Donations: Your Request for Support

If you’re following this thread about writing copy for seeking donations on your charity website, today we consider your request for support.  You will have read so far about the need to write about your charity’s

and with these your pitch for donations will be ready for a response from your visitors.  In what follows, I shall assume you are not seeking a single donation. If  you have someone’s email address, it means they are interested in your cause and if they don’t pay today, they may be persuaded later if you can keep in touch with them.

List First,  Donation Second

Most organisations ask visitors to sign up so they can build a long-term relationship with them.   You can ask them to (1) donate (and add them to your list), or (2) join your list, trusting they’ll make donations in the future.  Your list is actually more important than a one-off donation and so you will need to be clear about what you want your visitors to do.  This is where you may need to talk to a consultant.

This type of page is sometimes called a squeeze page and there are a number of things you need on it.  It is essential the page is not cluttered.  You want visitors to sign up to your list and possibly donate.  Their only alternative is to navigate away.  The term ‘squeeze page’ implies you are forcing a decision.

Your Squeeze Page

  • a heading that clearly states what you want them to do.
  • to explain why visitors should leave their email address, show them the benefits of staying in touch and say there will be no spam or  details shared with third parties.
  • to explain how donations can be made (if applicable), perhaps offering alternatives to online donations.  You will need to provide evidence their payment method is secure and you are who you say you are.
  • to add an offer to your request.  So, this might be more information about your cause, photos of projects or a bulletin about progress.  The last is particularly helpful and I will explore it in more detail in my next post.  It’s worth considering an online product with a donation.  People may be more inclined to donate if they get something in return.  This is something you would need to consult about and I’ll discuss it in more detail in another post.
  • a form.  This will include details such as name and email address and then if applicable some means to collect donations online.  You may also need to collect information for gift aid.  Keep the form as short as possible.  Long forms put people off but if they have decided to donate they will expect to provide essential details.  There is always space to explain why you need particular information.
  • to finish with a button that takes them to a new page on your website via their chosen means of payment, if applicable.  I’ll write about the final page next time.

What is about a website that makes you trust it?  What do you find confirms your confidence in their bona fides or makes you suspicious?

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About the Author

I've been a community development worker since the early 1980s in Tyneside, Teesside and South Yorkshire. I've also worked nationally for the Methodist Church for eight years supporting community projects through the church's grants programme. These days I am developing an online community development practice combining non-directive consultancy, strategic management, participatory methods and development work online and offline. If you're interested contact me for a free consultation.

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