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Online Giving Makes it Easy for Your Supporters of All Ages to Donate

Think about the donation process like this: a donor is inspired by your organization’s message and wants to give, NOW.

How many steps do they have to take to do so?

The more steps you require, the more likely a potential donor is to lose their inspiration and never give at all.

Mobile-friendly online giving forms make it as easy as possible for supporters to take action in seconds, from anywhere. Supporters can quickly make donations, become a member, and even set up recurring gifts with just a few taps or clicks on any device.

By using a variety of promotional tools—shortlinks for web promotion, keywords for in-person and media calls-to-action, and QR codes for print campaigns—your organization can direct all demographics of supporters to your donation form in the medium they prefer. How simple is that?

See how online giving can work and engage donors with 8 different types of marketing channels:

Website   Email   Social Media   Mobile   Direct Mail   Television   Radio   Phone

FREE BONUS: Get a FREE PDF version of this guide. Easily save it on your computer for quick reference or print it for your nonprofit organization’s next big meeting. Includes all 8 online fundraising chapters and resources!

Collect Online Donations From Your Website

Giving should be fast, simple, and secure from every device

An online giving best practice in order to collect the most donations possible is to remove all obstacles in completing a donation on your website. That means a smooth, streamlined giving experience that allows donors to contribute to your cause with a customizable, mobile-friendly donation page that can be easily and securely accessed from any page of your website.

Encourage smooth, seamless online giving with branded donation pages on your nonprofit's website.

Your DONATE Button Should Be Prominent on Every Page

One simple way to increase online giving is to make sure your visitors have no trouble finding your DONATE or GIVE button when donors visit your website.

It should be located in the upper portion of your website, on every page, and should stand out from the rest of the images and text. A good place for this is right above your top navigation. When the button is clicked, donors should be taken to your secure (https) and mobile-friendly donation page.

In addition to clearly communicating what each donation helps you accomplish, the design of your online giving page should reinforce the impact of the donation with:

• Campaign branding
• Videos and photos
• Suggested donation amounts

• Recurring gift options
• In memory/honor of option
• Custom data collection fields

Feature your donate button prominently on your website to make online giving easy.

Did You Know? Mobile-friendly, responsive donation forms yield 34% more gifts than non-responsive pages because people can donate easily regardless of what device they’re on.

What If My Website Isn’t Responsive?

If you don’t have a responsive website you should be sure to link all of your donate buttons directly to secure, free-standing online giving pages that are mobile-friendly and branded to look like your website.

If you do have a responsive website then you can embed your online giving form directly onto a webpage and the form itself will resize with your website.

Collect Donations From Email Using Online Giving Forms

Make it easy to give in response to emails read from anywhere

Nonprofit organizations rarely see the success they want from email asks alone.

It may sound surprising, but consider this: over half of all emails are now read on a mobile device.

Mobile-friendly online giving pages can be linked to directly in emails, allowing you to strengthen the effectiveness of email campaigns to capture more donations for your cause no matter what device donors are using.

Don’t complicate things! A great online giving best practice is to keep it simple with a prominent DONATE button or text link in your email. Once clicked it should take supporters directly to a online giving page where they can easily make a donation in seconds.

Email Giving Tip: Be sure to track and test your email campaigns to get the best conversion rate possible. Try A/B testing subject lines, sending times, calls-to-actions, and imagery. You can also strengthen email campaigns with simultaneous text message reminders.

Encourage online giving via email.

Did you know? 56% of all emails are read on a mobile device which makes responsive online giving pages even more crucial for email fundraising success.

Online Giving From Social Media

Conveniently capture donations from all social media channels

If your organization wants to increase awareness for your cause, it’s no secret that you need to be on social media. The majority of current and potential donors have at least one social account, making it a great way for you to share your mission and promote donation calls-to-action that allow your followers to give to your organization.

Social is Mobile — 65% of all social media activity occurs on a smartphone. Which means that when you share your content and photos through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, the majority of people seeing it are on a mobile device.

