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Using funnels on your nonprofit website is a proven way to create more meaningful engagement and lead visitors to your site to take action instead of merely browsing — or worse, bouncing. By defining journeys for your website visitors, based on their interests, you can guide them to the information they are looking for and help them take decisive action.

Conversion Begins With Actionable Metrics

There is an endless number of metrics we can track on any website. This complexity is often the cause of overwhelm, and ultimately results in tracking metrics that are not meaningful when it comes to understanding how and why visitors to your website take action, or not. An example of this might be around online donations.

Example Of Website Donation KPIs

Instead of Tracking Basic Metrics

  • Total Revenue From Online Donations
  • Number of Online Donations

Track These Actionable Metrics

  • Donation Conversions Per Device
  • Total Website Visits ∞ Donation Page Visits
  • Visited Donation Page ∞ Started Donation Action
  • Started A Donation Action ∞ Completed Action
  • Number of New Donors
  • Referral Sources For Completed Donations

When combining these types of robust metrics with other KPIs related to website traffic, user engagement, and site performance, you can begin to build a clear picture of how visitors to your website behave, and why. This matters because it allows you to create the right content, the right landing pages, effective calls to action, and begin to create conversion funnels. This in turn will provide more predictable results when it comes to donation revenue, volunteer support, and even partner engagement.

Conversion Rate Insights

The reality is that there will always be more prospects for your desired outcomes than those who actually convert. But, by decomposing a user’s journey down into the specific steps you want them to take and tracking their progress, it is possible to estimate conversion rates for every step with reasonable accuracy.

For instance, if 25% of visitors to your website convert from one step to the next, it means 75% didn’t convert. Understanding why and finding ways to increase the chance visitors progress and do not fall out of the journey is where things get really interesting and meaningful.

The conversion rates also compound, which essentially means a change in one area will usually change the entire process all the way down and impact what comes out at the bottom of the funnel. If you receive 5,000 unique visitors to your website every month and 60 complete a donation, that’s a conversion rate of 1.2%. Let’s take a look at that funnel to see what this conversion rate journey looks like.

Based on the conversion rate described above — 5,000 visits → 60 donations for a 1.2% conversion rate — this funnel depicts how that user journey may go through your website.

Example Nonprofit Conversion Funnel

conversion funnel nonprofit


Tracking detailed metrics is far more actionable than monitoring a simple conversion rate that only indicates 1.2% of the 5,000 visitors made a donation. This more robust data allows you to probe deeper with questions like:

  • What happened to the 30 people who started a donation and stopped?
  • What would happen if we got just 3% more people to visit the donation page?
  • Is there an engaging landing page that would get more people directly to the donation page?
  • Why did 10 people fail at completing the the donation even after they clicked on the Submit button?

Understanding User Behavior

Your nonprofit’s mission isn’t guided by conjecture, and your website design shouldn’t be either. By understanding even basic tendencies of your clients (donors, volunteers, partners) you will see dramatic increases in the outcomes you desire.

The goal is not to manipulate the user, but to improve their experience with the website by eliminating the guesswork and creating a well-designed journey for them to navigate, understand, and engage.

The internet is saturated with content, so creating a definitive path for visitors to your website is critical to their understanding and your success.

The Endowment Effect

In psychology, we learn that the endowment effect, also known as divestiture aversion, is the finding that people are likely to keep an object they own rather than acquire that same object when they do not own it. This translates directly to web design starting with creating landing page content that attracts visitors based on certain keywords and phrases using search engine optimization (SEO), and certainly relevant to your cause and mission. This content should capture the visitor by conveying that they should have a stake in the responsibility of your mission, and engaging them into the appropriate conversion process.

Identifiable Victim Effect

A strong attractor, this is the tendency of individuals to offer aid when a specific, identifiable persona (victim) is observed under hardship, as compared to a large, vaguely defined group that may have the same need. It is imperative that your website connects the visitor emotionally with your cause. Being clear about your cause and using anecdotal evidence of why it is important will help visitors to your website make decisions to act.

Default Effect

Observational studies show that making an option a default increases the likelihood that it is chosen; this is called the default effect. If a visitor to your website is unsure about which donation is appropriate, giving them multiple choices with one that is clearly highlighted (i.e. button of a different color) will result in that “default” amount being selected. For example, if there are 4 buttons with $25, $50, $100, $200, and a place to enter another amount, with the $100 selection highlighted, it is likely the $100 amount will be selected more than others. 

How We Can Help

We can help first in understanding what all of this means by meeting with your stakeholders to talk about gaps that exist and where improvements need to be made. This also comes through analyzing current data, website analytics, and determining how your website currently ranks.

Often it can be hard to understand how much opportunity you may actually be missing if you do not have a grasp of online technology and the impactful levers that are available to you. Imaging in the offline world if hundreds, or thousands, of people walked into your nonprofit’s office and turned right around and walked out because it isn’t clear what you do, what your cause is, or the impact you make in the lives of your recipients. If your website isn’t working the way it should, this is pretty much what happens.

First impressions are everything online. It’s not enough to gain a prospect’s attention. And, once you have their attention you must let them know exactly what it is you want them to do. This can’t be left to chance.

Our web design solutions integrate this process into every facet of your website. Through solid web design, SEO, local search, and engaging content, we build a place online where your constituents can know who you are, what you care about, and connect. From there, leading them to take the appropriate action is the number one goal. We can help you with that.