3 Ways To Help Boost Donations On Your Nonprofit Website

I like to check in regularly to see which new nonprofits are using GivingPress for their website, and I’m always blown away by the amazing work that’s being done by these organizations.

There is such a wide array of causes being supported by nonprofits who use GivingPress. While it’s easy to get wrapped up in all the negative news these days, I find it a refreshing change of pace to be reminded in this way that there is a lot of good happening in the world. As someone who works with nonprofit organizations, and also as a donor, I’m able to see firsthand what’s been working well for some established nonprofits, while taking note where others may be lacking and could use a little help.

Aside from the basics, I’ve outlined a few key elements that I’ve noticed many nonprofits regularly forget to include on their websites. Things I’ve seen prove successful for some of the most established organizations out there. These are really ways of engaging website visitors. They’re ways of helping to gain a following and incur regular donors. We know the importance of donations since the vitality of these nonprofits rely on them 100%. Donations are ultimately the way that these organizations accomplish their goals – goals that change the world.

What’s Your Story?

The first bit of essential content for your nonprofit is the organization’s backstory. What is the founder’s personal connection to their cause? What inspired them to start this particular organization? While most of us know that a mission statement is a standard part of any nonprofit website, it is important to take it a step further and talk about why this mission is important to its founders – how it all began.

I’ve personally read so many incredible stories of nonprofit founders and how their organizations came to be. Seeing their passion for their chosen cause incites a deeper level of empathy. A great example is Awaken Love For Africa‘s founder, Sophie McLachlan. On her “About” page, Sophie recounts the story of her college travels to Kenya, and the emotional effect of seeing firsthand the results of extreme poverty, thus forming ALFA. Similarly, founders of The Wicked AUsome Project openly discuss their son’s autism and the personal experiences that inspired them to start their organization. These intimate details resonate with donors on an emotional level. It is clear that these organizations are passionate about what they do, and readers can feel that.

How Are Donations Used?

GivingPress includes donation capabilities, so creating a donations page really is a piece of cake. However, providing the ability to accept donations alone is not always enough. Most nonprofits are actively accepting donations through their website. However, they often forget to provide a narrative about what the donations will be used for. Whether it’s for research expenses or animal food, donors want to know. This is important information, since we should assume website visitors don’t already know the ins and outs of your organization. Sure, you may have a great mission statement and they may be sympathetic to your cause, but people are much more inclined to make a donation if they know exactly where their money is going. Learning about your mission is the reason donors want to donate their money; learning exactly how their money will be making a difference is the reason why they actually do. 

What’s Going On?

A “Projects” or “Programs” page is often a good idea for a nonprofit website. This keeps the community in the loop about what projects your organization is currently working on, and exactly what actions you are taking to make a difference.  This is especially helpful in acquiring repeat or recurring donations. When a donor sees that the organization they support is consistently active, they’re much more likely to become a repeat donor. For example, Habitat For Humanity Greater Peoria outlines each its housing programs under the “Our Programs” page of their website. Projects or programs can mean anything along the lines of campaigns, fundraisers, workshops, research assignments – any venture, really. It can also be a good way to encourage community involvement by advertising public events.

The LeRoy W. Homer Jr. Foundation

The Leroy W. Homer Jr. Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports and encourages young adults who strive to pursue a career as a professional pilot. This foundation has given hope to disadvantaged youth and granted many scholarships since its inception in 2002, all of which have lead recipients to prestigious careers in the field of aviation.

Leroy W. Homer Jr. in 1984.

It was founded in honor of the late LeRoy W. Homer, First Officer and pilot of United Airlines flight 93, which tragically crashed as part of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Had it not been for Homer and his acts of heroism, many more lives surely would have been lost. In LeRoy’s memory, the foundation applies public and corporate donations directly to scholarships. Thanks to these scholarships, the dreams of aspiring young pilots have come true. In addition, the foundation provides outreach programs promoting awareness to children about the field of aviation.

