The ultimate goal of any nonprofit website is to convince supporters to take the desired action, whether that be signing up for an email newsletter, registering for a volunteer opportunity, or anything in between.
No matter what your goals, your website must be carefully structured and designed if your organization expects to reach the ideal outcome.
If that outcome happens to be increasing visibility and scoring more donations to your nonprofit’s crowdfunding campaign, you’ve come to the right place!
In this article, we’ll give you 6 tips that will help you design your website in a way that’s conducive to crowdfunding success, including:
- Make sure your donation page is easy to get to.
- Use your crowdfunding campaign to keep your website current.
- Pack an emotional punch.
- Standardize branding.
- Keep mobile in mind.
- Provide crowdfunding donors with other ways to get involved.
Let’s jump in!
Why it’s crucial:
Considering that crowdfunding relies on a large number of donors to be successful, campaign visibility and accessibility are arguably more important with crowdfunding campaigns than they are with other fundraisers.
To maximize donations to your campaign, your organization must make the giving experience as easy as possible for your donors.
If supporters have to search your website endlessly to find your crowdfunding page, chances are that they won’t even land on the donation form, nevertheless hit the “Submit” button.
Point is, a giving experience that is frustrating in any way is much more likely to be abandoned before the gift has been made, which won’t do much to further your crowdfunding campaign!
How it’s done:
If securing more donations to your crowdfunding campaign is your organization’s main website goal, treat it as the centerpiece!
The key here is to make your crowdfunding page as visible as possible (organically, of course). You should provide supporters with multiple pathways to access your campaign donation form.
For example, you might give supporters the option to access your page by:
- Including a call-to-action and a link to your campaign page on your homepage.
- Adding information about your crowdfunding campaign to your “Ways to Give” page.
- Featuring a “Donate Now” button in your top navigation that specifically links out to your crowdfunding page.
Of course, this list certainly doesn’t cover all of the options. If there’s a natural opportunity to lead website visitors to your crowdfunding campaign donation form, then by all means, guide them!
To sum up: Ensuring that your navigation structure clearly points website visitors to your crowdfunding page will result in more donations to your campaign, since supporters will know exactly where to go to embark on the donation process.
Why it’s crucial:
Amidst a million other important efforts and concerns, it can be all-too-easy to forget to update your website… or to simply sweep updating under the rug.
However, updating your website is crucial to its effectiveness. You need to update regularly to reassure donors that your organization is still active and interested in keeping them in the loop with what’s going on at your nonprofit.
Furthermore, an out-of-date website can make your organization appear less credible. Think about it: have you ever landed on a business’ website that looks like it hasn’t been updated since 1999? You probably weren’t too inclined to believe that that company was up with the times and a current expert in their product or field.
Point is, regularly updating your website can be a difficult feat, but the potential ramifications of not updating can be even greater.
How it’s done:
Luckily, your crowdfunding campaign will give your organization plenty of material for updating your website!
As we’ve discussed in a previous post, it’s important to regularly give your supporters updates during your crowdfunding campaign. Doing so keeps them oriented with your progress and demonstrates the results of their contributions in a more tangible way, both of which lead to a more invested base of donors.
You can repurpose the updates from your crowdfunding campaign to generate new content for your website. For example, you could update your homepage daily to share current campaign progress or publish a series of news articles to your blog about the positive work that crowdfunding donations have already made possible.
And those are only a couple of the possibilities! No matter how you choose to leverage them, crowdfunding updates give you the fodder you need to keep your website current.
Additionally, if your website needs a design update, you can work with a nonprofit technology consultant to create an up-to-date website. These web design and tech-savvy consultants can not only help you refresh your design but also come up with solutions on how to link to your crowdfunding campaign.
For instance, they can step up a donation form that allows supporters to give to your crowdfunding campaign without leaving your website! All you’ll have to do is update your fundraising goal on your crowdfunding platform.
To sum up: By using news from your crowdfunding campaign, updating your organization’s website on a regular basis will be much more manageable.
Why it’s crucial:
People are often motivated to give charitably because nonprofit causes tug at their heartstrings in some way. In other words, supporting nonprofits is usually (at least in part) an emotionally-charged pursuit.
