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6 Top Tips for Landing Pages That Lead Donors to Action

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Your landing page is the make-or-break moment for your digital fundraising campaign. Get it wrong and you can lose a lot of money from would-be donors.

The good news is that nonprofit landing pages have improved in recent years. Thanks to better digital education, platforms, and infrastructure, many more charities have workable, mobile-friendly landing pages now than 5-10 years ago.

But don’t break out the champagne just yet! The charity sector cannot in 2023 claim mastery of the online landing page. We’re still losing donations to overwhelming designs, unfocussed content and poorly-structured donation forms.

Let’s look at six key strategies to maximize your landing page conversion rate and make it the digital fundraising powerhouse your cause deserves.

1. Make your landing page clear, not clever

More than anything else, your landing page should be clear and usable. It should inspire and emotionally engage the supporter. But even the most inspired donor won’t complete a donation if they get lost in the process.

Aim for simplicity and focus on your design. Eliminate or streamline anything that might lose the donation. For example:

  • Links to other pages: Driving the visitor away from your landing page obviously disrupts the donation process. Ideally, you’ll remove all links to other pages, whether to your organization’s homepage, blog, or other campaigns. Your campaign landing page doesn’t need your website’s main navigation bar on it.
  • Distracting elements: Design elements like interactive widgets and infographics can overwhelm visitors, and they can get lost in videos and flashy animations, departing on an experience that doesn’t end in conversion. Keep elements that help guide the visitor on a simple, linear path to donation. Lose anything that doesn’t.

2. Make donation forms usable and intuitive

The donation form is the crux of your landing page. Ideally, your donation form is so intuitive that your donor glides through the process without needing to think about it. Every time they’re forced to think about what they’re meant to do reduces the likelihood they’ll complete the donation, and so the page conversion rate.

Small details about user interactions, like how the user’s chosen donation is highlighted, or how they’re told to move to the next step, can have a big impact on conversion. So can the amount of choice they’re provided. Users need a number of possible donation amounts to choose from, but you don’t want to drive them into decision paralysis. For me, three or four amounts plus an open field is enough, and they need to be presented neatly.

Every extra step in the donation form adds another barrier to completion, so you should ask only for information that your organization is actually going to use. This is a rule that many charities are still falling foul of in their online donation forms.

Lastly, you need to provide payment methods that your audience uses. If your potential donor vastly prefers PayPal online and you don’t provide it, there’s a strong chance they won’t complete their donation. And if they’re on their iPhone on a bus, inspired by your landing page and ready to donate, then find that you don’t offer Apple Pay, they may well skip off to Instagram or TikTok rather than fishing out their credit card (if they even have it on them).

3. Keep content focused, straightforward and inspiring

To get absorbed in a story, your text and images need to be effortless to consume. The reader needs to experience the story and the emotions it evokes without needing to stop and re-read a sentence or think too much.

As with the donation form, forcing people to stop and think about what they’re reading reduces their likelihood to donate.

So make things easy for your landing page visitor. Give them just as much information on the issue as they need for trust without getting bogged down in detail. Make sure language and images are easy to understand. You can use the Hemingway App to check your text and ensure it’s at a Reading Ease level of 6 or lower.

While making your text and images understandable, you do of course also need to inspire the visitor to donate. So use emotive language and urgency, and clearly illustrate how the supporter’s donation will achieve real change.

4. Make content consistent with the supporter journey

Something in an email, a Facebook post or an Instagram ad inspired your supporter enough to earn a click through to your landing page. In their first microsecond there, you need to subconsciously confirm that they’re in the right place. Then you need to continue and build on that inspiration to collect their donation.

That first-microsecond confirmation comes visually. You need to make sure the page’s hero image and heading or strapline look the same as where they’ve come from. This gives them a seamless transition from one channel to another.

Then to continue and build on that inspiration, proceed with the story in the tone of voice that’s been set, aiming to develop the emotional response and values already evoked in your supporter. While you do this, also highlight the supporter’s role in solving the problem for the beneficiary. And don’t forget to include strong calls to action as you illustrate that role.

5. Design content for the audience

A multi-donor who’s been with you for 8 years has very different needs to someone who’s never heard of you before. Keep this in mind when designing your content.

For a “house” or “warm” appeal (depending on where you are), you’re dealing with people who at a minimum subscribe to your emails and may also have donated to you. They already know your programs and team and probably understand your mission, so don’t drag them through unnecessary explanations of those things. Instead, explain the current urgent problem and how their donation will help solve it, then make a strong ask for their donation.

On the other hand, an advertising campaign to audiences unknown to you is a very different context. These people have never heard of you; you need to establish trust while emotionally inspiring them and conveying how their donation will solve the problem.

For the trust, you may consider using behavioral mechanics like:

  • Social proof, for example, a feed of recent donations or donor testimonials.
  • Trust badges from nonprofit authorities.
  • Momentum indicators like a campaign progress bar.
  • Transparency about how funds raised are spent.

Of course, many campaign landing pages serve multiple audiences – both known and unknown. How do we resolve this? The ideal solution lies in our final point.

6. Personalize content and asks

You can personalize different elements on your landing page. I’ll start with the most impactful – the default ask amounts in your donation form. Personalizing ask amounts can have a huge impact on email campaign revenue. You shouldn’t be asking a $300 donor for $25, $50 or $100 – they’ve already shown they’ll give more than that!

Personalizing ask amounts is based on analysis of the frequency, recency and value of donors’ previous gifts along with other factors, and is important in direct mail. But many nonprofits still aren’t doing it in email campaigns. There are more and more off-the-shelf platforms that facilitate this kind of personalization for house files in a secure and compliant way, with one of my favorites being Funraisin.

You can also personalize ask amounts outside of the email campaign context. For example, if your Google Ads donors give $87 on average while Facebook ads donors give $32 on average, anchor the gift array to those amounts for traffic from those sources (normally you’d pitch the middle ask amount at, or a little higher than, the average).

Of course, personalization isn’t just about the ask amounts in your donation form. Where you know the donor, you can also include their name or other details in the page content. Pre-filling forms with their personal information is a good idea too – it makes the donation process as easy as possible for your supporter.

I hope these six tips help enrich your approach to your campaign landing pages. Follow them and you will improve both the experience of your supporters and your digital fundraising revenue.

Want more up-to-the-moment help for digital fundraising? Take our all-new and completely FREE online workshop, 3 Email Fundraising Mistakes That Cost You Tons of Donations. Featuring digital Fundraisingologist James Herlihy, this single session will help you leap forward in your online fundraising mastery. Sessions are coming up soon! More information here. 

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