Words… words… words…

January 10, 2017

We’re big fans of words. After all, words are essential to building your case and convincing people to donate. Yet, ten days after the grand finale of giving that was New Year’s Eve, we’re still pondering our own personal year-end giving experiences (all online) – which for the most part were quite wordy, and not necessarily in a good way.

To begin, at least half of the online giving forms were filled with clunky, non-intuitive design, and some still used commercial shopping cart applications.

More noticeable was the immediate post-giving experience, such as pop-up thank you pages filled with plain black text on stark white backgrounds, and confirmation emails with few or no graphics, some running for pages because of ill-spaced templates. None tapping into or affirming the powerful feelings that can be generated through the act of donating.

To maximize your online giving effectiveness, it’s important to remember:

  1. The Internet is a visual medium – images, color and design should form the foundation of your presentation, and text should clarify and complete the experience.
  2. Attention spans are brief – you only have a moment to get a point across, even after someone has made a donation.

What should you strive for?

  1. Make sure your donate button stands out and is easily spotted on all pages of your website.
  2. Streamline your online giving form. Ensure all unnecessary fields are eliminated, and that monthly giving options are just as easy to choose and complete as a single donation.
  3. Add color and images to your pop-up acknowledgement page and keep your copy spare, including only the one or two key things best shared in this moment.
  4. Add an engaging header to confirmation emails, keep the letter copy brief, and focus most on a simple note of appreciation coupled with a brief confirmation of donation details.

It’s important to remember that this is just the beginning. Resist the urge to include too much information in these brief interactions, which is likely to overwhelm your donor and result in none of your messages being absorbed.

Instead, consider this a passionate touch of appreciation to be followed by a year of strategic online and offline communications that will build and deepen relationships with your donors.