A stand-alone capital campaign website is a great way to supplement printed campaign materials and expand the reach and effectiveness of your effort.
The campaign website works alongside printed materials to broaden the reach and flexibility of campaign messaging. It also offers specialized functionality that makes raising funds easier.
When you consider that a capital campaign often loses up to 4% of gifts due to unfulfilled pledges, online giving becomes an attractive tool for reducing attrition.
But there is a right way and a wrong way to bring your campaign online. Just adding a section to your current site is not a wise move. The features and functions required will overwhelm your normal site—and your potential donors. A stand-alone site tailored to the distinctive needs of a capital campaign is the way to go.
Let’s take a look at the nine parts of a great capital campaign website:
1. The Plan
Include an online presentation of your plan, expanded to include information that would not fit in the brochure: additional copy, project renderings, floorplans, etc.
2. Progress Bar
A progress bar shows your goal (and challenge goal) and tracks progress towards (and above) those benchmarks. The progress bar should be activated only after your campaign kickoff, to show early success.
A good Q+A answers common questions and responds rapidly to questions that may arise through the campaign. This keeps misinformation in check and ensures there is no uncertainty in the minds of donors.
This section provides planned giving information so that donors can consider creative giving options in addition to their cash pledge. A Resources section can also provide downloadable architect’s plans, a masterplan document, or other lengthy pdf files.
A news feature enables you to keep the campaign fresh by going into depth on particular aspects of the effort and by providing testimonials from key individuals, announcements of campaign milestones, and more.
Many of your visitors will like to read about your plans. Others will appreciate a video. This is a great way to bring your plans to life and can be shared via email and elsewhere.
7. Gifts Table
The venerable gifts table shows the sizes and numbers of gifts required to make your campaign a success. Bring the gifts table online.
8. Gifts Calculator
A calculator enables donors to see that they are capable of giving more than they might have guessed when the gift is broken into smaller payments. Donors can enter a total pledge and see how much would be given on an ongoing basis to meet that commitment. Alternately, they can enter what their payments might be and see what their gifts would add up to—the total pledge. Those little payments over 3-5 years can really add up.
9. Pledge Form
A secure pledge form enables recurring online giving so that donors can pay digitally on a recurring basis, dramatically reducing pledge attrition and enabling online giving to more than pay for itself.
You now know the nine key content features for your capital campaign website. But how the site is programmed is also important. Here are a few things to consider:
Mobile-friendly: Your site needs to be built using responsive design so that it functions on smaller devices and serves the 20-40% of your audience viewing it from a smartphone.
Visually Consistent: While it is a different medium from printed materials, your site should share the same visual look and appear to be a natural extension of your other communications.
Secure: The site must be hosted securely to keep sensitive data safe and to reassure donors that you take their privacy seriously.
Easy to Update: A content management system allows administrators easy access to update the site and view gifts to keep the site fresh, keep campaign administrators informed, and reduce developer fees in the long run.
Easy to Maintain: Could you cobble together a pile of WordPress plugins to get the function you need? Maybe. But over the life of the campaign (3-5 years), plugin updates will occur that cause conflicts and feature failures. Troubleshooting those can take many hours and can lead to a bad experience for donors.
The GivingTools Solution
You have a number of options. You can:
- Try to fit the above content in your current website.
- Build a site from scratch that provides this function (will it be done before the campaign is over?).
- Partner with a resource that provides capital campaign websites.
GivingTools provides a ready-made solution for capital campaign websites. Indeed, GivingTools is the only service that offers this. For a single fee (well under $1,000), GivingTools takes a pdf of your campaign materials and creates the entire site in just a few days. Secure hosting for 3-5 years is included at no extra cost. And if you want to allow online pledge payments, that can also be enabled, for just $14.95/month. That includes payments from banking accounts (ACH) for just 25 cents per payment…no percentages taken.
This resource makes creating your campaign site a piece of cake. You get a robust solution that meshes with your other communications and provides the convenience and power of online giving, all in a matter of a few days!
By planning on a capital campaign site, your campaign brochure can be a compelling overview that leads people to the site for more details. If a donor loses a pledge card (or wishes to make an additional commitment), it is simply a click away. And with online giving, unfulfilled pledges (3-4% of total pledges) can be dramatically reduced.
To see some examples of what a capital campaign site from GivingTools looks like, just visit givingtools.com. If done right, a dedicated capital campaign website can help maximize the success of your next capital effort.
Jason N. Smith has over 20 years of experience in nonprofit fundraising communications and product development. Particularly familiar with capital campaigns, he founded GivingTools to deliver affordable online giving to nonprofits. The service subsequently expanded to include capital campaign websites, print, and video services. He lives in Mechanicsburg PA with his beautiful wife Nelly and their innumerable children.