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  • Writer's pictureAnne Stefanyk

Highlighting Donor Impact Through Web Design

What’s the best way to attract new prospects, get that second gift, and improve donor relationships? Showing your supporters just exactly how much previous gifts impacted and helped your organization.

Highlighting donor impact can be done in many ways, such as within thank you letters or through your more detailed annual donor impact reports. In this article, we’ll review how your website and its content play a role in communicating your mission and donor impact.

First, we’ll dive into the nitty-gritty of why donor impact is important, and then we’ll walk through some tips you can apply to your own nonprofit web design.

Why Is Calling Attention To Donor Impact Important?

Showcasing donor impact is the perfect way to show appreciation to supporters and demonstrate the value of your nonprofit organization.

To break it down further, impact is the measurable, tangible way that your organization imparts change to the need you are targeting. Your donors’ impact is the reason why your organization is thriving and why donors continue to give.

Think about it: if you don't put your donors’ money to good use and make any meaningful headway, then no one is going to trust your organization enough to give again. You have to prove that their gift has a high return on investment (ROI).

In addition to the above, highlighting donor impact is important because:

  • It places donors in an active role within your organization. When you go into detail to describe their impact, make sure to highlight a specific achievement, such as “Because of your gift, 10 families can put dinner on the table tonight.”

  • It is another way to demonstrate why your organization needs more funding. When people see how previous donations are used, they’re more likely to give when you make your next fundraising ask.

  • It provides transparency to current supporters by giving them real updates on how their gift is being used.

  • It can attract new prospects, showing them the value and reputation of your current efforts.

As you can see, showcasing your donor impact has many benefits that can only help your organization and mission. Incorporating donor impact into your marketing content as much as you can, is always a valuable strategy. What’s one of the best places to highlight donor impact? Your nonprofit website!

How Can Your Web Design Focus On Highlighting Donor Impact?

Before you dive into the specific tips that you can take, let’s do a quick review of why your nonprofit website and its design can do so much for telling your nonprofit’s story and showcasing donor impact. We’ll do this by discussing the donor journey.

According to Kanopi, the donor journey for a typical supporter will follow these basic steps: awareness, research, decision, appreciation, and repetition.

As new donors or returning donors decide if they want to give, they’ll likely do some research beforehand. This is where your nonprofit website plays a big role, as it’s likely the first place people will go to learn about your mission and decide if your organization is worth supporting.

So, how can you use your web design and content to highlight donor impact and show visitors exactly how their help will affect your organization and further your mission?

1. Dedicate a portion of your website to communicate donor impact

The most obvious way you can communicate donor impact is to dedicate a portion of your website to it.

For instance, you might have a specific section within your homepage that calls out previous fundraising goals met and what you did with those funds. You might even have articles or news stories highlighting these accomplishments and the specific impact they had on the community you serve.

Or, you might decide to create an entire page on your website to showcase donor impact. On this page, you can highlight:

  • Peer-to-peer teams or individuals who raised the most money with a leadership board

  • Major donors who helped your organization meet a fundraising goal

  • Notable volunteers who volunteer for a certain amount of hours

Along with shouting out your supporters, you should also emphasize the specific impact they made on your mission. It’s important to be as specific as possible when communicating impact so donors feel recognized as individuals. For instance, when mentioning major donors, you might say “Harry’s gift of $5,000 made it possible for 100 kids to receive school supplies for the next year.”

2. Highlight direct impact on your donation forms

Another great place on your website to highlight donor impact is right before people actually decide to make a gift — your donation page.

For instance, within your donation page you might include a small section mentioning previous gifts made and how that has helped your organization. Keep this small, to a short paragraph or an image with a short caption. Doing so helps you avoid distracting potential donors from the main attraction of the page — your donation form.

But remember, you can also highlight donor impact in your donation form!

A common strategy that fundraisers use to increase donations is to provide suggested giving amounts on their online donation pages. Along with each suggested amount, you should also include the specific impact of giving in that amount. For instance, you might say “A gift of $25 will feed a family of 4 for one meal.”

Take this a step further by continuing to emphasize donor impact with the donation confirmation page. As soon as the form is completed and the gift is given, you should thank the donor for the donation and mention its impact once more.

3. Use real photos and videos

Did you know that there are studies that show a website’s conversion rate skyrockets when it includes images of human faces? One website swapped photos of paintings with photos of the painters themselves and saw a 95% increase in conversions!

While graphics and charts are still valuable ways to showcase donor impact, it makes sense that supporters might connect more when shown other real people.

For instance, you might use photos illustrating:

  • Community members that your organization has helped. Try to find candid photos that convey emotion.

  • A nonprofit event in action. This is a great way to showcase the different types of events that you organize and why they are meaningful for your mission. For example, this article depicting the 2019 Fisher House Gala includes a photo of real participants, highlighting the successful and fun event!

  • Volunteers working an event or a specific activity. Do you have volunteers who deliver meals to your community or help build houses for those in need? No matter the volunteer work you do, showcasing photos of it is a great way to demonstrate impact.

If you’re gearing up to include more photos with real people into your website design, you need to first get permissions. Consider sending out a waiver to some of your volunteers, event attendees, and any other people you think are relevant. Then you’ll be able to freely gather effective photos for your nonprofit’s website.

4. Make donor impact reports public

DonorSearch says that “An annual report is a document that nonprofits compile and release every year. It’s designed to highlight the organization’s major accomplishments, inspire readers about the organization’s mission, build trust, and thank donors for their support.”

Specifically, your annual donor report will likely showcase:

  • Major achievements of the past year. This can include fundraising events, volunteer efforts, community programs, and more. People want to know what your organization accomplished (and how their own efforts helped!)

  • An account of major contributions. Along with your organization’s big achievements, your annual report should also call out those who helped you reach your goals. List out and thank any major donors, hardworking volunteers and staff members, and board members who made a huge difference to your mission.

  • A financial statement. Break down exactly how your supporters’ money is being used with a financial statement. This will showcase the funds used for your mission as well as other expenses, like overhead costs and the cost to host events. This establishes trust between you and your supporters and will only help future engagements. Plus, potential donors will see that your nonprofit can manage funds responsibly and effectively.

Make this report publicly available on your nonprofit website (or let it live on a separate microsite!) so that all visitors can peruse it and learn about your nonprofit’s efforts. This not only shows them real donor impact, but can demonstrate how a future gift can continue to help.

A well designed nonprofit website is critical for your digital strategy and marketing efforts. Use the tips above to make sure to take as many opportunities as possible to highlight donor impact within your website. Good luck!


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