What is the best way to collect donations online

Users on the internet make some really fast decisions.  People will usually make a decision about whether they are going to learn more about the nonprofit you care so much about in 8-seconds or less, so those first 8 seconds need to be pretty stellar! So, what is the best way to collect donations online?

Keep in mind that while they are looking at your organization, they are probably looking at giving to other nonprofit organizations as well.  Donors rarely give all their money to just one place.  Potential donors will be trying to make an educated decision about whether to give to your organization or give to someone else.

Here is why is it important to get people they know, compelling stories and a vision for a better future right up in the front of your potential donor.

3 Proven Ways to Drive Website Donations

From a web development standpoint, I want to give you 3 quick suggestions for helping your website to raise more money. Those 3 things are: Mobile Responsiveness, Photography, Free Offers

#1 Mobile Speed and Responsiveness Help Drive Website Sales

Unless you’re a caveman, you’ve probably realized by now that more than half of your internet traffic is coming from mobile devices.  But having your website just “work” on a mobile device is not good enough these days.  In today’s digital marketplace, your website needs to be optimized for mobile viewing.

Mobile-friendliness is a big part of Google’s current algorithm.

What I mean is that Google will give ranking preference to websites that display content properly and quickly on mobile devices.  If your site does not work well on mobile, then you can expect it to drop in the ranking and you can also expect a decrease in your online sales conversions.

A nonprofit website needs to be mobile-friendly for several reasons, which include:


More and more people are accessing websites through their mobile phones. A mobile-friendly website ensures that potential donors are able to access and navigate your website with ease, regardless of their device.

User experience (UX):

A mobile-friendly website ensures that users have a positive experience while browsing your website on any device. A website that is not optimized for mobile devices can have layout and design issues, slow loading times, and difficulty reading small text, which can frustrate potential donors and drive them away to other organizations.

Search engine optimization (SEO):

Google and other search engines prioritize mobile-friendly websites for mobile searches. Having a mobile-friendly site can improve your search engine ranking and increase your visibility to potential visitors.

In summary, a mobile-friendly website is a must-have in today’s digital age to attract and retain donorss, drive donations, and to improve getting you message out to people online.

Speeding up your site on mobile often means that you need to:

  • Load pictures in at a smaller size,
  • Reduce the number of slides in a slider
  • Turn off various features that load well on a desktop but that don’t translate well to a mobile device.
  • Uninstall apps that are outdated, malfunctioning, or unused
  • Remove all the themes from your website besides the one you are using and the lasted theme from WordPress.

There are a variety of Word Press templates that respond quickly and effectively to various screen sizes and shapes and this type of responsiveness is critical for website conversions.  We highly recommend using Avada, Elementor, or Divi templates.

If you wonder if you website is mobile friendly, Ablaze Media will run a free audit and let you know if it is performing properly.  www.ablazemedia.co

#2 Proper Photography Helps to Drive Website Sales

You could have a silent enemy lurking around your beautifully designed nonprofit website that is threatening to overthrow and devour your online presence.  That enemy is stock photography!

Does that sound a little overdramatic?  Well, maybe it is, but both the user’s experience and the Google algorithm can be negatively affected by totally fake pictures.

Both the Google algorithm and your users are looking for both quality and authenticity.

On one hand, a stock representation of your services or products is better than just text.  On the other hand, using real pictures on a website offers several advantages over stock photography.  All the studies show that pictures do help with conversions.  We use stock images all the time and they have their place, but stock images that are not really carefully chosen can come across as fake.

Here are some reasons why real pictures are preferred:

Authenticity and Originality:

Real pictures create a sense of authenticity and originality, helping to establish who you are as an organization.  They help to tell your story. They capture genuine moments and emotions, allowing for a more personal connection with the audience. [1] [2]

Enhanced Trust and Credibility:

Real pictures can build trust and credibility with website visitors. People give to people they know like and trust, so real pictures help to build that connection.  Authentic visuals help portray transparency and honesty, which can positively impact the perception of a nonprofit organization. [3]

Improved User Engagement:

Real pictures can evoke emotional responses and engage users more effectively. People (and especially donors) are naturally drawn to real faces and relatable surroundings, enhancing the overall user experience and increasing time spent on the website. [4] [5]

