Get the most out of donation requests

A well-designed website, descriptive copy and an easy-to-use donation form all help nonprofits bring in gift-givers but outreach is still one of the most important factors for a charitable organization.

A major part of successful donation solicitation is connecting the passions of a potential giver to your specific organization. In fact, some of your most vocal advocates may have never given a dime to your organization. But that doesn't mean that they can't become loyal donors! All if takes is a little strategizing on your part.

Read ahead to learn more about how to get the most out of your donation requests.

Be fun, be specific, be unafraid
No matter if you're taking part in an in-person visit to a major donor or writing the text for an email campaign, you have to engage your audience. Hard facts, statistics and organizational history all play a part in successful fundraising, but how you present those pieces of information makes a lot of difference.

Instead of consistently reading from note cards or PowerPoint slides, practice your talking points so you'll be able to make eye contact and use emphatic body language while giving your presentation. If you're using text as your main tool to raise funds, don't just use the boilerplate about your nonprofit's history. Weave the current campaign and new information into your writing. In both instances, a sense of enthusiasm should pervade your offerings.

No matter how you're seeking donations, asking for a specific amount is important. It shows that your nonprofit understands its objectives and what sort of funds are needed for success. Giving a specific number also takes the burden off of donors and removes the potential for creating confusion or a sense of unease - feelings that should be avoided in the giving process.

Optimize your online donation form
After a successful fundraising request attracts donors, the actual process of giving should be as simple as possible. A functional design and the streamlining of fields asking for information both increase online donations, The NonProfit Times reported.

Using the specific example of the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund, a number of small changes significantly increased donations. In this instance:

  1. The final "submit" button's text on the donation page was changed to read "Support Haiti."
  2. The donation form removed mandatory fields for a phone number and title.
  3. A graphical element was added at the top of the page.

These small changes - the reduction in non-essential information requested and increased visuals - resulted in an 11% increase in the number of donations made by users who visited the page. The average donation also increased by more than $8, showing that small changes add up when requesting donations online.

Asking for donations can be a tough endeavor, but it can be extremely rewarding if you have a few best practices in your back pocket!

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