Make it easy and apparent as to how your social followers can donate by including a link to a mobile-friendly giving page, or embedding your secure online giving form right on your Facebook page.

Enable online giving via social media.

Online Giving Best Practices for Social Media:

• Encourage followers to click shortlinks in Facebook and Twitter posts
• Encourage followers to text to donate in response to photos on Instagram
• Embed your donation page in a tab on your Facebook page
• Encourage followers to text-to-donate while broadcasting on Facebook Live and give donors shoutouts as they appear on your fundraising thermometer
• Empower social followers to make micro donations of $1 or more—everything counts!

Did you know? 78% of all potential donors have at least one social media profile.

Online Giving for Nonprofits from Text Messaging

Send text reminders to strengthen campaigns across channels and expand your reach

When it comes to getting in touch, there’s no better way to talk to your supporters than directly on their mobile device—in fact, over 92% of Americans own a mobile phone.

Even Better, the TCPA gives nonprofits special permissions, meaning you can upload any phone numbers you have on record and start contacting your donors in a matter of minutes.

Text-to-donate keywords are the easiest way for supporters to give at home or on the go. All they have to do is text your unique keyword to a 5-digit shortcode and they’ll receive an instant reply with a secure link to your donation page.

Text GOUSC to 51555 or go to mcause.us/gousc to see example

Collect online giving donations via text to donate.

Online Giving Best Practices for Sending Texts to Donors:

• Send at least 3 different texts with compelling content before asking for a donation
• Send links to videos, web pages, social campaigns, and sign-up forms
• Integrate text reminders to increase conversions for every channel

Online Giving Best Practices for Fundraising by Text Message:

• Build list of mobile subscribers with keywords
• Build list of mobile subscribers by collecting mobile number on forms
• Upload and validate the mobile phone numbers you already have in your database

Did you know? Text messages have a 98% open rate, meaning you can almost guarantee they will be read by your audience, making a great mobile giving experience more important than ever.

Online Giving From Direct Mail

Make it easy for recipients to give online in response to traditional fundraising

Most people find direct mail to be annoying. Plus, donor acquisition mail only yields a 1.0% response rate even if you do everything right.

Increase direct mail response rates by making it easy to give online. Empower your donors to give in the way that they prefer, by sending a text, going to your website, or scanning a QR code.

Online donation instructions should be prominently located on the envelope and within your letter. Even better, USPS gives a 2% discount on postage if you include a QR code on your envelope.

Online giving can be promoted via direct mail communications.

Online Giving Best Practices for Direct Mail Fundraising:

• Track every online donation made in response to direct mail
• Strengthen donor records by collecting mobile numbers and emails
• Strengthen direct mail campaigns with simultaneous text reminders

Did you know? 35% of donors say they prefer to respond to direct mail by giving online.

Online Giving From Television

Give TV viewers everywhere a simple way to donate

Use text keywords to promote online giving on television.

Securing a television spot can mean a huge boost in donations and awareness for your nonprofit. So take advantage of the audience you have and give them an easy way to donate!

Text-to-give keywords are the simplest call-to-action for television. Include a text-to-give keyword along with your website URL to yield the highest possible donation totals.

Many of these donations, especially for disaster relief, are made on impulse in response to increased media coverage and celebrities asking their fans to help your cause. This heightened awareness combined with an online giving page that can be accessed from anywhere means maximum success and the importance of online fundraising for you organization.

Online Giving Best Practices for Television Fundraising:

• Make your call-to-action clear and concise
• Link the donate button on your website should to the same donation page as your text-to-give keyword reply message
• Shout out donor names as they appear on the fundraising thermometer to inspire more giving

Donations From Radio

Make it easy to to make donations in response to radio asks and see real-time results

Online giving can also be promoted via text keyword on a radio broadcast.

Radio hosts and nonprofits need to streamline the donation process to make it easy for listeners to make donations. Radio can be tricky because there is nothing for viewers to see, and they are often not in a place to write anything down. However, text-to-donate keywords can help.