Leroy W. Homer Jr. had dreamt of becoming a pilot since his early childhood. At the young age of 15, he began flying lessons and completed his first flight when he was just 16 years old. After a successful military career as a pilot flying for humanitarian operations, LeRoy went on to fly commercially for United Airlines. On the morning of September 11, 2001, LeRoy and his crew set out on a 37-passenger flight from New Jersey to San Fransisco. Shortly after takeoff, the plane was hijacked by 4 terrorists in efforts to attack the US Capitol; the plane was then rerouted to Washington DC. Homer quickly issued a “Mayday” call to traffic control. While the crew and passengers called their families via GTE Airfones, they learned of the attacks on the World Trade Center earlier that day and were determined to take back the plane. Homer is credited to a great extent for his struggle with the terrorists and for deploying autopilot controls in a way that made it very difficult for the terrorists to fly the plane. Sadly however, the plane crashed in Pennsylvania killing everyone on board. Thanks to combined efforts of Leroy Homer Jr. and others on board, the hijackers were thwarted, thus saving the US Capitol and many other lives that day. Homer is survived by his wife, Melodie, and their daughter, Laurel.

The Leroy W. Homer Jr. foundation was formed in his memory by Homer’s loved ones the following year. His wife, Melodie, is president. Homer’s passion and heroism have served as inspiration to many young folks who have achieved their dream of becoming a professional pilot, thanks to the foundation’s generous aviation scholarships. Many scholarships have been awarded since the inception of the nonprofit organization, leading recipients to promising careers in the field of aviation. Recipients of the scholarship have earned various degrees in the field of aviation, including aeronautical engineering, aviation business, as well as aeronautical technology and science. The program is privately and corporately funded (with over 60 corporate sponsors including Whole Foods Market, the Baltimore Orioles, and Continental Airlines). In addition to these scholarships, members of the group also provide community outreach to underprivileged New Jersey schools, aiming to educate and inspire children. This foundation has done such wonderful things in Leroy’s honor, and has bred an admirable group of passionate young professionals in the field of aviation. If you would like to learn more about the Leroy W. Homer Foundation, please visit their GivingPress nonprofit website here.

Starting A Nonprofit Website Just Got Easier With GivingPress 2.0

Last year we took a hard look at GivingPress and realized some things needed to change. We tried to make it everything to every organization in need of a website. The result was an overwhelming amount of options, integrations and feature creep — most of which were unnecessary. As a result, we have removed the bloat and made the experience much better for new users. GivingPress makes the process of starting a nonprofit website easy, and it just got easier.

In 2009 we founded the WordPress theme company, Organic Themes. For the past eight years we have been creating professional themes for a market of designers and developers with an existing knowledge of WordPress. We know how to reach that market.

However, GivingPress is primarily a website provider for nonprofit organizations. WordPress is just a cog in our website machine. We’re often targeting organizations that have never heard of WordPress — much less used the software. It’s a different market for us.

A mistake was made. We thought WordPress was easy enough for new users. Some customers began providing feedback that it was too complicated. So, we listened. Then we watched as novice WordPress users fumbled through the software. They were overwhelmed by the options. Starting a nonprofit website should be easier! The goal is to provide organizations with a website so easy to use that it doesn’t require a learning curve. Because they should be focused on their cause, not learning new software. So I started re-building the GivingPress experience.

Could we drastically simplify the WordPress experience for new users while still providing products to WordPress veterans? After 6 months of hard work, we have answered that question with the latest version of GivingPress…

The GivingPress Nonprofit Website Builder

Starting a nonprofit website can be a daunting task for newbies. GivingPress makes it easy with our new nonprofit website builder. We have wrapped up all the steps of starting a website into a simple and pretty package. Despite the simplicity, your GivingPress website can be infinitely extended, and the website and content are 100% yours! Need to export your database? No problem. Need SFTP access to website files? You got it. Need eCommerce on your website? Piece of cake. Don’t have any idea what I’m talking about? Don’t worry about it!

Take a look at the GivingPress website builder. We’re confident it will exceed the needs of your nonprofit website.

Simplified Admin

WordPress Admin Example

The default WordPress admin experience.

GivingPress Admin Example

The new GivingPress admin experience.

Although GivingPress harnesses all the power of the WordPress platform, the admin experience is unrecognizable as WordPress for our website customers. We have removed the confusion and simplified the website building experience. So, even if your organization has never heard of WordPress, you can build a nonprofit website with ease using GivingPress.

If you’re a WordPress power user — don’t worry! All the familiar settings and features are still under the hood.

Nonprofit Website Builder

GivingPress Nonprofit Website BuilderNearly all your website options are found in the Site Builder. Create pages, blog posts, team members and sections of your website all within the Site Builder, and watch your changes take place in real-time.

Within the GivingPress nonprofit website builder you can add your organization logo, change layouts, colors, content, menus and so much more! The process is simple and intuitive. So you don’t need to be a designer or developer to make quick changes to your site.

