In our experience, one of the biggest psychological obstacles a non-profit must overcome is simply asking supporters for donations. Most non-profits (certainly the ones we work with at LDMI) are run by good, hard-working, dedicated people. Over time, they see the supporters of their non-profits as more than just donors. They see them as friends. And most people don't like to ask their friends for money.
But once that obstacle is overcome, another problem rears its head. I think we can describe this as impatience. If they are going to ask their supporters for financial support through something like email, they want to give those potential donors every chance to donate easily and quickly. These are certainly good instincts. Making the donation process simple is essential. No one is going to go through step after step to give $25 or $100 or even $1000 dollars. When they decide to give, they want to give quickly.
“Decide” is the key word in that last statement.
The question we should be asking here is not how do we make giving easier and quicker (that comes later) but how do we help the potential donor “decide” to give? Patience, on our part, is essential in the decision part of the process.
A dedicated landing page is a great way to do this.
You can imagine the process. Someone receives an email from a organization they have supported in the past. The email tells the donor about a specific problem the organization is facing and how they hope to overcome that problem. (Say the organization is fighting a famine in a worn-torn area.) The email is well-written and to the point. In the email, there is a clear “click here to donate” button. It seems obvious that button should take the reader directly to a donation page. And there they will donate.
But this is not the case. Those links should take the reader to a dedicated landing page, where the donor has the opportunity to learn more about the project and donate. (Click here to see the case study).
LDMI ran a test over several months with one of our medium-sized non-profits. In each case, regardless of the content, the Test Case with a dedicated landing page out performed the Test Case with email that linked directly to a donation page.
Your donors are not impulsive. They are intelligent people who give to your cause because they believe in it. And they give because they are attracted to the work you do. If they give to a famine relief project it is because, they have, for some very personal reason, an affinity for such work. Knowing this, you should not hide that work, but rather let the people know exactly what you are doing.
And an email is not enough. Emails need to be short and to the point. If they click, it is more likely because they want to learn more, not give (or at least not yet).
This provides you with an important opportunity. You can provide a short video from someone on the ground, or pictures of the work you are doing and/or the people you are helping. You can, and should, give more detail about why the work is important, and where their donations are going.
Essentially, the landing page helps the potential donor commit to the project by moving and inspiring the donor. Do not shy away from this opportunity. Rather work hard to give the donors one last opportunity to learn about the project, and tell them very clearly, in the best possible way, what that project is.
And remember test different landing pages and avenues to donation. Non-profit organizations are all different, with a different subscriber base. Some may be so familiar with the work that the landing page is overkill. Our experience tells us otherwise (for most organizations), but regardless test it out and figure out what works best for your non-profit.
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