Guides & Resources

Guide to Reviewing Your Donor Conversion Process

Stewardship & Marketing: Donor Relations/Stewardship
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As a nonprofit organization leader, your strategizing and hard work contribute to your fundraising efforts each year. Getting a prospect from receiving your marketing outreach to giving to your cause is crucial. 

We know that you work hard each year to increase your marketing return on investment (ROI). But are you doing all you can? Sometimes even quick reevaluations and small tweaks to your engagement strategies can make all the difference to your donor relationships and conversion rates. What are the best practices to get a potential donor from their first interaction with your organization to filling out your donation form?

There are a few different ways you can effectively raise your donor conversion rate, including the following methods:

  • Making your donor’s journey as simple as possible
  • Habitually re-evaluating your outreach strategy 
  • Optimizing the final steps of your giving experience

With these easy considerations, your donor conversion process will be as straightforward and effective. Let’s jump right into the first steps you should take.

Make Your Donor’s Journey as Simple as Possible

Your donor’s journey begins with the ask. Regardless of the outreach platform, how you ask for donations should be strategic and precise. Whether you’re using email, direct mail or phone, there are a few crucial attributes your donation ask should include to inspire and motivate the recipient. 

1. Position the donor as the hero

The donor is a hero in your mission’s story. Make sure they recognize this fact! After all, you’re able to achieve your goals and strengthen your impact because of their help each year. 

In your ask, communicate clearly to donors that they’re an invaluable part of your mission. They’ll feel good about the appreciation and will be on their way to becoming a loyal supporter of your organization. Be clear in your mission. 

Additionally, be clear about what you’re working to accomplish. Donors want to know exactly where their money is going and what you’ve already done with previous donations.

Tip: When explaining your mission, make sure to put the donor at the focal point of the impact. 

For example, if you’re a local school raising money to send students on an important field trip, consider writing, “You helped send four children on a memorable trip,” rather than “We sent four children on a memorable trip.” This way, they visualize their exact impact

With this simple word choice, your supporters know that they’re the ones making your organization’s mission a reality!

2. Provide multiple ways for them to give easily

The largest hurdle for fundraising leaders is encouraging donation form completion. It’s worth it to go the extra mile to make it as simple as possible to contribute— no one likes a complicated giving process. 

Consider these few actions that can streamline the giving experience:

  • For direct mail outreach, include a prepaid and pre-addressed envelope so that donors can give by mail without having to run to the post office. You might also include a QR code within the letter for those who want to give online. 
  • For social media outreach, include the link to donate clearly in captions and your account bio.
  • For email, make your call to action clear and bold with a link or QR code directing readers to your online donation page.

This way, you can make giving as easy as possible for any donor. 

3. Create a straightforward process for your online donation methods.

Finally, it’s crucial to realize the considerable role website user experience (UX) plays in how donors decide to give to your organization. 

For instance, as soon as someone lands on your website, it shouldn’t be hard for them to find your donation page. According to this guide on donor journeys, a website user’s attention span is about eight seconds. Include clear and prominent links to your donation page within your menu and as buttons throughout your site.

Habitually Re-evaluate Your Outreach Strategy 

It’s essential to evaluate what is working in your current donor outreach strategy and what isn’t serving you any longer. Let’s discuss how you might re-evaluate those strategies to optimize your conversion rate.

1. Check your key performance indicators (KPIs). 

Your organization’s KPIs are set metrics you track to help your team determine if you’re achieving specific objectives and goals. It’s crucial to keep your eye on this data if you want to ensure your efforts are going well and improve future ones. KPIs can:

  • Provide accurate data regarding your outreach efforts.
  • Help your team make informed decisions.
  • Take the guesswork out of assessing progress.
  • Help you figure out what’s working and what’s not.

This way, you can even alter aspects in real-time to help your donor conversion process. You’ll be making changes based on hard data, not assumptions.

2. Practice donor stewardship for existing donors

You want to retain donors, not just attract new ones! Consider using donor stewardship practices like consistent communication and targeted outreach on your current donors, too. Besides, your existing donors want to know that their efforts are appreciated and making an impact.

Because of financial instability and an ongoing global pandemic, your donor base may not be able to give as often as they once did. Taking insight from Re: Charity’s guide to COVID-19 fundraising, you’ll need to adjust your strategy to prioritize the well-being of your supporters before the monetary needs of your campaign. 

While you can’t control who gives to your organization, you can take charge of showing support to your donors and working on retention. Do so with these stewardship tips: 

  • Calling up supporters
  • Providing alternative engagement possibilities
  • Thanking your donors for their support
  • Explaining your COVID-19 plan

With these items in mind, your outreach can successfully deepen your relationship with your donor base and support donor conversion in the future.

Tip: when interacting with donors in your stewardship outreach, don’t forget to take notes for your donor management software. This information will help your later outreach efforts exponentially by giving it a personal touch.

3.Put your CRM data to use in your outreach

The data you have on your donors can help you hone-in on which people are most likely to complete your donor journey. When you segment your donors in your CRM, your team can prioritize specific groups to get the most out of your outreach. 

Be sure to also make note in your CRM of possible barriers to giving and other information generated from the process. Targeting the right people will increase your chances of receiving a donation!

In taking steps to put your data insights into practice, you’re sure to increase your donor conversion rate. You’ll be targeting the right people at the right time.

Optimize the Final Steps of Your Giving Experience

Did you know that 83% of all donation page visitors leave the page without giving?

As potential donors learn more about your mission and resonate with your cause, the last place you want to lose them is on your donation form. However, this is often the case. As the final step in your donor conversion process, your donation form is crucial.

Your donation form secures the generous gifts of supporters and gathers information for your CRM. This data provides fundamental details that can improve your future engagements and develop your donor relationships.

However, remember that it’s easier to lose people on your donation form than keep them. In fact, your donation form design and the questions you ask have a significant impact. Don’t let prospects be a part of the 83% donation page turnover statistic. 

To mitigate this issue, make sure your donation form includes these necessary fields:

  • Donor names help your team keep track of who supports your organization. Names are used to personalize your communications and better recognize your most giving supporters.
  • Contact information is pertinent for future outreach. Collecting contact data like phone numbers, addresses and emails, is crucial for donor retention. After the donation, use this information to show your appreciation with a thank-you letter. 
  • The donation amount is the most important item on your form. Along with a field for donation amount, provide suggested amounts for your supporters. These are crucial in helping supporters determine what amount is appropriate to give to help you reach your fundraising goals. You can tailor this amount to their previous giving data and encourage a slightly higher donation than before.

Your donation form isn’t just a basic tool to collect information but can also drive conversions. For more guidance on the best donation form, check out iATS Payments for some donation page examples.

Wrapping Up

Overall, your organization can optimize your donor conversion process by putting your data to use and developing your existing donor relationships. Be sure to re-evaluate your strategy with every donor outreach, and you’ll be on your way to raising more money for your mission.

RobbieRobbie Bernstein, an iATS Payments Account Executive, uses her wealth of payment processing knowledge to help nonprofits thrive. Robbie puts her heart into fundraising for cancer research, the Make a Wish Foundation and the Heart and Stroke Foundation. 

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