A 2013 online survey by Google and Millward Brown Digital says holiday-related donation searches begin early—as soon as August. For nonprofits in the full swing of Christmas-season donation season, late summer and early fall is no doubt a busy time.
According to the survey findings, here are 4 digital ways nonprofits can capture more Christmas-season donors:
1. Start early. The survey reported that between August and September, there was a 30% increase in donation-related searches. Donors spend about 2 weeks researching, and they research across nonprofits’ websites before deciding where to give.
2. Have an excellent online presence. 75% of donors use online resources to look for information including:
a. Nonprofits’ websites (54%)
b. Search engines (48%)
c. Social action network sites (48%)
d. Social networking sites (46%)
e. Consumer review sites (42%)
f. Video (37%)
Donors also said these methods are most useful for researching nonprofits. To understand a nonprofit’s impact, donors turn primarily to the nonprofit’s website first, then online video then search engines.
For these reasons and the reason that donors start their research early, your nonprofit must create great content and implement search engine optimization (SEO) well in advance—at least six months in advance. In reality, a strong content marketing and SEO strategy will be one that is ongoing.
3. Video ads pay off. 80% of donors agreed that video ads were most useful when researching. 39% of donors researched a nonprofit within 24 hours of seeing an online video ad. 57% made a donation after viewing an online video. YouTube is the #1 site where donors watch videos about nonprofits.
Video is a highly effective method for communicating stories and championing for the people you serve. It doesn’t have to be an expensive and complicated endeavor. In fact, start with Facebook Live video. Or Periscope. Show a behind-the-scenes look about the work your nonprofit is doing. Or share a story of someone you’re serving if you’re able to. Or interview a staff member about their work and what it means to them and the people you’re serving. If you’re not creating video yet, start thinking seriously about it.
4. Make sure people can easily donate via mobile. 40% of donors compared reviews using a mobile device. And the data is clear: donations via mobile device—typically mobile browser—are increasing.
Right now, go through your own website on your mobile device as if you were looking from a donor’s perspective. How easy is it to find information about your nonprofit’s impact? How well does video play on mobile? Is it clunky or fast loading? How quickly can you get to the donate button? If you’re able, actually go through the process of making a minimal donation on your mobile. Is the process seamless? Or are there many frustrating steps a donor must take in order to make a donation? The more seamless and quickly people can donate on your mobile site, the better.