3 elements of a successful online donation page

With an increased focus on accepting online donations, nonprofits have already began to invest in their donation management software - the foundation of online giving. What's equally important, though, is the facade, or the donation page on your charity's website. Listed below are three necessary elements of a successful donation Web page:

1. Make it simple: As it goes with any aspect of your website, don't over-complicate the user experience. Too much text or too many graphics are likely to drive  donors away. While visual stimulation can be a good thing, don't overwhelm the senses. A clean, tight and succinct presentation is all that's needed on your donation page, according to Web design company Wired Impact. They give the example of Livestrong's donation page, which includes a picture of a cancer survivor, a call to action, and ways to support or get involved. It's quick, easy, and to the point.

2. Clear, upfront transparency: Think of accepting online donations as an investment in your charity. In return, you have to prove a return on that investment for your donors. A good way to start doing so is by outlining where their money is going within your organization. Another effective scheme is to give specific cause and effect facts about your organization - for example, what $20 could do to help save a life. Wired Impact points out the United Nations Population Fund's donation page as a benchmark in this. On the site, the organization defines what $50 or $100 could specifically do to medically assist women in under-developed countries who have just given birth.

3. Show your appreciation: Donations are the lifeblood of a charitable organization; without them, nonprofits would have to find other ways to pay the bills. Thankfully that isn't the case, so before the donor even gives, make sure to thank them and demonstrate how valuable they really are to your charity. A follow-up email has become a standard industry trend, but the Worldwide Wildlife Fund has taken things a step further in offering free organizational merchandise with a one-time donation. Small items like a T-shirt or a water bottle are signs you appreciate their donation, and it's another great way to spread your brand without costly marketing efforts.

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