Tell a Story With Your Online Giving Site

Include videos, pictures, and other media on your giving sites to keep donor’s going through the process.

An increasing number of nonprofit organizations are beefing up their online and social media strategies for fundraising. As well they should be, since a growing mountain of evidence tells us that online donors have more money and give bigger gifts than offline donors. We see brilliantly designed Facebook pages, clever Twitter campaigns, beautiful blogs, and a host of other attractive websites. So why then, do we also see so many bland online giving forms? The online giving form or process is one of your most important websites. So build it to be beautiful and effective!

Tell a story with your online giving website – Step one is envisioning your online giving pages not as the end of the trip, but a part of the journey. After all, you’ve done so much to get the donor to this point, don’t lose them now. One way to avoid “buyer’s remorse” among donors is by providing quality content on all your giving pages. Videos, pictures, links to success stories, and testimonials from the recipients of your work all help keep the donor engaged and moving through the giving process.

Forget “giving” make a “gaming” pageAutism Speaks has turned their online giving page into an interactive game or puzzle, to be more specific. At the Autism Speaks giving site, users can “buy” a puzzle piece for $10 with that money going to support the organization. Users are also invited to upload their pictures to create a puzzle of their own. Oh, and it’s easy to join* … just sign in using your Facebook account.

*For any online community, allow users to login with the social media accounts they already have. Creating a new account can be a major hurdle, but nearly every donor has either a Facebook, Twitter, or Google account – let them use it to connect with you!

Make your giving site “social” – Another clever way of engaging donors through your giving website is by making it look nothing like a traditional giving website. Have a look at the online giving site/social network “MiddSTART” run by Middlebury College. MiddSTART looks more like a social network than a giving site and it operates like one too. For each fund, a student or volunteer is in charge of raising awareness and gaining support for their fund by way of sharing news about the fund online. Once a donor makes a gift, they can add their name to the donor roll for each fund and connect with other donors, many of whom they might already know. Then, of course, it’s easy to share the news of your gift via the various social networks. MiddSTART is fun, interactive, puts the donor in control, and – most importantly – is highly effective. In the first couple months alone, MiddSTART brought in six-figure online fundraising totals for Middlebury.

No matter it’s purpose, if you have control over a digital space use it to tell your nonprofit’s story. This applies to email, websites, e-newsletters, online giving forms, and every other digit tool your donor might come across. Like every member of your staff, these electronic media are representing your organization. Help them help you tell your story.

For more on how you might improve your online giving process, visit

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