving is stories of changed lives.

Users also appreciated being able to quickly make a donation directly from the social media site.

What You Can Do
  • Continually collect stories of how your organization is impacting lives. Write the stories down and get photographs. You may need to stagger their use over time.
  • Choose some of the stories to make a video.
  • Post these stories on your social media pages with a compelling call to action for how you would like people to resond; donate, volunteer, etc.
Posted by: Craig Ludrick AT 07:30 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, October 07 2012
Why non-profit websites lose out on donations.
Research discovered these primary turn offs:
  • 50% were usability problems relating to page and site design, including unintuitive information architecture, cluttered pages, and confusing workflow.
    • On 13% of the sites, users couldn’t even find where to make a donation.
  • 43% were content issues related to writing for the internet, including unclear or missing information and confusing terms.
  • 8% of the time users simply disagreed with the organization’s approach.
Donation Process Usability testing found that the single biggest problem in the donation process was on websites that use third party payment systems. Websites that utilized e-commerce checkout had far less complications because users knew how to deal with the intuitive checkout process.

Non Monetary Contributions
Non-profit websites scored the lowest satisfactory rating in the usability study regarding non-monetary contributions. Information about how to donate physical items was difficult to find and rarely specific.

What You Can Do
  1. Make sure your site is easy to navigate. Don't make people think! Make it intuitive and obvious what you are wanting people to do.
  2. Writing for the internet is different than writing for print. When writing content for your website write in what is called "scannable text". Scannable text includes using bulleted, bolded, and highlighted text with headings so that the reader can quickly glance at or scan the text to get the overall point.
  3. Keep your website clean and free from clutter.
  4. Use a merchant account for donations instead of a third party payment system. Not sure how to set that up? That's what we're here for! 
The SiteHatcher suport team is here to help you create a website that gets results for your non-profit organization.
Posted by: Craig Ludrick AT 07:30 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, October 01 2012

1. Make the purpose of your organization clear.
Visitors to your website should be able to quickly determine what your organization does.  How long do you have to state the case for your organization? Not very long. Research shows that users leave web pages after 10-20 seconds, but that if your organization can clearly and compellingly communicate your organization's purpose that you can keep their attention for much longer.

2. What are donors looking for on non-profit websites when deciding to donate?
When a donor research group was asked this question there were 2 categories of information that were most requested:

  1. The organization's mission, goals, objective, and work.
  2. How the organization uses donations.

What they want to know is: What are you trying to achieve and how will you spend my money? Sadly, only 47% of non-profit sites answered the first question on their home page.
Further, only a ridiculously low 5% answered the second question on the home page.

Although organizations typically provided these answers somewhere within the site, users often had problems finding this crucial information. 

3. What information do donors use when making a decision to donate?
In choosing between two charities, people referred to five categories of information. However, an organization’s mission, goals, objectives, and work was by far the most important. Indeed, it was 2.6 times as important as the runner-up issue, which was how the organization uses the money it collects. 

The Question That Your Non-Profit Website Must Answer

People want to know what a non-profit stands for, because they want to contribute to causes that share their ideals and values. Most people probably agree that, for example, it’s good to help impoverished residents of developing countries or patients suffering from nasty diseases. Many organizations claim to do these very things. The question in a potential donor’s mind is how the organization proposes to help. Often, sites that were studied failed to answer this question clearly—and lost out on donations as a result. 

What You Can Do

  • Use the homepage to address the top 2 questions potential donors have. 

Make it easy for donors to find the information they're looking for! Explain the purpose of your organization on the homepage in a clear, compelling, and concise way.

Users in a study of non-profit websites were interested in two things when they considered donating to a charity or non-profit: what did the organization do and how did they use donations? Unfortunately, many users struggled to find this information on the websites that were tested, and very few found this information on an organization’s homepage. 

Need help?
Contact our support team. We have 20 years experience working with non-profits and can help you craft a comepelling mission statement for your organization.
 

Posted by: Craig Ludrick AT 07:30 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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