Turning online visitors into advocates and donors

Marketing can take your nonprofit far, but after your Twitter feed and viral video have referred potential donors to your website, you'll want to encourage them to fill out those donation forms. Even if they don't contribute financially on that first visit, retaining online visitors can make all the difference for long-term fundraising efforts.

As we've said before, an attractive and easy-to-use website is crucial for online fundraising and awareness. Naturally, you will want your online and offline efforts to work together and should continue to encourage social media engagement even after potential givers have landed on your Web page. If possible, your website should be optimized for search engines, though this does not need to be a heavy investment, Jay Wilkinson, a lifelong entrepreneur, wrote in a blog post for Firespring. You might also want to consider starting a blog or offering expertise and opinion in the areas your nonprofit operates.

Crucially, you will want your website to convert new visitors to email addresses on your donor list, npENGAGE added. Your site should be formatted not only for quick and easy access to make a nonprofit payment but to sign up for additional news and alerts. Similarly, donors should be able to register online and your Web page should be conducive to all components of your fundraising. Highlight events and potential forms of non-financial support to engage with visitors and encourage involvement with your nonprofit. This tactic works in the reverse as well. Use events and in-person fundraising to collect email addresses and ask donors to like or follow your Facebook and Twitter pages. You want your visitors to become emotionally invested in your nonprofit, so provide an easy-to-learn and user-friendly website that helps potential donors stay in touch with your work.

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