On Demand: Convert donors with suggested donation tiers

February 26, 2024
5 minutes
A gif showing increasing donation amounts

Suggested donations! A low-pressure way to tell donors what your nonprofit needs so that you get the funding and they stay in control of their gift. The best part is that there are lots of ways to implement suggested donation tiers: impact cards, membership programs, AI-assisted asks, and smart donation forms, to name a few.

So, suggested donation tiers... No pressure, just a suggestion. And one more recommendation: learn more in the article below!

Use suggested donations to increase donation form conversions

If you want to get a top-notch conversion rate for your online donation form, like Funraise's (50% conversion rate, baby!), you'll want to look at your tech stack and see how you can use an intelligent fundraising platform to implement suggested donation tiers. On the Nonstop Nonprofit podcast, Tim Lockie, fundraising consultant and CEO of The Human Stack, had this to say about the interactions between humans and the technology in their lives:

When it comes to a tech stack, it's all zeros and ones, right? It's all accuracy-based, true/false. But humans aren't built that way. It's ...in or out for us. That's our binary. Are we in, or are we out? Are we included or not? –Tim Lockie, The Human Stack

And this is what suggested donation tiers are all about: giving your potential donors the information they need to donate a gift that will ultimately make the biggest impact possible.

  1. Know your audience
  2. Use a smart donation form
  3. Reduce clicks 
  4. Increase access
  5. Test and experiment

1. Know your audience

First things first: know who you're talking to. When you suggest dinner options to a vegetarian, you don't recommend a steakhouse, right? Same goes here: If your average donation size is $10, you don't want to provide custom donation suggestions that start at $100 and go up to $1000. Conversely, if your average gift size is a larger donation, don't undercut your nonprofit organization by setting a minimum donation size of $2. 

Hint: This means using your online donation platform's reporting to keep track of your average gift size, key characteristics of your donor base, and stats on where your typical donor is coming from.

2. Use a smart donation form

Multi-step forms, recurring upsells, mobile optimization, abandoned donation notifications, and, yes, a customizable ask array are all features of a smart donation form. While suggested donations are a great fundraising strategy to increase donation conversions, they won't work alone. Using all the tools at your disposal to support each other is the brightest idea of all. 

3. Reduce clicks

Bottom line: Fewer clicks means more conversions. When you reduce the fields necessary to complete your donation form, not only do you keep your donors on track, you keep the focus on the most important parts of that form... and since you're reading an article about suggested donation tiers, that's obviously what we're talking about.

4. Increase access

If donors can't find your donation form, they'll never give. Make sure that you've got an obvious link in your header, that you have pop up forms that feature your custom ask array, and that when you link to your site from external locations like social media, that your audience lands on a donation form. 

5. Test and experiment

Try, try, try again! As we mentioned earlier, your fundraising platform's data reporting is key to knowing whether a donation tier works or not. Isolate the rest of the form and try different ask arrays and different personalization techniques to see what increases conversions and average donation amounts.

How AI can help upgrade donors

AI is in the house these days, so you know we're going to talk a bit about the ways that artificial intelligence can help you upgrade your donors through smart fundraising efforts. Funraise's first-in-the-sector nonprofit-focused AI tool, AppealAI, brings intelligent donation options to your donors through you.

Contextual giving

When donors are engaged and inspired by the success stories on your website, it is important to maintain their focus on the impact they can make by transitioning them to a donation form that provides the opportunity to contribute to that very same impact. Using Funraise's high-conversion, customizable donation forms, you have the ability to incorporate donation forms anywhere on your website, ensuring that you connect with every donor on their preferred platform.

Machine learning

For a very very special, personalized donation experience, customized communications is the way to go. Funraise's machine learning model can generate buttons with donation levels based on a donor's past interactions with your organization, as well as factors such as time of day and device type.

Impact levels

If you're choosing to house suggested donation amounts on your website, your donation form isn't the only place to highlight them. Try incorporating them into your nonprofit's story, your social media posts, or just on your donation page. Here's how.

Tie amounts to equivalences

What kind of impact does a $10 donation to your organization generate? Or, if you're courting major donors, what world-changing effects would $100,000 create? Whether it's a number of people fed and housed, a tangible item like trees planted or experience like hours of therapy, or an amount of time that services can be rendered.

The equivalences are almost a gamification of the donation, in a way that's engaging and appealing to donors. 

Keep the options tight

It can be enticing to think of all the ways that funds create impact. And in fact, when you're creative and passionate, as many nonprofiteers are, having so many options can seem exciting. 

But to your donors, especially first-time donors or prospective donors, 20 suggested donation amounts can be overwhelming and off-putting. So choose the top 4-6 and test 'em out. The rotate a few in and see how donors respond.

Use cards to show impact

Impact cards are a visual cue that individual donors frequently click with as they're figuring out how much to donate to a nonprofit organization's fundraising campaign. Fundraising platforms like Funraise offer this type of option for fundraising websites. 

Membership levels

Another way to offer donation level examples on your website is to put a membership program in place for all types of donors. This looks like a recurring donor program or monthly giving program examples

Tie amounts to swag

Similar to the way your impact cards tied to equivalences, your monthly sustainer program should tie to swag or something else that your generous donors will want to get in return for their gift. So often, the reasons donors give are cerebral—it's nice to get a little gifty every once in a while. 

Get creative with swag

So when you tie swag to your monthly sustainer program, make sure it relates to your cause—or at least that it's not at odds with your mission. 

Get creative with names and levels

The creativity doesn't end with the swag! Your monthly sustainer program's donor recognition levels can get creative to entice monthly donors to increase their monthly gift size. 

Donor tiers

So, what types of donation tiers should your nonprofit build into your monthly giving program or impact cards or donation form? If you're looking to convert all types of donors with effective donation tiers, make sure your tiers cover a wide variety of prospective donors. 

General Donors

General donors is the masses! Think of pop music, but for donors. What will trigger nostalgia or camaraderie for your ideal donor audience?

Mid-tier donors

These are the donors that give more than your average amount, or for longer than the average individual donor. Maybe it's a family, or it's from a DAF—give them something to get behind as a group. Something that makes them feel like a part of something larger than themselves (which is what you do anyway!)

Major donors

Major donors want to feel like their impact is outsized. They want to see results. So, lock down an impact equivalent that shows the greatest impact.

Corporate donors

Getting companies to give is both easier and more difficult than we think. Just finding a contact can be the hardest part. One thing to consider is that if you can't get a corporate donor on their own and they offer donation matching to their employees, do a fundraising campaign to target those employees and double their donation!

Sponsorship levels

When you're planning your next fundraising event, consider getting local company or two to sponsor your organization. Plan sponsorship levels and offer advertising and marketing campaigns in conjunction with their generous donation.

Suggested donation tier FAQ

Suggested questions and suggested answers courtesy of our AI colleagues. 

What is a suggested donation?

A suggested donation is an amount of money proposed by an organization or individual as a recommended contribution for a particular cause, event, or service. It serves as guidance to potential donors on the amount they can contribute to support the cause.

What tiers of suggested donation should my nonprofit have?

Setting a suggested donation amount can sometimes be challenging. It is crucial to strike a balance between encouraging donors to give generously while being mindful not to place undue financial burden on them. This is where implementing different tiers of suggested donations can be highly beneficial.

How can I make a creative nonprofit monthly sustainer program?

Creating a creative nonprofit monthly sustainer program can be a powerful way to engage donors and ensure ongoing support for your organization. To develop an innovative and effective program, set clear goals, offer exclusive benefits, and tell compelling stories.

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