Using your website to raise funds

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    Using your website to raise
    Aim: With over 1.5 billion people regularly accessing the internet globally, making the most of
    your website is more important than ever. This guide has been produced to offer some tips and
    advice about how to use your website as an effective addition to your fundraising strategy.

Using your website to effectively raise funds
Your website presents your organisation to a wide and diverse audience. Use this
opportunity to excite, inspire and motivate the reader. Don’t think of your website as a
dumping ground for all your organisational information think about it as a potential tool to
attract supporters to your cause, and enable the wide community of web users and
browsers to help you to achieve your goals.

Before updating your website fundraising messages or hiring volunteers and web experts to
develop your site, be clear about what you are hoping to achieve, and how you are going to
do this.

        Think about who your website is for, why anyone will want to visit it, what
             information will they want and what do you want from this site.

Do your research

Start by looking at other websites. Not just the big INGOs you know, but other local and
national NGOs and other animal welfare or conservation organisations in your region and
globally. Start thinking about what you like about these websites, and where you think they
are successful in getting their messages across and asking for support.

Now think about your website

As you do your research, start thinking about what you want from your own website. What
do you want to communicate to the reader and what do you want to achieve from these
pages. Most importantly, start thinking about what you specifically need funds for and how
you will communicate this need.

The design

This is your opportunity to reach large numbers of people with very little effort. Make the
most of it!
■ Keep the site simple, do not use lots of flashing and chaotic images or fonts, try not to
    overwhelm people.
■ Think carefully about the font you use and the colour schemes. These should reflect and
    complement your logo and images you already use in your communications.
■ Remember your brand. Think about how people think about you, both internally and
    externally. As an organisation you [should] have decided, based on your vision and
    values, how you would like to be perceived, for example; kind, effective, caring,
    professional, credible, rational, brave, bold, pioneering? Use these values to determine
    how you phrase your communications, what key messages you employ, and even how
    you engage with supporters.
■ Think about the photos and images you use. Don’t use too many, and make sure that,
    as with your leaflets and flyers, the photos tell a story and illustrate your work.
■ The photos, pictures and images you use to represent your organisation can have a lot
    more impact then you may realise. This is especially true as your fundraising activities
    increase and your organisation becomes better known.
■   Use your brand to determine what kind of images you will use, but also bear in mind that
    as an animal welfare organisation, you will regularly come across shocking stories of
    cruelty. How you represent these cases to your funders is important for how your
    organisation will be perceived by donors generally.
■   Presenting the full and shocking images could lead to people responding to the shock
    and not the message, you could also alienate potential donors, who will be upset and
    not inspired by these shock tactics. However employing only soft, cuddly images of
    animals is not necessarily realistic or effective either.
■   You should also be realistic about what is happening. Your images should represent the
    true situation. You also need to decide what you actually want to achieve with the
    image. Do you want people talking or long term donors?
■   The image needs to demonstrate the need, and tie in with the specific ask you are
    making. Do not make the situation seem hopeless, nor make it seem that everything is
    under control or underplay the situation.
■   In order to decide how you will represent your organisation through your images, think of
    your brand and be consistent.
■   Above all make the site easy to read and navigate.

The content

■   Share your inspiring vision. Make it easy for readers to understand why you exist.
■   Clearly communicate your need. Your audience need to grasp what the problem is.
■   Use compelling stories about your work and case studies to show the reader how you
    aim to achieve your vision and so they can see the impact that your work is having.
■   Generally, avoid putting internal presentations and documents on the website. If readers
    are interested in finding out more use a Frequently Asked Questions page or attach
    PDFs. Do not overload the reader with too much information.
■   Don’t lose the personal contact altogether. Put staff and volunteer photos up on the
    website and introduce yourselves to readers. Make it easy for people to get in touch
    with you with any concerns or questions they might have. Include email addresses as
    well as phone numbers.
■   The average person spends about 45 seconds on each web page in their 25 hours a
    month of browsing. So you do not have long to make an impact, but you can do it!

Now ‘the ask’

You may not have long to inspire someone enough to reach for their wallet but a “donate
now” button is not enough.

You should use your entire website to connect with the reader (and potential donor). Show
them in various ways how a donation from them will make a different to the animals you

However they found your website, they are reading it because they are interested in what
you are saying, don’t waste this opportunity by forgetting to involve them, and show them
how they can be an important part of your work.

Spell out to the reader how much they should donate and what kind of impact they could
have. Use images that show your work and the impact your work has to back up these

Give your potential supporters options; promote your membership scheme or any
fundraising activities or events you are organising, advertise your merchandise or underline
any other ways that the reader can financially support your organisation

If there are other ways the reader could help then outline the options here - perhaps you
have a volunteer scheme or need expertise in specific areas or need gifts in kind.


Give them examples

Show stories of real donors, and how their donations have had an impact, include
testimonials, of why people have helped and what they got out of it. Don’t forget to say
thank you… to those thinking about making a donation, those clicking through to the
donation pages and of course those who have already donated.

      Should you be in any doubt of the effectiveness of the web to raise funds then
    consider that in February last year, Barack Obama’s campaign raised $55 million -
     $45 million of this was raised over the internet. “The money just came rolling in”
         (The Atlantic, ‘The amazing money machine’ June 2008, Joshua Green)

Update the site

Keep your website up to date; refresh your activities, and your fundraising messages.
Change your work case studies every month or two. An easy way to refresh a website
without changing everything is to provide a feature area on the home page for a short article
and photo of something new at your organisation. A preview of an upcoming event; an
update of a fundraising campaign; a heart warming story of a client helped; a profile of a
long-time donor. These can all be slotted in at regular intervals while the bulk of your site
stays basically the same.

There is no point putting time and money into developing and updating your website or
fundraising pages if you are not promoting your site. Use your web address on all your
   communications, in any interviews you give or on any merchandise you produce.

Your checklist

■   Nicely presented, welcoming page
■   Clear outline of the need and your solution
■   Varied options of how the reader can donate (and contribute to the solution)
■   A suggestion of the amounts the reader should give
■   An indication of how the supporters donation will help
■   A thank you


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