donate now

How to lose environmental donors

Somehow, you’ve successfully managed to get an interested donor onto your website.

And what’s more, I spend time there. I read about your successes, ogle over your beautiful imagery and imagine the better world you are promising through the powerful work of your environmental organization.

I decide to donate and click on the “Give Now” button.

Or… perhaps I got your fundraising letter in the mail, decided I wanted to donate but didn’t want to use a stamp. So I find the cleverly placed website address on your letter.

Either way, I make it there.

And what do I see?

A donate page that is a blank white hole.

The basics are there and it is physically possible I could fill it out and click “Donate.” All I have to do is put in my name, credit card information and the amount I want to donate. Easy, yes?

In fact, it’s so easy that probably what’s happened is that I’ve lost interest, got distracted by something else, and decided to come back to it later. Which is probably never.


I was bored. And a bored prospect is a lost prospect. 

Most likely, the rest of your website has all the right content. It is probably filled with wonderful imagery and poetic words about the pure delight that is your environmental organization.

In other places on your site, it probably tells me all the different ways my money will impact the spotted salamander, the Giant Sequoias, the newest reverse osmosis system or the acres upon acres of valuable real estate that will now be preserved in perpetuity.

I could probably read about all the reasons giving to your organization will fulfill a deep need inside of me, or the myriad ways that I can give… everything from naming you in my will to making a monthly donation, or even to mail you the $3 I currently have in my wallet. “Anything helps!” you say.

But the problem is… I don’t want to go visit those well-crafted pages and be reminded of why I am pulling out my credit card. I’ve already decided to give you my money. And I want to give it to you right now. The blank white hole that is your Donate page has successfully deflated my inspiration to donate to you.

Simply making it easy for me is not enough. 

Here is where many of you lose me…

At the critical moment, I need to be convinced. Again.

This fact is so often overlooked, yet is so vital in finalizing that donation. “Give money now to our 501(c)3 organization! It’s tax deductible!” is not enough to close the deal with me.

Although we like to think that the people who donate money to environmental organizations are superior in intellect (and it’s probable they do) they have short attention spans just like the rest of us.

So, what can you do?

It’s easy. Make me remember.

  • Put some of your best photographs on that Donate page. The one’s that will pull at my heartstrings the most.
  • Use your best copywriter (I’m available for this…) to come up with short, snappy, succinct promises, benefits, offers and guarantees. Don’t take more than half a page to do this. After all, you’re not selling me on your mission. You’re reselling me.
  • Make an urgent, promise oriented headline at the top of the page.
  • Make a handful of your best donation options available. And be sure to include a reasonable one as well. Sometimes, all I have is that $3 in my pocket.

And finally, be sure to take the minimal space it requires to be genuinely gracious. This is my hard earned money, and it’s likely the average donor is only getting a warm fuzzy feeling from giving to your organization. Sure, I might get a sticker for my car, and if I’m into that sort of thing I might actually put it on there, or I might get a subscription to your newsletter. But I’m not going to get richer, thinner, smarter, or sexier.   So be gracious. Please.

But above all, prove to me, one last time that you’re worth it. We both deserve that. Before I lose my train of thought and go search for cat videos instead.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s