The lifeblood of nonprofit organizations are the donations that flow in from people who support your cause. Donors come in all types and donate in all sorts of ways. How do you optimize your website for the people connecting with you online who have an intent to give you money? This guide will show you how.

We’re going to cover:

  • The types of donors who visit the website
  • 4 personas and how to optimize the website for them
  • The three themes in serving donors online


Types Of Donors Visiting Your Website

Many people come to your website every day. Some are potential participants, others are volunteers. Some are partners or sponsors or potential partners. Some of these people are potential donors and past donors who want to donate again. These are the people we’re talking about today. Below, we will introduce 4 donor personas. Each is interested in donating to your organization for a different reason and in a different way. For each persona, we provide guidance on how to help them easily donate to your organization through your website.


Website Donor Persona #1: Kirk

Description: Kirk Learned about your organization from a friend and is considering a donation. Before he donates, he wants to find out more about the programs offered, the organization size, and what help is needed.

How To Help Kirk Donate:

  • Information on the mission, programs, and scale
  • Pictures & info on the board and officers
  • Downloadable 990
  • Quotes from sponsors, partners, and celebrities
  • A prominent DONATE button on the top of the page that is highlighted in color

Website Donor Persona #2: Lana

Description: Lana participated in one of your programs about five years ago and really enjoyed the experience. She has been wanting to donate for a while and never got around to it. Now she is on your website, ready to donate with a credit card.

How To Help Lana:

  • A prominate DONATE button goes straight to payment page
  • A donation page that accepts a credit card
  • A donation page that has few distractions (i.e. no menus)
  • Emailed as well as printable receipt / thank you letter

Website Donor Persona #3: Alante

Description: Alante knows about your organization and the good that you do. She wants to setup a monthly donation. When she arrives at your donate page, she realizes that she has some questions.

How To Help:

  • An easy-to-find phone number is on the donation page
  • Someone to answer the phone who can answer questions about your tax status, donation process, & thank you letters
  • Use a donation platform that supports recurring donations

Website Donor Persona #4: Levi

Description: Levi knows about your organization and wants to donate from his monthly paycheck using the donation matching program at his work.

How To Help:

  • Provide your tax ID, formal name, an email and, the organization mailing address on on the foundation information page and the donate page
  • Place your phone number prominently on your website
  • Take the setup actions sent to you via email from workplace giving companies

The 3 Themes For Your Website

When you look across these four potential donor personas there are three themes. You want to focus on these themes as you improve your website:

  1. A simple, easy to find DONATE button at the top of the page. The button takes the visitor to a simple and effective donation page
  2. Placing contact information on the donation page that goes straight to someone who can answer questions
  3. A foundation page the builds trust and helps donors get information about your organization

Action, Action, Action!

Now is the time for action. It is my experience that when someone decides to do something “later” it often becomes “never”.

Take a look at your website right now and go through each of these personas.

  • How easy was it to complete the goal of each persona?
  • Do you have things you can improve?
  • Write them down and put time on your calendar to make these improvements happen.


3 Ways To Get More Donors Worksheet. Provides a template for reviewing your website and figuring out what the most valuable actions are that you can take.

A very nice donation platform is Classy. Support for credit cards and donors can pay the fees. Supports campaigns so you can track income in many ways. Supports social media and social giving through campaigns. Classy also has a very well done donation page that you can link to straight from your site.

If you would like to check out the slides from the in-person presentation on this topic, feel free to flip through  them here. Be sure to check out the freebie on the last slide.


Images: Flickr/daniel foster

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