Search Engine Optimization Benefits:

Using real pictures can boost search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. Search engines, like Google, value original and high-quality content. By incorporating real pictures, websites can improve their search engine rankings and attract more organic traffic.  If you are able to drive more traffic to your website, then both donations and volunteers typically increase. [6]

Differentiation from Other Organizations:

Using real pictures gives a website a unique look and feel, setting it apart from sites that rely on generic stock photography. This differentiation can help your organization stand out from the other organization who are trying to raise funds and awareness online. [7]

However, it’s important to note that there are situations where stock photography may still be a viable option, especially when time, budget, or specific image needs are a concern. In such cases, it’s advisable to carefully select high-quality and relevant stock photos that align with the website’s message and target audience.

Use Authentic Pictures

If you are given a choice between a fake photo with perfect-looking people in it or a high-quality photo with your actual staff, choose the real picture every time!

Also, front-facing people make a good first impression and work trucks and machinery don’t.  Empty offices or building facades are not very impactful either.  Make sure that the top image on your site is welcoming and have pictures of real people.

#3 Free Offers Help to Drive Website Donations

Ok, so who doesn’t like free stuff?  Offering something free in exchange for a donation can be a strategy to encourage donations and incentivize potential donors. Here’s how it can work:

Value Proposition:

Make sure the free offering holds value and is relevant to your cause or organization. This could be an e-book, a digital download, exclusive content, or a discount coupon you your online store. The key is to provide something that your target audience would find valuable and would be willing to donate to access.  Here are a few more idea for free things you can offer donors:

  • Free E-Book
  • Free Shipping
  • Free Subscription
  • Free Newsletter
  • Free Consultation
  • Free Estimate

Free offers are incredibly effective for increasing your conversions!

Transparent Communication:

Clearly communicate to your audience that the free offering is available in exchange for a donation. Be transparent about where the donation will be directed and how it will support your cause. This helps create trust and ensures that donors understand the purpose of their donation.

Donation Levels:

Consider offering different donation levels or tiers, each with its own set of rewards or benefits. This gives donors the option to choose a level that aligns with their budget and desired rewards. For example, a higher donation level could unlock additional perks or exclusive experiences.


Create compelling promotional materials that highlight the free offering and emphasize the impact of donations. Utilize various channels, such as social media, email campaigns, and your website, to promote the offer and reach a wider audience. The more visibility you have, the higher the chances of attracting potential donors.

Follow-Up and Appreciation:

People give to people they know like and trust.  A thank you goes a long way to maintain the relationship with your donor.  Show gratitude to donors by acknowledging their contribution and expressing appreciation for their support. Send personalized thank-you messages, provide updates on the impact of their donation, and maintain a positive relationship with them. This can help build long-term donor loyalty.

Remember, while offering something free in exchange for a donation can be an effective strategy, it is important to maintain transparency and ensure that the focus remains on the cause or organization you are supporting.

A Few Last Thoughts about What is the Best Way to Collect Donations Online

There is a lot that could be helpful when you’re thinking about your websites, but for now make sure your site works as well on a mobile device as it does on a desktop, take the time and spend the money to get real, high-quality photos, and make a great offer that is free if possible.



[1] CXL. “Stock Photos vs. Real Photos: Does It Matter? Which Ones Work Better?” https://cxl.com/blog/stock-photography-vs-real-photos-cant-use/

[2] Segue Technologies. “Stock Photos vs. Real Photos” https://www.seguetech.com/stock-photos-vs-real-photos/

[3] Segue Technologies. “Stock Photos vs. Real Photos” https://www.seguetech.com/stock-photos-vs-real-photos/

[4] CXL. “Stock Photos vs. Real Photos: Does It Matter? Which Ones Work Better?” https://cxl.com/blog/stock-photography-vs-real-photos-cant-use/

[5] Branding for the People. “Stock Photography Vs Real Imagery? Which Converts Better?” https://brandingforthepeople.com/stock-photography-vs-real-imagery/

[6] Blue Compass. “See How Stock Photos Can Impact Your Website’s SEO” https://www.bluecompass.com/blog/website-stock-photos-seo

[7] Segue Technologies. “Stock Photos vs. Real Photos” https://www.seguetech.com/stock-photos-vs-real-photos/

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