Five to Ways to Achieve Above-Average Online Giving From Your Website Visitors

Membership, Social/Mobile, digital revenue

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by Dick McPherson, CEO, newdonorstrategies.com

Thousands of visitors find your station’s website looking for content, information or occasionally a way to show support. The percent of visitors who contribute during their visit is a key benchmark of online fundraising success. For public radio stations, outside of a membership drive, this percentage tends to be very low. But there are some simple things we as fundraisers can do to increase the number of visitors who join or donate.

Goal: Your website should convert over 0.6% of your website visitors to complete a gift.


This benchmark comes from national studies of nonprofit sites, data from NPR and stations, and station interviews.

Many stations aren’t achieving this conversation rate. How is your station performing?

If you don’t know what your conversation rate is, use this formula:

Conversion of website visitors to donors = total number of gifts made using your online giving forms ÷ total unique visitors for a year.

If you’re converting less than 0.6% of your visitors, it may mean that not enough people are finding or visiting your online giving form. Or if they do find it, they may not find it persuasive or easy to use.

Here’s what to focus on to hit those above-average conversion rates:

1. Make sure your forms are mobile-responsive.

The majority of email is now read on mobile phones; many stations receive over half their web visits from mobile devices. When people find your online giving form on their mobile device, it’s vital that it be phone-friendly.

2. Make sure your DONATE button goes straight to a giving page.

Don’t divert your visitors to a page describing the ways to give. Just give them what they’ve asked for! Some stations prefer to call the button JOIN/GIVE. You can test this, but make sure the button is prominent in its placement and color; it should not blend into your page design.

3. Institute a donation lightbox during member drives and at the calendar year-end.

The lightbox should appear on your homepage. Stress a match or challenge if you have one. (Some stations do this but take down the lightbox on December 24-25, and restart December 26-31.) Make sure that a click on your lightbox goes straight to an online giving form, not an explanation of ways to give.

If someone at your station says they don’t like lightboxes, remind them that such techniques generate double-digit increases in online giving without causing visitors to leave the site.

4. Check your form completion rate.

This is the number of people visiting a giving form who actually complete a gift. A low completion rate means you may have a problem not with getting visitors to your forms, but with their completing the gift when they arrive.

5. See which pages people visited on your site before going to your form.

Google Analytics will show you where people are coming from when they visit your donation page. You may need to test more prominent fundraising promotion, image, or messaging on those previously-visited pages.

Here’s another secret…

These are just 5 of 143 specific, easy-to-use digital fundraising tips and tests that will help your station raise more money through your website, email, and social media channels.

They’re all part of our Online Revenue Detector, a speedy 12-question quiz for Greater public members that generates customized recommendations for your station based on where you fall in the digital fundraising landscape. There’s always something you can do to increase your digital fundraising.

Want to know…

  • How to make your email fundraising appeals more effective?
  • How to generate even more sustainer giving?
  • How to effectively engage your non-member e-subscribers?

If you’re a Greater Public member, you can start the quiz now, and start putting our tips to use to detect your potential to increase your online revenue!

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