That being the case, organizations generally do better at engaging their supporters and convincing them to give when they make an emotional appeal as opposed to a logical one.
By packing an emotional punch with your content, chances are that your website will be more impactful to your donors—both when it comes to conveying your message and encouraging more donations. After all, it’s those visceral reactions that lead to impulse giving!
While designing your website around an emotional appeal won’t directly influence the success of your crowdfunding campaign, it can aid it indirectly. The more you can inspire donors with your cause and impassion them with your mission, the more likely they are to donate to your campaigns.
How it’s done:
While you should do so throughout your site, appealing to your supporters’ emotions is especially important on your homepage. The very first impression your visitors will have of your website is the look and layout of your homepage, so it’s important to get your message across immediately.
Design your homepage around an emotionally-charged photo of your work or those you serve, and make sure to include a shortened version of your mission statement above the fold (the part of the webpage that visitors can see without scrolling).
As One Project, an organization committed to supporting secondary survivors of sexual assault, perfectly portrays their work in an emotionally compelling way on their homepage:
If you’re still in the market for more examples of successful, emotionally-charged nonprofit websites, you’re in luck. You can check out this excellent resource with 200 of the best nonprofit websites of the year, broken out by organizational focus (i.e., international, environmental, animals, etc.).
Whether you review sites through that resource or through other means, the important thing is that you’re analyzing industry-wide best practices and drawing inspiration from the great work of your peers. See what your colleagues in the field have done with their sites, and find ways to leverage those techniques to tell your nonprofit’s emotional story.
To sum up: Nonprofit work is emotional by nature. Increase the chances that website visitors will be swayed by your cause by using compelling stories and images to pack an emotional punch, particularly on your homepage.
Why it’s crucial:
As all nonprofits know, building trust is key to securing donations. This is especially true for online donations, which are more impersonal since there’s no aspect of face-to-face interaction to help donors feel secure.
If your organization wants to maximize the number of online donations received (and we’re assuming you do!), you must do everything in your power to make your website appear as trustworthy as possible to your donors.
Standardizing branding across your website is one of the most straightforward ways to do just that.
By keeping branding consistent across the board, it becomes a seal of trust. When donors see your look and logo across all pages of your website, they’ll be consistently reminded that they’re investing in a credible cause they care about.
How it’s done:
All pages of your website should have the same look and feel, derived from your logo.
Before you start designing, consider creating a style guide that outlines all design standards. Here are just a few of the many things you’ll probably want to think about:
- Color scheme. Color schemes should be based on your logo and include no more than 5-6 colors. There should be 2-3 main colors (brights) as well as an array of neutrals to complement them.
- Color usage. Beyond simply having a scheme to work with, you should determine which elements will appear in which colors. For example, what colors will donation buttons and other CTAs be? Hyperlinks?
- Font. Use one font throughout your website, and stick with it. When selecting a font, keep in mind that sans serif fonts are more legible on screens.
- Images. What types of images will your organization use on your website? Should images be shaped, sized, or formatted in a particular way? Where will images be sourced from? Do you need to secure any permissions? These questions all need to be answered in your style guide!
Once you’ve got your style guide, it’s time to decide how you’ll brand your donation forms. There are two routes your organization can take: hire a web design firm or build your own forms using the built-in customization tools available with your fundraising software.
If you don’t have much design experience or CSS and HTML knowledge, we highly recommend hiring a web design professional. This person can help you maintain a cohesive design throughout all your donation forms and create custom solutions that are tailored to your organization.
Completing the design in-house? Check out this list of amazing websites to get ideas on how you can brand your website’s donation forms.
Important: don’t forget to brand your crowdfunding campaign page, too! Considering that donors are submitting their sensitive information there, they’ll feel much more comfortable giving when your form clearly reflects your organization.
To sum up: Clear and consistent branding across your website builds trust because donors can be certain that they’re supporting a credible nonprofit.
Why it’s crucial:
Now that mobile phones are so advanced, more and more people are using them to browse the web on the go.