Take It For A Test Drive!

All this talk is getting old. Why don’t you try it for yourself, right now! There are absolutely no fees or obligations. We have a sandbox site for potential customers that want to test the platform. Go wild! Create new pages, add team members, change the colors, images, content and more. Get a feel for using a GivingPress website. Don’t worry — all your changes will be wiped out after 15 minutes.

Test GivingPress

GivingPress Pro Theme Improvements

GivingPress Church Website ExampleA big part of the GivingPress experience is provided by the powerful GivingPress Pro theme. After many years of designing and developing themes for businesses and nonprofit organizations, we set out to create the ultimate WordPress theme for nonprofits. Previously, the theme was only available to GivingPress website users. By popular request, we recently made the GivingPress Pro theme available for purchase on our site.

If you already have web hosting and WordPress, the GivingPress Pro theme is an excellent solution for starting a nonprofit website.

GivingPress Pro is packed with features and integrations specific to the needs of nonprofits. Below are some recent improvements to the already impressive list of features.

Responsive Design Improvements

GivingPress Mobile Website DesignA responsive design is paramount for any professional website today. It means that your site will adapt and be accessible on any device or screen size. With the growing percentage of mobile and tablet users browsing the web, having a responsive website for your nonprofit is crucial to capturing donations. In addition, Google positively impacts the search rankings of responsive websites — and negatively impacts non-responsive websites.

The GivingPress Pro theme has always been responsive. However, we made several tweaks to the responsive design for a sleeker experience on any screen.

Custom Widgets

Perhaps the biggest update to the GivingPress Pro theme are the new custom widgets. The new widgets allow users to create team profiles, subpage sections, featured content sections and simple donations throughout your site. The use of these custom widgets greatly enhances the flexibility of the theme. Now, users can achieve an endless arrangement of layouts.

Featured Content Widget
GivingPress Featured Content Widget

The Featured Content Widget

The Featured Content Widget displays an image, title, summary and link of an existing page or custom content. It’s a useful widget for displaying brief information or guiding website users to various sections of your website.

Subpage Section Widget

The Subpage Section Widget is extremely versatile. It allows for any existing page or custom content to be displayed as a full section on the home page. You can stack as many subpage sections on top of each other as you desire. Also, the sections can easily be organized by dragging and dropping them into position.

Simple Donation Widget
GivingPress Profile Widget

The Profile Widget

The Simple Donation Widget is used for linking to an external donation service such as PayPal. It’s perfect for organizations that already have an existing donation service, and are not ready to start accepting donations on-site.

Profile Widget

The Profile Widget is used to display member and volunteer profiles for your organization. Display an image, name, title, summary and social media links for as many profiles as you like.

Team Section Widget

The Team Section Widget displays all team members that have been added to the organization in a clean 4-column layout. In addition, a background image can be added to the widget.

Starter Content

Our goal with GivingPress is to simplify the process of starting a nonprofit website. Implementing WordPress starter content into the GivingPress Pro theme is another step towards simplification.

Starter content was recently introduced with the release of WordPress 4.7. Finally, it has provided a standardized way of adding demo content to new WordPress installations. The starter content in the GivingPress Pro theme provides optional sample pages, widgets, menus and theme settings to get new users started. The content can easily be modified or removed to suit the needs of your organization.

Auto Updates and Licensing

We have implemented licensing in the latest version GivingPress Pro for receiving ongoing updates. So any new version release can easily be applied from within the WordPress dashboard. As upgrades are made to the theme, we want you to have them!

Nonprofit WordPress Hosting

Hosting is essential to starting a nonprofit website. With GivingPress hosting, your organization will be up and running with a basic nonprofit website in a matter of seconds. Hosting accounts are setup in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud environment, each with WordPress and a theme already installed. It’s an affordable solution for any organization that isn’t ready to commit to the full website builder experience. Check out the full list of features and pricing options here.

Security, Stability and Speed

GivingPress hosting manages all software and security updates on your server. So you don’t have to worry about your site becoming susceptible to attacks and malware. In addition, our hosting boasts 99% uptime, high-speed bandwidth and daily backups all hosted within the AWS cloud. With GivingPress, you own all of your website and content, and we help make sure you won’t lose it.

We Can Help With Starting A Nonprofit Website

Whether your organization is in need of a new website, WordPress themehosting or website services — GivingPress has a solution. Take a look around, and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions. We are committed to helping organizations start a nonprofit website!

