Converting website visitors into donors: everything should lead to the donation page.
Your website has (or should have) one real purpose: to convert visitors into donors. Sure, it should educate and tell stories, but even that will ultimately help visitors understand your cause and, ideally, want to contribute.
Your website is the hub of your nonprofit organization. It’s where you share your nonprofit’s goal, it’s where you update people on current and upcoming campaigns and events, it’s where you tell your store, and it’s where you give visitors the info they need to actually contribute (think a simple and clear call to action).1
Your website (and your donation form) are key elements of your fundraising strategy. It’s where all your other communication efforts (social media, emails, direct mail, word-of mouth) lead and, if it’s not compelling, simple, transparent, and engaging, it might not work as well as you’d like.
So, all that sounds lovely, but, how do you actually measure how well your site converts visitors into donors? You use what’s called a conversion rate. Measuring that activity is the conversion rate.
Conversion rate measures the number of [visitors] who [donated/signed up] as a percentage of the total number of users that visited your site. The higher your conversion rate, the more effective your content. In the marketing world, conversions refer to the moment when a user responds to a call to action.2
Now that we’re all on the same page, let’s talk about how to calculate and measure conversion rates for nonprofits.
How to calculate conversion rate:
Luckily, figuring out your conversion rate is pretty straightforward.
What’s the average conversion rate for nonprofits?
The average conversion rate for nonprofits is 15%, and drops to 9% on cell phones.3,4 If your conversion rate reaches 20% or above, well done! If you are at 10% or below, that’s also a good news! It means you have opportunities to easily double your donation volume.
At Zeffy, we worked hard to get conversion rates to 23%. (Just so you know…)
How to measure conversion rate for your nonprofit’s website?
Your nonprofit can use analytics tools like Google Analytics—they even have a nonprofit-specific tool and adapt and adjust your strategies based on what you learn. And, of course, you can link your Zeffy form to your analytics tool to make it even easier.
What can your nonprofit do to increase your donor conversion rate?
Like everything marketing related, to help your nonprofit up its conversion rate you a strategic plan that engages and motivates your website visitors to make a donation or sign up for your newsletter, etc. But don’t worry! There are a few things you can do right away to help you convert website visitors into donors.
1. Create a compelling website for your nonprofit.
- Make sure your website looks good, is easy to navigate, and mobile-friendly.
- Clearly communicate your nonprofit organization's mission, impact, and the importance of donor contributions.
2. Tell real stories about your nonprofit.
- Stories will help potential donors connect with your nonprofit and its cause. You can share success stories (even the odd story of something that didn’t go quite as planned), testimonials from current donors and volunteers, and personal experiences that will show your visitors the impact of their donations.
3. Make sure your nonprofit’s website has a sense of urgency.
- Highlight current campaigns or events that need donations. You can offer early bird tickets, let visitors know there are only a few places left, or emphasize the urgency of the situation to encourage visitors to convert to donors.
- Remember that statistics and visuals always help!
4. Be transparent about how your nonprofit works.
Being transparent helps potential donors trust your nonprofit. So, be honest about how donations are used and where your donor contributions go and display any relevant certifications or awards.
5. Offer a few donation options.
Offer various ways for visitors to contribute to your nonprofit ups the chances that they will. A few ideas are:
- One-time gifts.
- Recurring donations (The dream!).
- The flexibility to allow donors to specify where their money goes (e.g., specific projects or programs).
- Signing up to volunteer.
- Signing up for your newsletter.
6. Offer your potential donors incentives.
This one might seem a bit unnatural for a nonprofit… But, you should consider offering a thank-you gift (like branded merch), access to exclusive content, tickets to events, etc. Doing this will up the chances of visitors converting into donors and maybe even sharing their contribution with their friends and family.
7. Speaking of sharing… Make it easy for donors to share their new found love of your nonprofit.
- Promote your website and donation campaigns on social media.
- Share stories, images, and videos to engage donors (new and potential).
- Add share buttons to the end of your donation forms.
8. Keep your donation forms simple.
- Make the donation process quick and easy by keeping the number of steps to a minimum. Zeffy’s online donation forms are simple and effective—with an average conversion rate of 23%! (The average rate is 15% (see benchmark), and drops to 9% (see Abeja solutions) on cell phones.)
- Offer multiple payment options, including credit cards, PayPal, and other online payment methods. Again, with Zeffy, your donors can donate any way they want. And, Zeffy even covers the transaction fees.
9. Make sure there’s a donate button on your website with a strong, consistent call to action (CTA).
- Use clear, urgent-sounding, and consistent CTAs across your website. For example:
- "Donate now!"
- "We need your support."
- "Sign up now!"
- Make sure CTAs are prominently placed on your homepage and key landing pages and give them a clear hierarchy. If your main goal is to convert visitors into donors, make sure “Donate now!” is the most prominent CTA. Secondary CTAs can be hyperlinks or much smaller.
10. Segment and personalize potential (and current) donors.
This one’s a bit more advanced, but can be super effective. (Especially if you are thinking of doing some A/B testing to find out what works best.)
- Segment your audience based on their interests, engagement level, and donation history.
- Send personalized email campaigns and content tailored to each segment's preferences and behaviour.
Last but not least, all of that hard work will go to waste if you don’t track, analyze, test, and optimize. Your nonprofit can use analytics tools like Google Analytics—they even have a nonprofit-specific tool and adapt and adjust your strategies based on what you learn. And, of course, you can link your Zeffy form to your analytics tool to make it even easier.
Oh, and as always, remember to say thank you!