I confess. I never think it’s too early to get ready for the holiday season. (Right after Labor Day, I start coming up with ideas for my annual handmade holiday cards.)
Not only am I a natural planner, but I was also a nonprofit fundraiser for over eight years! My Pavlovian reaction to pumpkin spice lattes is to start laying the foundation for year-end fundraising. ;)
The holiday season is truly a special time of year. Donors are actually visiting your website with the intention of donating.
I repeat: Donors are actually visiting your website with the intention of donating.
These five tweaks will help you maximize the spirit of the season by creating a reliable system for year-end fundraising via your website.
Tweak #1: Send potential donors to a /donate page, not the homepage
Our website’s homepage tends to be like a cocktail party: crowded and loud. Be kind to your potential donor by sending her directly to a specific page that tells her just what she needs to know: how her donation will help someone else.
Tweak #2: Create a specific year-end call to action
Remind donors that their year-end donation is important and needed. Tweak your regular website copy and add specific language about the season. Instead of “Help Lee feed her family” say something like “Help Lee feed her family this winter”.
Tweak #3: Ask for higher donation amounts
At holiday season, donors increase the amount of their gifts. Change the settings of your online donation form and increase the suggested donation amount(s). (And set a reminder for yourself in early January to change the settings back.)
Tweak #4: Secure your donation form
As a donor, I run far far away when I see a donation form that isn’t transmitted securely. I see this problem more often than you’d think I would, given how many donation tools are available. If you need a new trustworthy donation tool, here’s a handy list, ranked from most entry level to most sophisticated: PayPal, Click & Pledge, Qgiv.
Tweak #5: Ask your donor to tell everyone she knows
On the confirmation page that your donor sees after she’s donated, thank her and shower her with love. And then ask her to spread the good word about your organization with her loved ones. You can use tools like Click to Tweet or AddThis to make it easier for her to share and easier for you to keep track of the donor love train.
Bonus Tweak: Test the donation form with real money!
I can’t tell you how many disasters I’ve avoided simply by testing our donation form with a real $1 or $5 donation. Yes, many donation tools give you a “test” card that you can use. But I promise you, there are bugs that you cannot see until you run a transaction with real cash money.