At HEPdata we have helped our 7,000+ non-profit clients improve their online giving.  There are a few critical but easy steps any size non-profit can take to make their web site and on-line giving page user friendly for their donors.

The first thing I do when a client tells me they are looking for ways to improve their on-line giving is to look at their home page. Taking a quick look at their home page can be very telling. Below are six quick tips to improve your on-line giving experience for your donors.


One click rule:

The one thing I want to prominently see on a non-profit homepage is a “donate now” or “give now button prominently displayed.” It should take your donors ONE click from your home page to get to your on-line giving form. This sounds obvious but you would be surprised how often I have to hunt to find the on-line giving page. If a donor wants to make a gift, don’t frustrate them by having them click three times to get to your donation page.


Keep the on-line giving form simple:

There is much debate on the number of fields that should be included on the on-line giving page. I don’t have an exact answer but my belief is less is more. Having a simple and clean on-line giving page goes a long way. A lot of this depends on your specific non-profit. Higher-Ed typically has many scholarship and campaign options for donors to choose from so the page can be very detailed. A smaller non-profit can go with a simpler on-line giving page. You want to ask for the basic donor information but don’t get bogged down with too many fields. Review your on-line giving page. Are there any fields that you can do without?


Give you donors a compelling reason to donate:

Tell a story about your organization. What do the donations support and what impact does it have on your organization. Don’t just make it a transaction for your donor. You want to engage your donor and make it personal. Clemson University does a phenomenal job of sharing stories with their donors. Reading moving stories of students and faculty is a great way to communicate how donors change lives.


Use video to thank your donors:

Nothing is more powerful than hearing how donations impact the non-profit. This video by the George Mason University is a great example because donors see and hear how the university has improved through their generous gifts. This is a great way to engage donors visually and emotionally. It personalizes the gift and takes away from feeling transactional. Make sure there is a share button on the video so donors can share with friends.


Same rules apply for social media

Make it easy for your donors to donate through Facebook and social media. Have a custom tab on your Facebook page which takes them directly to your on-line giving form. In addition, make sure you have a share button so your donors can share with their friends that they support your non-profit. Consider adding impact videos as part of the thank you on your Facebook page. Don’t underestimate the power of the number of likes or shares your Facebook receives. If your non-profit isn’t on Facebook you are missing a huge opportunity to promote your cause.


Ask your donors to have their donation matched:

Ask your donors if their gift will be matched by their employer but don’t make the mistake of telling them to check with their HR department. Many people don’t know what a matching gift is and have no time to research if their employer offers a matching gift program. Please make it easy for them by adding the HEPdata E-Match Donor Link to your website. This links your donor to our matching gift database and will instantly verify if their gift is match eligible. James Madison University does an outstanding job of explaining matching gifts and giving their donors the information and tools to have their gift matched.


Be accountable and transparent:

On-line financial transactions are commonplace but people still need to be assured that your organization has taken the appropriate steps to ensure their information is secure and that their donations are used wisely.  The Nature Conservancy does a great job of reassuring their donors through their Codes and Ethics page. Please note in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 the Ethisphere Institute named The Nature Conservancy one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies.

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If you can implement these simple steps you will build a strong relationship with your donors. You want your donors to be engaged so they are more likely to give in the future. This is about making that one time donor into a life time donor.

For questions or more information, please visit, email or call 800.681.4438. We would be happy to help you analyze your current matching gift strategies. We also have an extensive collection of matching gift marketing strategies to review online in our Learning Center.

Seven Steps to Improve On-line Giving