In fact, it’s been estimated that a majority of browsers are now visiting nonprofit websites from mobile devices. The problem is that many nonprofits haven’t yet caught up with the times and optimized their websites (including their donation pages) for mobile users.
It might not seem like a deal breaker at first, but a website that isn’t mobile-responsive can cause your crowdfunding donations (and online contributions in general) to take a hit. Websites that aren’t mobile-friendly aren’t user-friendly, so mobile donors are much more likely to become frustrated and leave the site before submitting their donations.
Think about it: wouldn’t you be much less inclined to give if you had to zoom and pinch your screen, scroll up, down, left, and right, and fill out a bunch of tiny, illegible boxes to make a donation?
How it’s done:
How you build a mobile-responsive website will be dependent on how your nonprofit is approaching web design.
- Designing your website yourself, the website builder that your organization is using should use a responsive design framework that automatically conforms your site to the device it’s being viewed on. However, just because you have this feature doesn’t necessarily mean that your site will translate well to mobile, so be sure to keep mobile in mind as you’re designing.
- Working with a web design firm, make sure to select a firm who offers mobile-responsive design. Most firms should offer this service now that mobile is so prevalent, but it can’t hurt to double-check!
Remember: the best way to tell if your site is actually mobile-responsive is to test it out for yourself. Take out your smartphone and try donating to your crowdfunding campaign!
To sum up: Mobile-responsive websites provide mobile donors with the best possible user experience. When donating to your crowdfunding campaign is easy, donors will be much more likely to follow through!
Why it’s crucial:
Crowdfunding campaigns can really give your donor acquisition a boost. These campaigns require widespread sharing and are low-stakes for donors, so they’re the ideal opportunity to recruit a lot of new donors to your cause.
In order to transform one-time crowdfunding donors into donors who give again and again, it’s crucial to actively continue building relationships with them. One of the best ways to do that through your website is by offering supporters other opportunities to get involved with your organization!
Not to mention, some supporters who land on your website might want to support your organization, but might not be ready to make a monetary gift. By providing a variety of engagement opportunities on your website, you can win the support of people with a variety of preferences.
How it’s done:
Post-donation engagement opportunities don’t even have to be limited to your acknowledgement page! In fact, they should be incorporated throughout your website.
The key is to match up your webpages with relevant opportunities. Some opportunities might be relevant across the board (for example, an email newsletter subscription box might remain at the bottom of the site on every page), while others would be very specific to certain pages (for example, the opportunity to volunteer for an event might only be limited to a dedicated volunteer information page).
No matter where you place them, all opportunities should be framed as calls-to-action (CTAs). Use short, clear, and actionable language to ensure that donors will understand exactly what you’re requesting.
With the right CTAs, who knows? That supporter who came only intending to give $5 to your crowdfunding campaign might be transformed into a lifelong volunteer!
To sum up: Including other engagement opportunities around your website actively continues the conversation both before and after crowdfunding campaign donors have given. With a wealth of thoughtful engagement opportunities backing you up, you should have a larger base of recurring donors to rely on for your next campaign!
Your nonprofit’s website strategy can greatly influence how much money you’re able to raise during your crowdfunding campaign. With these 6 tips, your website should be conducive to crowdfunding success.
For more information about planning your crowdfunding campaign, check out these additional resources:
- 3 Crowdfunding Campaign Page Writing Tips to Captivate Donors. Looking for more advice on how to write a compelling crowdfunding page? Fundly’s guide has all the tips and tricks you need to grab your donors’ attention.
- 3 Strategies to Pull Your Crowdfunding Campaign Out of a Slump. Let’s face it: every crowdfunding fundraiser is going to experience a lull in donations, but how you react to this slump can greatly affect the outcome of your campaign. Learn how you can heighten the buzz surrounding your campaign in just three simple steps.
- Top 7 Salesforce Apps and Integrations for Nonprofits. If your organization is using Salesforce, did you know you can connect your Fundly campaign to your CRM? Learn about more ways you can boost your Salesforce tool with seven apps and integrations.
Blackbaud’s Luminate Online Marketing has become a major player in the online fundraising game, and for good reason! For larger organizations with unique needs, Luminate Online offers a variety of tools that can boost engagement, streamline donor management, and increase fundraising revenue.