Make it easy to give on the go. The best ways to promote online giving and turn your listeners into donors is to instruct listeners to text-to-donate with a simple, easy-to-remember keyword, or instruct them to go to your website.

People listening to the radio are usually on the move whether they are in their car, at the gym or at work, so keep this in mind and make your call-to-action clear!

Online Giving Best Practices for Radio Fundraising:

• Make your call-to-action as simple and easy as possible
• Shout out donor names throughout broadcasts to inspire more giving
• Promote your campaign until the fundraising goal is reached

Take a look in the video below how Steve Harvey promoted his online giving campaign through radio to raise over $1 Million in just one month.

Donations Over the Phone

Empower your staff to collect secure phonathon donations

Phoneathons can help facilitate online giving.

Whether you’re a university with a student-run call center or an organization hosting its annual volunteer phonathon, online giving for nonprofits makes the process smoother than ever.

Just provide your phone representatives with a link to your secure online donation form, and they’ll be able to enter donors’ information into the form to submit their donation with just a click.

Online Giving Tip: Instantly send GiveLater donation page links by text message to donors that don’t want to give their credit card information over the phone. Additionally, you can send 3 automatic reminder text messages if they do not fulfill their pledge.

Did You Know? Donors are 4 times more likely to connect with your nonprofit when they are contacted on their mobile phone. Use phone number validation to identify the mobile numbers you may already have in your donor database.


Consider these online giving tips for maximum donations.

Tip 1

Mobile responsive donation pages make it easy for people to give from any device, especially since mobile devices now drive 56% of all web traffic. Your donate button should be the main call to action on your homepage.

Make online giving easy on any device with responsive donation pages.

Tip 2

Branded donation pages drive more donations.

People give 38% more when donation pages are branded with your organizations name, logo, and colors, helping to reinforce the intention of the gift. These donors are also 66% more likely to come back and donate again.

Studies also show that when the word “submit” is replaced with a specific action button like “Give to Kids” or “Beat Cancer”  conversions increase by 10-30%, so be sure to customize your donation form to maximize your potential.


Streamline the online giving process on your website with branded donation pages.

Tip 3

Include recurring gift instructions on all donation pages. People who set up recurring gifts donate DOUBLE the money annually when compared to one-time donors.

Promote recurring donation instructions in all donation asks and make it as easy as possible for donors to set up recurring gifts in seconds from any device.

Encourage recurring donation with gift suggestion buttons on your online giving forms.

Tip 4

AutoFill donation fields makes it easy for donors to give with a credit card in seconds, helping to boost donor satisfaction and engagement. Every donation page should be compatible with Apple & Android AutoFill for credit card payments. What makes this technology work is that credit/debit card information and contact information are stored in a mobile wallet within the phone, so the donor doesn’t have to pull out their actual wallet when it’s time to donate. This technology has been available for years, but Apple is poised to drive mainstream adoption. Apple Pay, mobile wallets and NFC—near-field communication, which allows two devices placed next to each other to exchange data—are more secure than traditional card payments because of advanced encryptions and payment tokens.

Use AutoFill to make online giving seamless for returning donors.

Tip 5

Donation form and payment information security is very important to your donors.

If you do not see a https URL in your web browser your nonprofit’s website is insecure, which means your donors’ personal and payment information may be at risk. In addition, if your donation form does not contain security validation links your donors personal and payment information may be at risk.

You can avoid security risks by linking to a secure, standalone donation page directly from your website.

Ensuring payment security is paramount to perfecting your online giving strategy.

Tip 6

Promote donation pages over text, email, social media and direct mail for maximum exposure and maximum results!

As you share your donation page across all channels be sure to maintain the same branding throughout each campaign to reinforce your message in the mind of your audience.

You can do this easily by using the same imagery, wording, colors and fonts to create a seamless donor experience.

Promote online giving throughout all donor communications.

Download a free PDF version of this online fundraising guide…

PDF version contains all of the content and resources found in the web-based guide

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