Those working for not-for-profit organizations often wear many hats. There’s the actual work related to the mission that needs doing. Then there are the day-to-day tasks of accounting, human resources management, marketing and fund-raising, to name a few. The more processes that you can automate, the more time you’ll have to do the work that matters the most.
If you’re interested in increasing donations to your organization, then offering an online option may be a good choice. It can be intimidating to ask people for money. But if you already have donors who believe that your cause truly matters, you just need to make it easy for them to do so.
Choosing giving levels for your online donation program
Giving levels are the preset amounts on donation forms. Some organizations choose to leave the giving level open. In this case they may say “Fill in the blank” or “Name your amount.” However, we recommend bucketing the donations. By that we mean, rather than leaving the donation levels open, use three to five categories, ranging from low to high.
To determine the appropriate levels, start by checking your organization’s history of donations. What’s the highest, what’s the lowest? What’s the average gift size? This information will give you a sense of where to start.
Tell donors what their contribution will support
Help your donors picture what their support really means. For each giving level, illustrate what that money can be used for. Is it food delivery for an elderly person for a month? Is it a backpack of school supplies for one child? The more specific you can be, the more people will be able to envision how they are helping.
Why you should ask donors to cover the processing fees
There are fees involved with offering your patrons the option of paying online, typically around 3%. While the fee for each individual donation may not be large, they add up quickly. You can offset these costs by asking donors to cover the processing fees.
Offer recurring donations and collect recurring donations directly from the online donation form. There are no checks to mail and no monthly reminders to send. The donors’ credit card is automatically charged at the time period they choose. If the donation fails, you will be notified so you can follow up personally.
With this option, donors have all the tools they need to make their own plans. They simply check a few boxes to set up their contribution. Once you’ve converted a donor into your recurring donation program, the gifts continue until the donor decides to stop.
According to The State of Modern Philanthropy 2018, recurring donations are over five times more valuable than one-time donors. And recurring donations allow supporters to spread out the financial impact of their giving.
The benefits of accepting donations online
If your website doesn’t currently accept online donations, maybe it should. Online giving has been increasing year after year. Donors are able to contribute at a time that is convenient for them. Accepting donations online can reduce administrative costs and increase efficiency.