Luminate Online is well known, but many nonprofits don’t have a thorough understanding of what this powerful product can do, or if it’s truly the best choice for their organization. That’s why we’ve taken it upon ourselves to examine every stage of the Luminate Online buying process, from initial questions all the way to getting set up with your new Blackbaud system.
Interested in finding out more about Luminate Online? Follow along as we run through these 6 crucial steps:
- Understand the Luminate suite.
- Determine your nonprofit’s needs.
- Prepare your budget for Luminate Online.
- Anticipate integrations and customizations within Luminate.
- Migrate your existing data.
- Train your nonprofit to use Luminate Online.
There are plenty of fundraising solutions available, so let’s find out if Luminate Online is the one for you!
1. Understand the Luminate Suite.
We said we’d start at square one, and we meant it! Before you can consider purchasing Luminate Online, your nonprofit needs to be fully confident in exactly what Luminate Online Marketing encompasses (and what features come at an extra price).
Let’s break down some specific questions you may have about Luminate Online:
What is Luminate Online Marketing?
Luminate Online Marketing (also simply called Luminate Online) is a cloud-based digital fundraising and marketing software solution. With tools for email management, online donations, event planning, eCommerce, and social media campaign management, this solution is a truly comprehensive, standalone fundraising tool.
Organizations can use Luminate Online Marketing for all of their fundraising needs. Plus, Luminate is fully customizeable, allowing nonprofits to create a system that fits their specific cause and fundraising strategy.
Does Luminate Online offer expansions?
Luminate online offers 3 add-ons to the core product:
- Luminate Advocacy, a tool that helps organizations build effective grassroots campaigns. Organizations that already have an advocacy strategy can enhance their campaigns with this tool by connecting advocates, collecting donations, and organizing petitions.
- Lumniate Content Management System, a product that allows organizations to manage their website to help engage supporters, drive donations, and improve the usability of your website.
- TeamRaiser, Luminate’s peer-to-peer platform that allows organizations to build custom fundraising pages.
With these solutions you’re able to develop a system that meets your needs completely.
Is Luminate CRM different than Luminate Online?
Luminate CRM is Blackbaud’s constituent management solution for nonprofits already using Salesforce as their primary CRM. For more details on how these products differ and work together, read Double the Donation’s helpful post on Luminate CRM.
With all of its features and configuration options, Luminate can adapt to meet your nonprofit’s fundraising needs in a number of ways. However, because Luminate is so comprehensive, it might be an overwhelming purchase for smaller nonprofits who need a marketing or fundraising solution that can help them get on the go quickly.
Small to mid-sized organizations would be better off finding a nonprofit CRM that can grow with them and accommodate their needs, without being weighed down by features and customizations that are really designed for enterprise-level organizations.
If that sounds more like your nonprofit, we recommend taking Fundly CRM for a test drive before considering Luminate Online.
In short, Luminate Online Marketing from Blackbaud is a highly versatile tool that can help large nonprofits manage communications, online donations, and reporting, with add-ons to enhance the product even more.
2. Determine Your Nonprofit’s Needs.
Now that you know what Luminate Online is, it’s time to start thinking about how this product can help you meet your goals as a nonprofit. After all, what good is fundraising software if it can’t help your organization raise funds for your cause?
Before you commit to software, you should work with your team to establish answers to questions such as:
- How does Luminate fit into your current fundraising strategy? What will you be using Luminate Online to do—accept donations, manage email campaigns, design web content, or something else entirely? Answering this question can help your team decide if you really need a product as expansive as Luminate or would be better off utilizing a more lightweight fundraising platform or nonprofit CRM.
- How many constituents do you intend to serve? Luminate Online can help you manage an unlimited number of supporters. While that’s a huge benefit for enterprise-level nonprofits, smaller organizations can just as easily take advantage of a less expensive solution that can still fit their constituency. Find software that will grow with you, but don’t waste money on an unnecessarily far-reaching tool.
- How complex are your nonprofit’s needs? Luminate Online was built to help nonprofits whose needs aren’t immediately met by simple online fundraising solutions. If your organization has particularly unique needs or goals, you can work with a nonprofit technology consultant to configure and customize Luminate to completely fit your nonprofit.
