When you use an online donation platform, your main goal is donor retention. The average organization sees a donor retention rate of 43%, with 27% being first-time donor retention and 70% repeat donor retention. That means 7 out of 10 first-time donors don’t donate again after their initial donation. The right online donation tool can lower that number, saving you costs on acquiring new donors.

Learn more about the different ways you can make the most out of your online donation platform to increase your donor retention rate, saving your organization valuable investment costs.

How to make the most of your online donation tools

Some ways you can make the most of your online donation platform include:

1. Make online donations simple

You want to make donating easy for donors, or else they may quickly lose interest. Make donating simple by integrating your donation form directly onto your platform. Put your donation form at the top of your donation page so your donors don’t have to navigate to find it. Make your “how-to” clear, outlining a few donation options and simple instructions without fluffy language.

It’s better to have your donation form on your online donation tool than a second platform, like PayPal, because you can navigate the customer journey more easily. You want your donors to stay on your online donation platform as long as possible. By clicking away to PayPal, you may be inadvertently encouraging them to end their journey.

On your donation page, make sure there aren’t many other opportunities to leave. When donors first enter your platform, it’s okay to give them a navigation bar. But if they reach your donation page, you know they want to donate, so give them strictly donation options with little other navigation opportunities.

2. Customize your “thank-you” page

Where do you virtually send your donors after they’ve submitted their donation form? Likely, they’re sent to a donation page, where they read a quick “thank-you” and carry on with their day. Not many organizations take advantage of this thank-you page as well as they could.

Instead of sending donors to an automated page, send them to a customized thank-you page that continues their journey with your organization. Add value to your thank-you page by telling donors exactly where their donation is going, directing them to a video, encouraging them to read your new blog post — or, even better, inspiring them to sign up for easier monthly donations.

3. Intertwine omnichannel marketing

The word “channel” refers to any medium you use to talk with your customers. Some examples of channels you may already be using are your platform, email, blog posts, social media, and YouTube channel. Omnichannel marketing encourages users to bounce around between channels, interacting with your organization in multiple ways and making deeper connections.

On your platform and thank-you page, there should be call-to-actions (CTAs) that encourage your donors to take action. For example, your donation button is a CTA, as it encourages people to donate. Include other omnichannel marketing CTAs, too, like signing up for emails or following you on social media. This consistent exposure acts as a constant reminder for donors to keep donating because they see your messages on a daily, every other-day, or weekly basis rather than a one-time visit to your platform.

Go mobile

4. Go mobile

By the mid-2020s, there will be over 6 billion active smartphone users around the world. People are constantly on their phones — browsing for 2 to 5 hours a day, touching an average of 2,617 times, unlocking around 110 times. If it isn’t already, make sure your platform is responsive.

A responsive platform is a platform that is fluid between different screen sizes and devices. It ensures your users get a consistent experience across desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets, and more. Being responsive is just the first step. You also want to incorporate other marketing strategies like sending “thank-you” text messages to your donors or updates on how their donation is making an impact. Overall, ensure you don’t bombard donors with too many notifications.

5. See what’s working and check your analytics

See what’s working and, more importantly, what’s not. Create a starting point by looking at your current analytics, examining your:

  • Users: The number of unique users that visit your webpage.
  • Sessions: One user can have multiple sessions throughout the week or month. Record the number of times someone has a full journey on your webpage.
  • Pageviews: A single session can have multiple page views. The higher the number, the more your user is seeing on your webpage. So, the higher the number, the better.
  • Bounce rate: A “bounce” is when a user leaves your webpage without interacting with it. The lower the bounce rate, the better.
  • Exit rate: Exit rates happen whenever a user doesn’t bounce, but still leaves your webpage. Each page will have its own exit rate, as it’s dependent on the page the user leaves on.
  • Average session duration: This shows you how long the average user spends on your platform, calculated by dividing total session time by the total number of sessions.
  • New vs. returning users: There are two groups, returning and new users. These analytics show you how well you’re attracting new donors and retaining existing donors.
  • Behavior flow: Shines a light on what your users are doing when they visit your platform If you notice people gravitating towards the same page, you know that’s what they’re interested in.

As you make changes to your online donation platform, make sure you’re tracking how these analytics change. This will help you more accurately target your user’s preferences and keep them coming back for more information.

Things to keep in mind when choosing an online donation platform

To make the most out of the tips and strategies outlined above, you need the right online donation platform. Things to keep in mind when selecting the right online donation tool to meet your fundraising goals are:

  • Ease of use: You don’t want an online donation platform that’s confusing for you to use, because odds are, your donors will find it confusing. When donating is confusing, it deters donations. Choose a straightforward platform that does the hard work for you.
  • Other nonprofits trust and use it: Find an online donation platform that has a proven track record. That way, the odds are high that you’ll benefit from the platform, too. Plus, you’ll know exactly what to expect.
  • Effectiveness at raising funds: Tied in with the platform’s proven track record, see what kind of results the online donation tool generated for other nonprofits. This adds to the platform’s reliability and makes you more likely to receive the same benefits.

Discover GiveSmart's seamless online fundraising software

Discover GiveSmart’s seamless online fundraising software

GiveSmart generates billions for nonprofits across the country with our user-friendly software. Our online donation platform allows you to run fundraising programs, where you can easily encourage and direct donors to donate, bid, and participate in activities. We have a responsive mobile design, keeping your donors engaged across many platforms.

Learn more about how we can help you generate a high ROI by requesting a demo today. It’s easy, requiring only a few minutes of your time to answer some basic questions.

Brandon Stec is the Director of Marketing at GiveSmart and an Indiana University graduate who's worked across sports and tech over the last decade. Brandon has sat on several boards of Nonprofits in Chicago and Kansas City. He resides in Chicago with his wife, son, and dog, Mango, and is a published author.
Brandon Stec