Nonprofit Spotlight: Awaken Love for Africa

Africa is the poorest continent on Earth, with the majority of its population lacking basic human needs – things we take for granted every day. To most, it is common knowledge that the people Africa live in poverty. Not just poverty, but extreme poverty. According to worldhunger.org, Africa has the highest prevalence of malnutrition in the world – about 25% of its population. Factors contributing to this heartbreaking statistic are many, including government corruption, disease, and environmental challenges – but that’s just scratching the surface. Despite these facts, the people of Africa are also some of the most beautiful, spirited people in the world. It’s easy to see in the social media videos shared by Awaken Love For Africa’s founder Sophie MacLachlan.

Awaken Love is a nonprofit organization devoted to improving the lives of those affected by poverty in Kenya. The UK-based charity works hands-on helping West Kenyan orphans, widows, and families in need. AL was founded in 2007 by Sophie, who was deeply moved at the number of neglected orphans and lack of care and opportunity she witnessed during a post-graduation trip to Kenya. She scrapped her college plan, recruited her family (among them an experienced builder), and dedicated her life to this incredible cause. Since their inception, they have founded projects that have given a tremendous amount of hope and support to the people of Kenya.screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-5-34-02-pm

One of the amazing ways AL has helped Kenya is their involvement in Gideon’s Orphanage. The orphanage was started when a poor African couple took in 32 homeless children and cared for them (they lived in a mud hut). AL discovered this makeshift orphanage and quickly intervened; Gideon’s Orphanage was rebuilt and living conditions significantly improved. The orphanage now fosters 200 children, and the two organizations continue working closely together. In Africa, education is a luxury most people are not afforded. With the help and support of Awaken Love, the youth of Kenya are able to participate in workshops that teach them valuable skills in training for the job market. In efforts to increase the low employment rate (and decrease homelessness), AL has set up specialized workshops teaching skills in the areas of computers, carpentry, and sewing. They want to expand these workshops by offering education in other areas as well, so those skilled in other areas (such as mechanics and metal-working) are encouraged to enlist in the volunteer program. Teachers are always needed!

Through these projects and others, AL continues to help members of these poor communities become independent through employment, maintain sufficient living conditions in Gideon’s Orphanage, and provides hope and support to those in need. Sponsorship programs are available which provide basic needs for poor children, including food, clothes, and healthcare. Through their nonprofit website, donations can be made toward AL’s efforts, as well as sponsorship for individual children; you can also enroll in their volunteer program, or just learn more about this charitable organization itself by visiting their website: http://www.awakenlove.org.uk. Thank you, Awaken Love, for all that you do in opening a world of opportunities to the beautiful people of Kenya!

Nonprofit Spotlight: Habitat for Humanity (Augusta/CSRA)

Isn’t it nice to imagine living in a world where everyone has a decent place to live? This is the vision of the international nonprofit organization, Habitat for Humanity. The sad reality, however, is that the percentage of people living in poverty is at an alarming rate; this poverty rate has consistently continued rising as pay rates are grossly disproportionate to the rising cost of living. As a result, this rise in poverty has resulted in a global housing crisis, leaving many working families to live in substandard, overcrowded, and even unsafe homes. The kind people of HFH offer adequate housing options to qualifying families in need at very low mortgage rates.

Recent statistics show that roughly 828 million of the world’s population live in urban slums and poverty-stricken districts; urban areas make up an estimated 50 percent of the world’s communities. Research has proven that, overall, children living in substandard housing are affected negatively in the area of academics. Worse yet, shortages of clean drinking water and poor sanitation practices claim the lives of almost 2 million children a year worldwide. With these saddening facts, it’s a blessing to see nonprofit organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity, in action and continuing their efforts to make the world a much better place.screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-3-41-44-pm

On the positive side, HFH has provided over one million quality homes (some brand new, some renovated) to families in need! That means these working families are more easily able to afford healthcare, food, and clothing. This wonderful organization does even more than provide housing; they offer programs such as financial education and disaster response. There are also HFH “ReStores”, or nonprofit stores open to the public selling donated furniture and appliances; proceeds are used for housing operations. The August/CSRA division of HFH uses their GivingPress nonprofit website to showcase team members, news highlights, and events. With the use of responsive plugins, community members are easily able to apply for housing, enroll in volunteer programs, and donate to the cause. For more information on Habitat for Humanity: Augusta/CRSA, visit their nonprofit website. Thank you, Habitat for Humanity, for helping to make the world a happier and safer place!