Once you know what gaps in your fundraising strategy could be filled by capable fundraising software, you can make an informed decision about whether or not Luminate Online is the solution best-equipped to help you do it.
In short, Luminate Online is intended for larger nonprofit organizations with complex needs and custom fundraising strategies.
3. Prepare Your Budget for Luminate Online.
Being such a comprehensive product, you can expect Luminate Online doesn’t come for free.
After you’ve familiarized yourself with Luminate’s feature set and decided that it’s the right solution to help you achieve your goals, you should start considering if you have room to fit a new solution of this scale into your organization’s budget.
As with any software, you’ll need to convince your board that Luminate Online is a wise investment. That means answering questions including:
- Can your nonprofit afford the initial cost of Luminate Online? As an enterprise product, Luminate Online is priced on a quote basis. You’ll need to contact Blackbaud to learn about pricing for your nonprofit. Remember—you should view this initial price tag as the starting line for total costs.
- Will you need to pay for add-ons? Integrations? In addition to the base product, you may also need to purchase Luminate Online add-ons to expand the feature set to meet your needs. Additionally, you might search for other Blackbaud or third-party integrations that each have their own costs as well as potential implementation fees.
- What training, migration, or other charges will you incur later on? We’ll explain what each of these areas might entail later on in this post, but keep in mind that you’ll likely be responsible for a variety of costs throughout the implementation process. For example, training and data migration are both essential parts of getting set up with your software, so you can’t ignore them when laying out your budget.
Many of the extraneous implementation costs can be accounted for when you hire a nonprofit technology consulting firm to help you implement Luminate Online. These invaluable professionals can help you with almost any need, from customization to general fundraising counsel. While bringing on their help requires a financial investment, their guidance can pay off in a big way later on once you’ve maximized your fundraising potential.
Bonus! Can’t afford Luminate Online yet? Don’t worry. There’s a wide range of low-cost or free fundraising solutions to meet your needs without breaking the bank. Check out @Pay’s top picks to get started!
In short, your nonprofit needs to consider the up-front price of Luminate Online as well as additional costs, such as bringing on a nonprofit web consultant to help your team prepare for and implement your new software.
4. Anticipate Integrations and Customizations Within Luminate.
One of Luminate Online’s great advantages is that it’s highly customizable to meet an assortment of nonprofit needs. That being the case, if you’re thinking about implementing Luminate into your fundraising strategy, you should anticipate certain configurations will be necessary to get the most out of your software.
If you’re used to using simpler fundraising platforms, this need for customization may come as an adjustment. And if your organization doesn’t have a robust IT team prepared to handle the development side of customization and integration, you’ll probably need the help of a consulting firm to design and implement all of the adjustments you need.
Take some time to decide what your customization strategy looks like by answering these questions:
- Will you need Blackbaud or third-party integrations? Blackbaud has an extensive product family, with options for virtually any fundraising need. Because they’re all from the same vendor, these integrations are less complicated than an outside platform. If you need a custom integration with a third-party solution, consider working with a nonprofit technology firm to ensure the two tools can compatibly work together.
- How will you customize your Luminate platform? With the right configurations, Luminate Online can accomplish anything your organization needs. Brainstorm with your team to determine which adjustments can help take your fundraising strategies to the next level. (Need inspiration? Check out some of the amazing examples of how nonprofit technology firm DNL Omni Media helped organizations customize their Luminate Online solutions.)
- Who will manage these configurations? Being able to mold your fundraising software to meet any need sounds unbelievable, so what’s the catch? You’ll need the help of a tech-savvy developer with experience configuring the Luminate system to build out these customizations. You can work with Blackbaud’s team or seek the help of a third-party web consultant to devise a plan for customizing your software.
Without customizations and integrations, you won’t be able to reap the full benefits of Luminate Online, so take some time to develop a plan for making this software your own.
In short, you can work with Blackbaud or a nonprofit web consultant to come up with custom solutions within your Luminate Online platform. Don’t forget to integrate your system with other Blackbaud products or implement custom integrations if needed.
