When you think about mobile giving, the option to donate on a phone or tablet, does your brain go straight to text-to-give campaigns, mobile apps or QR codes? There are lots of mobile fundraising tools and tactics to consider as you look for ways to boost donations, and the one you already have probably isn’t living up to its full potential: your nonprofit’s website.

One of the reasons organizations look to third-party fundraising tools beyond their websites is they aren’t seeing a great return on investment in terms of collecting donations. If you’re getting a decent amount of website traffic, but those visitors don’t become donors, it’s easy to conclude that a new tool is needed to do the job.

In truth, the answer might be that your website simply isn’t up to the task of raising money from mobile traffic. And your nonprofit isn’t the only one.

In the latest M+R Benchmarks, the data shows there’s a continual divide in fundraising success when it comes to desktop and mobile users. Website visitors on desktop computers are responsible for a greater share of dollars raised:

The proportions have shifted a bit over the past few years, but the basic story has held true: a visit from a desktop user was more valuable (in terms of direct revenue) than a visit from a user on a mobile device.

M+R Benchmarks

This leads to an important insight for organizations who are looking for ways to increase donations from places or people that they’ve overlooked:

A key task for a nonprofit looking to raise more online revenue is to find ways to close the gap and increase conversion and average gift rates for mobile users.

M+R Benchmarks

Giving extra love and attention to your website’s mobile visitors has the potential to build better experiences that result in more conversions, whether that means submitting your donation form or taking other key actions on your site. Learn where to focus your efforts so that more of your existing website traffic is motivated and easily able to give.

What is Mobile Traffic?

Mobile traffic refers to the number of people who visit your website by using a mobile device like a phone or tablet. In contrast, a website’s desktop traffic refers to visitors using a more traditional computer or laptop

Google estimates that more than 50% of all web traffic comes from mobile, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.

Who is mobile traffic?

Smartphone use continues to rise across age groups, and more Americans are adding tablets to their personal technology. This has made it easier than ever to stay constantly connected to the Internet, whether for social media, watching videos, getting the news or simply browsing the web.

It’s important to keep in mind that mobile users aren’t a monolith of younger generations who simply like to Tweet and scroll on YouTube. Mobile traffic can include users who might not have access to reliable Internet service at home, either due to a lack of infrastructure in rural areas or because of the high cost. 

There are also demographic differences in device ownership, with White Americans more likely to own multiple devices and have broadband access at home and disabled Americans less likely to own digital devices.

While we tend to talk about mobile traffic in generic terms, your nonprofit’s mobile visitors likely represent a wide range of interests, incomes, housing situations and technological capabilities. And though we’re focused on mobile giving in this post, it’s worth noting that the things that make for a good donation experience on your website will be to the benefit of mobile users who visit your site for other purposes.

Essential Website Elements for Mobile Giving

Ready to figure out if your website could be doing a better job with mobile fundraising? We zeroed in on six website characteristics that are important to mobile giving success.

Responsive web design

There’s no way around it: your nonprofit website design needs to display properly on any size screen, desktop or mobile. According to the Global NGO Technology Report, 88% of organizations worldwide have mobile-compatible websites. That number jumps to 92% in the U.S. and Canada. 

If your site doesn’t display properly on a smartphone or tablet, there’s no real fix other than getting with the times and building a site with responsive design. Chances are you already know if your website is mobile-friendly, but go ahead and try out Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.

If folks can’t properly view your information or complete the donation process on their phones, this is the element that needs your immediate attention.

Quick mobile page load speed

Let’s pause and take a test… a mobile speed test, that is. Are your key web pages loading in 2 seconds or less? How about 5? Any more than that and you’re likely losing the attention of mobile visitors that aren’t patient enough to wait, especially when you’re asking for a credit card.

Unlike a complete redesign of your website, there are some non-technical, non-coding things you can do to improve how fast pages load on mobile devices. Start with resizing your images and photos, and embed video content on a hosting platform like YouTube to reduce the pressure on your website to load it quickly.

Not only will pages load quicker for people, but visitors who use mobile data instead of broadband to browse your site will appreciate the extra efficiency.

Prominent, clickable calls to action

Think about the fingers, folks! A compelling appeal for donations isn’t very impactful if it’s challenging for mobile users to click to the next step.

