Instead of answering one of your questions, I thought I might ask you a question instead. Last week, I wrote about giving levels [defunct link removed] and how you can use giving levels to influence donation amounts. I think there’s a few more ways to influence donor behavior.
We know that most participants don’t personalize their webpage and majority of those that do simply add a picture. I can’t tell you how many event websites I’ve visited where the text on the personal page is: “Thank you for making a donation to XX organization.” Since most participants aren’t taking the time to share their story, let use this opportunity to educate donors.
Personal pages are the most viewed pages by potential donors. Potential donors didn’t just happen upon your event site. They visited because they received an email with a link to a personal page, they saw a facebook status update that took them to a personal page or maybe a tweet is responsible for their visit. Here’s the bottom line – The personal page is the most important page on your event site and it’s often the most over looked.
Take some time to develop thoughtful text about your cause, mission, and organization. While surfing the event sites, I’ve seen some good text on personal pages with educational and inspiring messages. Now, take it one step further and add a suggested donation amount to the personal page text. Ask donors to give $40. Tell them why $40 is important and how it can help. My suggestion is to have the donation ask amount front and center on the personal page.
If you’re thinking this is a little to bold for your organization. Here’s the question you should ask yourself: Why is this individual on this page? Answer: to make a donation! Make it easy for donors who experience what I call donor freeze. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve visited a personal page after receiving an email, spent 20 minutes trying to figure out how much to give (I didn’t want to look cheap), then ended up leaving the page before making a donation because I couldn’t decide on an amount. Seriously, I wish everyone would just tell me what I should give. It would eliminate a lot of the internal “what to give” debate. I can’t be the only one who’s experienced donor freeze.
In addition, to the personal pages include an ask amount in your donation solicitation templates. It can be a simple sentence “Will you give $40 dollars to help me reach my goal?” We often encourage participants to include an ask about in their communications, but I’m willing to bet most don’t include an ask.
My final thought on the subject is be consistent. The ask amount on personal pages should be the same as in the email templates. To come up the ask amount that fits your event; look at last year’s average online gift, median online gift and mode online gift. These three amounts will give you an idea of the proper suggested donation. Remember, the goal here is to influence the $25 donor to give more.