5. Migrate Your Existing Data.
Now that you’ve decided that Luminate is the ideal fundraising solution, let’s discuss how you’ll go about implementing this software in the most effective way.
As you probably know, no fundraising software is complete until it’s powered by donor data. And donor data isn’t worthwhile unless it’s guaranteed to be accurate and complete!
What does that add up to? Basically, in order to use Luminate Online, you need to migrate your existing supporter data to your new system.
Before you transfer your data, make sure you have answers to these important questions:
- What’s your nonprofit’s plan for cleaning data? You don’t want to transfer information that’s incomplete or outdated, so you’ll need to clean up your data beforehand. Search for lapsed donors, out-of-date information, and duplicate profiles to start.
- Who will manage the data migration process? Large nonprofits have years’ worth of supporter information on file, so you might require some professional data transfer assistance from a consulting firm. On top of that, make sure you appoint a data migration manager to work with the consultant and spearhead the transfer on behalf of your team.
- How will you monitor data input going forward? To keep your data as clean as possible on a long-term basis, your staff should develop a well-documented process for inputting donor data. This will help you keep track of current best practices and clearly communicate your data entry policies to the entire team.
Without data, your fundraising software isn’t going to be very helpful. That’s why you should take the data migration process seriously and ensure you have a plan in place to manage the process from start to finish.
Bonus! Learn about Luminate data migration in great detail by reading this post from DNL Omni Media. As nonprofit technology consultants, their team knows their way around the Blackbaud product family, and they can help you prepare for your data migration with as little stress as possible.
In short, your nonprofit should plan to transfer your existing donor data from your old platform(s) to Luminate Online before you can implement your new software. You can work with a nonprofit consultant to ease the process and ensure no valuable information is lost.
6. Train Your Nonprofit Staff to Use Luminate Online.
The final step to implementing Luminate Online? Make sure your nonprofit knows how to use it!
For organizations just starting out with Luminate Online, it can be a complicated system to navigate. Just considering how much this software can do, it only makes sense that your organization would need a helping hand to get acquainted with the platform.
When it comes to training your staff on Luminate, consider these questions:
- Will you look to Blackbaud’s training team or work with a third-party consultant? Blackbaud offers defined training courses for their products, or you can seek out an independent web consulting firm to train your team. Depending on the services the consultant offers, they may also be able to work with you to develop customizations, plan out your fundraising strategy, and migrate your data, making them a one-stop shop for all the assistance you might need throughout the implementation process.
- Which members of your team will need to be trained? Any member of your team involved in fundraising and online marketing will need to understand your new software. Consider how you’ll make time in everyone’s schedules and how the training period will impact your ongoing fundraising campaigns or projects.
- What’s your nonprofit’s timeline for training your staff? You should work with your consultant or training team to put together an actionable training plan with specific benchmarks leading toward your goal. Make sure you’re covering the areas of the platform that are most pertinent to your everyday use, and don’t overwhelm your staff by cramming too much training into a short time frame.
Once you’re done with training, your entire team should feel confident with using Luminate Online to complete your fundraising objectives and propel your efforts forward.
In short, your staff won’t be able to manuever the many facets of Luminate Online without some outside help. Work with Blackbaud’s training team or an outside consultant to get your team up-to-speed on Luminate’s features.
Choosing new software is a big decision, with a number of considerations along the way. With our points in mind, your nonprofit should feel confident making Luminate Online a new part of your fundraising strategy!
For more insight into fundraising software, take a look at these additional resources:
- Luminate for Blackbaud: 5 Questions to Ask Before You Buy. If you’re still unsure if Luminate Online is right for you, let Double the Donation answer the most important questions you need to be asking about this software.
- Top Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Platforms. Learn which P2P platforms can help you supercharge your social fundraising endeavors. We’ve run through the best peer-to-peer software on the market to help you find the right fit for your nonprofit.
- Top Nonprofit Advocacy Software. Not quite ready for Luminate Online’s advocacy add-on? Check out these options to help you boost your outreach initiatives and win over supporters.
Fundly is dedicated to providing you with the tools you need to raise money for whatever your cause may be.