How you can increase donations on your nonprofit website.

Jul 03 2019 | PayPal editorial staff

Today's nonprofit leaders are finding innovative ways – from social media fundraisers to digital ads and search-engine marketing – to attract donors. But the key to all those things can often get overlooked: your website.

Your website is the digital foundation of your brand. It helps your nonprofit establish brand trust for donors and it can also be the fastest and easiest way for you to accept donations. But having a website and calling it a day doesn't cut it. People have high expectations for digital experiences. If they land on your site and don't understand your organization's purpose and mission in 10 seconds or less, they'll bounce off. So to get them to stay and donate, here are some actions you can take.

1. Check your font sizes.

Take a fresh look at your website's content. Is it easy to read the text? Is the font size large enough? This may seem obvious but if donors have a hard time reading your site, you could be missing donations. Experts recommend a font size of at least 16 pixels for websites5, as larger fonts improve readability and reader comprehension.6 Luckily, changing the font size on your landing pages is typically a quick and inexpensive fix.

2. Put a Donate button at the top of every page.

It doesn't matter if your donor is on your homepage, news page, or about us page, they should be able to make a donation in three clicks or less. The best way to accomplish this? Prominently display a donate button at the top of every page. Content placed at the top of a page is more likely to be seen than content that requires users to scroll down to see it.

3. Make it mobile-friendly.

When mobile users can't quickly find what they need on your website, they are less likely to donate. For example, nonprofits report a 21% conversion rate from desktop users on their main donation page, but only 9% of mobile users.1 This is a sign that nonprofit websites might not be user-friendly on mobile devices. You can test how mobile-friendly your website is with Google's mobile-friendly test tool.

4. Tell your stories.

Words can help people understand your mission, but stories can inspire action. Tell the stories of the people or cause you're helping. Show the impact. The more real you can make the connections between the money your donors give and the real stories of the people you're trying to help, the more your donors will empathize with your cause.

5. Show your stories.

Well-chosen photos can help tell the story of your mission even better than words. Here are a few ways to add visual elements to your website:

  • Share behind-the-scenes photos of your team at work. Who are the people who do the work every day to make progress on your mission? Show them on your website and tell their stories.

  • Use high-resolution royalty-free stock photos. You don't have to spend money on expensive stock photos – there are many sites, that offer free stock photos you can use without a license.

  • Graphic design doesn't have to be expensive, but it can be valuable for updating your logo or improving the look and feel of your website. Even if you have a limited budget or no budget, you might be able to get a graphic designer to update your site for free as a pro bono project.

6. Highlight your partner organizations.

Displaying organizations you partner with can give your brand a boost and help new donors feel confident in giving. Include testimonials from your partners, businesses in the community that sponsor your nonprofit, and anyone else who is part of your network of supporters. Including logos from local businesses or big corporate sponsors can also help boost your credibility with potential donors.

7. Offer payment options at checkout.
Many things can happen at checkout. The donor can get distracted, uninspired, or decide at the last minute not to proceed. So how do you get your donors to follow through with that donation? The easiest way is to add a Donate button that lets your donors choose their favorite way to pay, whether that be with credit cards, debit cards, or PayPal.

8. Encourage monthly donations.
Ongoing monthly donations are a crucial funding source for many nonprofits. In 2018, revenue from monthly gifts increased by 17%.So your donor may be more than happy to give on a recurring basis, but they may not be aware that's an option. You can simply add this option when you create your your PayPal Donate button.

9. Keep your tone and voice consistent.

Your website shouldn't sound like it was written by several different people. That can lower donors' trust in your brand. Hire a professional copywriter (or ask a supporter to provide pro bono writing and editing services) to write clear, compelling, and concise copy.

With limited time and resources, many nonprofit organizations struggle to keep their websites updated. But with just a few simple changes to your website, you can strengthen relationships with your donors, and, most importantly, raise more money for your mission.

1–4. M+R Benchmarks Study 2019, a survey of 135 nonprofits by consulting firm M+R.

5 Source: Learn UI Design Blog. The Responsive Website Font Size Guidelines. April 23, 2018. 6 Source: Make It Big! The Effect of Font Size and Line Spacing on Online Readability. May 2016.