Last year $358 billion was given in the United States and roughly 10% of that came through online channels. For those doing the math, last year’s opportunity was $35.8 billion in gifts. Although that sounds like a staggering number, the percentage of funds raised online is expected to triple over the next few years. This makes online a big priority amongst savvy fundraisers.

Making a gift used to mean writing a check and mailing it in. However, the number of checks written in the US since the year 2000 has declined from 42.5 billion to just over 18.3 billion, according to the federal reserve’s latest study in 2012. Are your donors writing checks because they really want to or because you haven’t given them a great online experience?

According to a survey by Decision Analyst, 74% of nonprofits say their online giving experience needs improvement. So, the chances are you’re here because you realize a change needs to be made… now its time to position this to the board and get them to invest in technology. I know that’s a scary thought for some of you, but it doesn’t have to be. This six-step guide below will help prepare you for the board, so you can equip your organization to grow in the future.

1. Know where you stand

The first question that will always be asked is “why should we make a change?” First and foremost, you should know where you currently stand online to understand why you need to make a change. There are 4 data points you should know so that you can be prepared to answer that question.

  • How many people come to your website (traffic)?
  • How many of those people give (conversion rate)?
  • When they give, what is the average gift amount (average gift)?
  • How much are we raising online currently (revenue)?

Having the ability to compare your organization to industry averages is the best starting point. This will make it easier to show your board why it’s important to improve these metrics. Without data behind the specific places you can improve, it’s going to be very hard to convince your board that there is a problem to begin with. On average, you should be driving 6,000 people per month to your website, converting 4% of those to gifts, with an average gift amount of around $100.

If you’re unsure of where you stand, plug your metrics in here to find out.

2. Pick the right solution based on the following criteria

When presenting your decision to the board, make sure you have some data behind why your choice is the best one. Here are some things to look for:

  1. Embeddable donation form – Sending donors to a third party landing page to make a gift increases the abandonment rate by 6 times. Please, please, please- keep your donor on your website! A giving form that honors your domain is also proven to raise average gift size by 38%.
  2.  Optimized for mobile – Google says 60% of all web traffic comes from a mobile device (yet 80% of giving pages are not optimized for mobile.)
  3. Flexibility to place your form on any social media platform – 55% of donors follow a charity on social media. Make sure you can expose them to your giving form wherever they are.
  4. Corporate matching capability – $10 billion went unmatched last year. Find a solution that allows you to easily capture this revenue stream.
  5. Easy to use for the donor and for the administrator – Friction in the donation process is the number one killer of online gifts. Fewer steps, fewer clicks, and less confusion lead to more gifts.
  6. Ability to run campaigns – Give yourself the ability to run and easily track where donors give so you know where you should spend additional marketing dollars.
  7. Text to Give – donations from text have increased 205% over the last year.

3. Prepare an expected ROI

You don’t make an investment without understanding what it will provide in return do you? Of course not, and your board members won’t either. Make sure you thoroughly understand your organization’s metrics back in point number 1. Do some math around increasing each of these and see what it can do for your bottom line revenue number. Even a moderate uptick in any of these metrics can have a significant impact. The monthly increase in revenue minus the cost of the platform is your return on investment. If this number is greater than what you are getting now, document the comparison and prepare an ROI handout for your board.

4. Understand the factors that will result in more online revenue

A recent survey done by Decision Analyst shows that the top priority among nonprofits is increasing fundraising; however, moving fundraising online, enabling fundraisers and improving technology are at the bottom of the list. What we need to realize is that those items at the bottom of the list are key components to increasing fundraising as our world is rapidly evolving from offline to online.

5. Have a roadmap and implementation plan

In the previous point, the last thing your board wants is for a technology project to distract the organization from its focus. Whatever solution you choose, make sure you have a well thought out plan as to how you will implement it. A plan includes detailed information and timeline for things like training and marketing. Work with the provider you have chosen to fully understand the involvement that will be needed from your staff and make sure you have it in writing. How many hours will be required from you? What will the provider do for you? What is your target go-live date and what are the steps needed to hit that target? After going live, what is your plan and what resources will be provided by your partner to make sure the new technology is successful? Having answers to all of these questions will put your board member’s minds at ease and will make it look like you really have it together – and who doesn’t want to look good in front of their board?

6. Be passionate

Ever heard the phrase “It’s not about what you say but how you say it?” I truly believe this holds more value than we think. When you present, be on fire about it. If you don’t exude confidence and passion about this new direction, neither will your board. If you are still unsure this is the right direction for your organization, do some further research. The biggest mistake you can make is presenting to your board members with doubt in your mind. Trust the statistics, trust the partner you are working with and most of all trust yourself and your staff that you have the ability to make it a success.

If you’re ready to optimize your online giving, sign up for a consultation with one of our optimization experts by filling out the form below: