We get asked all day long how to get people to donate online. How to get people to give more. How to boost online donations. And the answer may seem simple, but there’s really nothing simple about it. To increase online donations, make it easier for people to give.

What’s stopping them on your site?

Barriers to Online Donations

I’ve compiled five barriers to giving that we see over and over on nonprofit websites. Putting in the work to remove the roadblocks in your donation process may just open the flood gates.

Your donors don’t trust you.

The secret of getting people to donate online lies in trust. Trust is not inherent based on your nonprofit status. It’s something you earn through transparency, authenticity and results. To build trust with supporters through website content, include information on the following:

  • Financial information, like your past 990 forms and other helpful tax documents, an annual report, and your rating in third-party resources like GuideStar or Charity Navigator
  • Impact information, like the number of people that you’ve helped or services you’ve provided within a certain time period and how much it costs to help those people.
  • Other voices, like feedback, quotes, testimonials or stories from those you help and other supporters goes a long way here.

The tool that you use to actually collect donations can also help to build trust with future donors. For example, sending visitors away to give on a third party site can be alarming or off-putting to some folks. Especially if that third-party site doesn’t look like your website or carry your branding.

You don’t ask for gifts.

Ask and ye shall receive, right? If you’re not asking donors to give within relevant content on your website, you’re leaving money on the table. What content on your website could inspire supporters to give? Add calls to action to those pages. That likely means:

  • Mission and Vision page
  • Impact page
  • Get Involved page
  • Programs and Services pages

Overcoming this obstacle also includes making your Donate page easy to find so that visitors can see the option across your site, whether that’s in the sidebar or in the main or secondary navigations. Don’t hide this key page on your site!

Making a donation is complicated.

When in doubt, keep it simple. Once on the page, the form should be visible immediately.

On your donation form:

  • Don’t ask for information that you don’t absolutely need.
  • Include easy donation amount suggestions.
  • Make it mobile-friendly.

Working to improve your giving process will likely be an ongoing endeavor for your organization as you determine what’s necessary, what’s not and ways to save time, while still offering a good experience to donors. 

They’re not convinced it’ll make a difference.

There’s something to be said about impact storytelling in nonprofit communications. It puts a face on the need that you serve and makes a gift personal.

Convince potential donors on your Impact page. On your Mission and Vision page. Remind them directly on your Donate page. And wherever else you can slip in a short (even 3-5 sentence) story that connects with the content on the page.

Start collecting more stories now to keep them fresh for this year’s fundraising campaigns and content updates.

Small Donations Matter, Too

Not everyone can afford to give thousands of dollars, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want their gifts. Include language around smaller donations on your Donate page, as well as within calls to action throughout your website content.

$25 provides lunches to a young camper for a week. $20 gives an independent senior a month’s worth of puzzles. $10 refills the litter boxes for homeless cats at the shelter. $5 covers a semester of new notebooks for a young student. You get the picture.

They see too many choices.

It’s easy to overwhelm a supporter by including multiple calls to action on a single page of your site. Donate! And also sign up for our email list! And also become a volunteer! And also register for our event! Which is why it’s important to be strategic with the call to action that you choose. (Yes, that “call to action” was singular.)

Donations don’t need to be the call to action on every single page of your website. Sometimes it will make more sense to push volunteering or event registrations. But when it is the ideal outcome after reading the page or blog post, go all in and avoid muddling your ask with a handful of other actions to take.

This is especially important on your Donate page (a key component in how to get people to donate online). There should be no other asks or links or possible actions on the page. You want supporters to be able to give without distractions.

Optimize Your Donation Process

If you’re serious about learning how to get people to donate online, it’s time to focus on your donor flow – the path that a donor travels from visiting your website to giving again and again. If we were to grade your donor flow together, how would your nonprofit score? Find out with The Donor Flow Optimizer tool, plus get tips on improving the sections that score poorly.

What barriers to giving exist on your organization’s website? What other questions do you have about how to get people to donate online? Let’s hear them in the comments.