Links should look like something clickable, whether they are text links, buttons or images of/with text. (Please don’t do this last one – it’s inaccessible to some visitors). They should be sized so that it’s not impossible to precisely select them on a mobile device. And the links should be clear and descriptive about what happens when someone clicks on it. Pretty much all the rules of good website accessibility.

Short and sweet donation experience

Simple question: when’s the last time you made a test donation to your nonprofit using your website on a phone? If you haven’t done it lately, or at all, it’s time to get a feel for the experience. 

Now put yourself in the virtual shoes of your donor persona. Does the page feel unnecessarily long for them to scroll through before completing the donation? Is the donation form itself too cumbersome with non-critical fields to fill out? Is it difficult to read the field labels or type in required information? What might distract them from the gift?

Focus on creating an experience that seems simple and straightforward. And then follow up with a fantastic Thank You for Donating page.

Ease of website navigation

One of the more challenging aspects of using a website on a mobile device is getting around to different pages. You have to seek out the main menu (which is often in some sort of hamburger form) and even then visitors can get stuck in a disorganized or illogical website structure.

Help mobile visitors get where they want to go  by thinking carefully about the organization of pages on your website. You should also ensure that someone can quickly get back to the homepage and do a simple search to find what they are looking for. 

If someone gets to a point where it seems easier to wait to donate later when they have access to a desktop computer, you could lose their interest and the sense of urgency to give.

Purposeful, mobile-specific popups

Website pop-ups have a well-earned reputation for being disruptive, which makes them both effective and potentially annoying. Since you don’t want to interrupt website visitors more than you need to, consider how the pop-up experience is different for desktop vs. mobile users.

In our list of website pop-up considerations, we suggest coming up with a strategy that takes into account:

  • Design options, such as a floating bar that wouldn’t take up as much space on a screen
  • Where to display the pop-up, like targeting the most relevant pages that are highly visited by mobile users
  • When to show a pop-up, such as waiting until someone has scrolled a certain percentage of a page
  • Who to display it to, like creating a pop-up that’s specific to visitors on mobile devices

If you’re using website pop-ups and haven’t come up with a targeted strategy and design for mobile traffic, this is an area for improvement that can have an immediate impact. And for a bonus, getting your pop-ups dialed in for mobile will make Google happy in terms of search engine optimization.

Are You Optimized for Mobile Fundraising?

Now that you’re familiar with essential components of fundraising from mobile traffic, the next step is to assess how your website is doing with mobile giving. What measures of success should you be looking for?

Measure Mobile Traffic Numbers

Start with a look at your overall mobile traffic over time. Using Google Analytics, you can determine the average amount of monthly desktop vs. mobile visitors for the last year. This baseline will help you better understand the amount of mobile traffic coming to your site and how well you’re already doing attracting and serving mobile users. 

Check out this video tutorial about mobile traffic data in Google Analytics to get more comfortable with the platform.

Assess Mobile Traffic Behavior

Beyond traffic numbers, take a deeper look at the behavior of mobile visitors. For example, there’s a need for website improvements if you’re getting a ton of traffic from phones and tablets but they leave your site quickly or don’t complete key website actions. Comparing behavior between desktop and mobile visitors will give you additional clarity on how your site performs for visitors using different devices.

Track the following mobile giving-related metrics and insights to see where you stand today and then again in a year after making any adjustments. (If you haven’t set up donation-related Google Analytics goals or ecommerce tracking yet, that’s where you should start.)

  • Overall bounce rate for mobile vs. desktop traffic 
  • Total number of donations from mobile vs. desktop traffic 
  • Total amount donated from mobile vs. desktop traffic 
  • Average size of a donation from mobile traffic vs. desktop traffic 
  • Top pages where mobile visitors are likely to convert
  • Most common exit pages for mobile visitors

Grade Your Online Donor Experience

Use our Donor Flow Optimizer tool to grade your nonprofit’s full online donation process. Find ways to motivate more people to give on your website!

While there are other tools designed to motivate people to give on mobile devices, none of them has the potential to be as comprehensive, trustworthy and engaging as a well-built website. If your organization is looking to raise more money without adding more work and technology to your plate, consider investing time and energy into improving your site’s mobile giving experience.

What are the common barriers to mobile giving that you’ve seen? How does your organization prioritize mobile users in your marketing and fundraising efforts? Any questions about how you can uplevel your site for mobile fundraising? Jump into the comments below.