5 Ways to expand your unrestricted fundraising

Nov 9, 2021

Unrestricted (or undesignated) fundraising is the backbone of any nonprofit organization. These funds not only help you with your overall mission, but pays for your staff, office, electricity, and even the cost of fundraising itself. Unfortunately, donors are less interested in the granular details of what it takes to run a nonprofit than they are in the emotional engagement of your mission.

One only needs to look at the statistics for campaign designations to understand the power of specificity when it comes to donor engagement. In fact, our research shows that 54% of all funds have a designation, and an average donation amount of $122 — 12.9% larger than those without a designation. While this statistic does not necessarily denote cause, what is clear is that donors engage more when they know what their gift is going towards.

So how can we take these findings and apply them to unrestricted donations?

1. Create a succinct mission statement and display it prominently

From our research on website sessions and page views, the ideal amount of time it should take to convert a donor is 30 seconds. The best way to ensure donors are engaged within this amount of time is to prominently display your mission statement (or value proposition) and your call to action right from the first page.

From looking at UNICEF USA, their value proposition “We won’t stop until every child is vaccinated” takes up most of the design real estate from the beginning. Their donation button is also displayed prominently in the header and in a different color to direct the eye towards it.

Regarding unrestricted fundraising, UNICEF very smartly incorporates a pop-up that displays a few seconds after entering the site. They expand on their mission statement and explain that less than 3% of their funds go towards internal upkeep. This keeps donors engaged with the mission while staying transparent about where their funds are going.

2. Increase emotional engagement with graphic assets

Too much copy on a page can be overwhelming for a donor. Once you’ve created a succinct mission statement and call to action, be sure to incorporate your branding and messaging on every page of your site, including your donation page. This allows donors to continue engaging with their emotional attachment to your cause.

3. Emulate e-commerce in your donation checkout

Donors shop online like the rest of us, and e-commerce has made web users accustomed to a fast, frictionless checkout experience.

Many donation platforms redirect traffic away from your organization’s website and onto your fundraising platform’s website or subdomain. From our research, donation checkouts with a website redirect result in a 10% loss in donor conversion. You can retain this 10% by natively embedding your donation form on your site.

In addition, keep the checkout fast with simple, sequential forms and only a few required fields.

While simplifying your donation checkout can help you see a 17% increase in conversion, it is also essential to provide a variety of major digital wallets like PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. In fact, 20% of online donors give using PayPal, and payments made with Apple and Google Pay only continue to rise in popularity.

Finally, donors have not only become comfortable covering transaction fees because of e-commerce but also want to cover fees so 100% of their donation goes to the organization in question. Fundraise Up has devoted a lot of time to understand the impact of asking donors to cover transaction fees, and our findings show the majority of donors are more likely to do so when the option is checked automatically.

4. Utilize intelligent upsells

From suggested donation amounts to generating more recurring donors, upsells are an important force in your donation process.

But upsells are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Donor demographics are essential to creating a bespoke upsell that more visitors will opt into. Utilizing AI and machine learning will allow your form to generate a suggested donation amount for both one-time and recurring donations based on the individual visitor.

5. Entice visitors with an engaging call to action

You can save more abandoned checkouts and increase community-targeted engagement by employing the use of simple elements like a reminder popup when a donor opens the donation form and closes without completing the checkout.

Fundraise Up offers a robust suite of elements designed to increase conversion. We also designed our platform to include the widest range of international and domestic digital wallets, along with an intuitive checkout that takes less than a minute to complete. Finally, our AI-powered donation checkout automatically calculates the ideal donation amount for each donor based on their unique demographics.

If you are looking to double your donation revenue for any campaign — restricted or unrestricted— request a demo below to get started.

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