Australian fundraising and marketing agency, Donor Republic, recently partnered with NextAfter and Salesforce for an online ‘mystery shop’ of 630 charities across the world (including 80 Australian charities).

The results form the basis of a unique benchmarking report, The Global Online Fundraising Scorecard, which offers local not-for-profits the opportunity to measure their online fundraising efforts against a global standard.

Donor Republic say the report is a great opportunity for Australian charities of all sizes to reflect on ways they could improve their online fundraising by asking a few key questions. 

1. Is your website layout helping or hindering conversions?

A clean, simple, and distraction-free donation experience is vital for ensuring donors follow through with their intention to donate once they are on your website.

However, more than half of Australian charities involved in the survey offered multiple competing calls-to-action besides ‘donate’ on their fundraising pages.

By omitting distractions from the donation experience, an optimisation experiment found that charities could generate a whopping 340% more revenue over forms that were cluttered by outbound links to socials, website navigation links, and excessive fields. 

It’s worth considering what form fields are truly necessary on your donation form, from mandatory phone number collection (which is a big conversion killer) to address and date of birth.

2. Are your value propositions clear?

Value propositions are at the heart of all fundraising. And yet, when it comes to the online giving experience, it is common for value propositions to be either not clearly expressed, or simply not present at all.

In fact, only 40% of Australian charities surveyed were reported to have a ‘strong’ CTA on their donation page. By simply adding a clear and visible value proposition to the donation page, revenue was shown to increase by up to 150%.

3. Do your default settings encourage one-off or regular gifts?

The global mystery shop found that online forms which preselected regular giving by default generated 367% more recurring gifts – but almost 70% of Australian donation forms preselected one-off donations by default.

Consider whether your forms are asking donors to opt in or out of regular giving, and whether the messaging around these options is strong enough to make the case for a regular commitment.

Providing a reason to give monthly led to an almost 50% increase in new recurring donors, something only a quarter of Australian charities surveyed were currently doing. And even simply including a fairly generic statement (eg, “Your monthly gift will allow [charity] to help more people every month”) can lead to an increase in donors committing to a regular gift.

4. Do your online forms actually work?

It might sound obvious, but when push came to shove, 17.5% of Australian online forms tested hit technical errors. And when a technical error causes a website to fail, you don’t get the donation. It’s that simple.

Don’t let tech issues get in the way of your fundraising – make sure you’re regularly testing all your online forms.

5. Are you following up well?

More than a quarter of organisations didn’t send a single email in the three months following email subscription – and 17% didn’t email donors in the same period after receiving a donation.

Sending an email to thank the donor for their gift or confirm their subscription establishes the email channel as your mode for communicating with donors. Organisations that followed up with an onboarding email journey during the first 14 days after a donation was made enjoyed higher open and click rates over the long term.

Almost three quarters of Australian charities didn’t present any next step to new email subscribers, however the experiment found that doing so generates 349% more donation revenue!

This is just the tip of the iceberg. While these five questions are a great place to start, The Global Online Fundraising Scorecard is a treasure trove of information for charities that are serious about improving their online fundraising results.

Download your copy at www.globalonlinefundraising.com and access benchmark data on a country-by-country basis, examples of donation pages and emails from organisations around the world, and real experiments with charities who have made small changes and seen big results. 

Lachlan Dale is the Digital Strategy Director at Donor Republic.

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