Optimize design to improve online donation services

Managing a successful nonprofit involves long hours and a plethora of tasks, so the specifics of website design may not be your first focus.

Fixing common errors involving donor conversion, website design and available information will increase the effectiveness of online donation requests. Marketing site Econsultancy recently provided a list of the most common mistakes made by online retailers, which also apply to nonprofits that accept donations through their websites.

Colors and visual indicators are both important and far more complicated than they seem. Along with usability, appearance helps potential donors make choices about which causes to donate to.

Brand recognition is strongly tied to color, with a consistent color scheme increasing recognition by 80 percent, according to an infographic from analytics blog KISSmetrics. Even more important for nonprofits, brand recognition is directly tied to the confidence of patrons.

The choice of color can attract different kinds of donors. Black, red, orange and royal blue are all geared toward impulse shoppers and may help in short fundraising programs or when nonprofits are raising money in response to a disaster. Navy blue and teal can be used when encouraging small donations, as they attract budget shoppers. Pink, rose and paler hues of blue are most enticing to traditional shoppers and may be helpful in long-term campaigns.

Color is a major component in donor decisions, but the importance of more nuanced design elements shouldn't be overlooked.

KISSmetrics said that 42 percent of shoppers make their opinions of websites based only on design, while 52 percent decided not to return to a given site because of design elements. While these numbers are more focused on e-commerce, they indicate that charitable websites should focus on, update and optimize their design to create a pleasing experience for visitors that engenders a positive environment for donating money to charity.

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