New meetup series: WordPress for Non-Profits

We started a new meetup series last week focusing on not-for-profit (non-profit) organizations. We held the first meetup in the east end at Kobayashi + Zeitguys on the Danforth, our old haunt for the WPToronto East meetups.

A reminder: what our meetups are for

Local WordPress meetup groups like WPToronto are for the community to come together, sharing our knowledge and experiences with the WordPress platform.

WordPress is all about community. It’s open source software, which means it’s built through the collective contributions of people from around the world.

The beautiful thing about a WordPress meetup is that anyone in the community can step up and lead their own event.

If you’re not familiar with WPToronto and Toronto’s WordPress community, look into the various meetups happening around town.

Who is this new NFP meetup series for?

This new monthly meetup series focuses on WordPress sites that support the social good. We had a great kick-off event with Amanda Gorman from GiveWP sharing best practices for donation pages.

We also talked about what we want this meetup series to be. What topics should we cover?

What topics do we want to see in the future?

Suggestions included:

  • WordPress security
  • WordPress hosting – different types, pros and cons
  • Membership sites, programs and campaigns
  • DIY website management & maintenance
  • Content strategy
  • Collaborating and working with other organizations
  • Automation, productivity tools
  • WordPress plugins for non-profits
  • Website planning
  • Web analytics & reporting

Best practices for donation landing pages

Preparing for Success

  • Understand your donors as deeply as you can
  • Perform keyword research
  • Do a competitor analysis
  • Understand donor demographics & qualities (via surveys, interviews)
  • Set goals
  • Be clear and specific
  • Set dates to review success and make improvements
  • Measure your data
  • Set clear metrics you can track & improve

The top 10 donation page best practices

Secure your site with an SSL certificate

  • Displays https:// in the toolbar
  • Better for SEO
  • Gives your donors a sense of security
  • Protects donor data

Own your donor data

  • Review the terms & conditions of the donation platform you work with
  • Where is your data stored? What rights do you/the platform have?
  • GiveWP, for example, lets users own & manage their own data
  • Note: You’re now legally responsible for protecting that data (PII)

Tell a story that inspires your donors

  • What can you do to inspire your donors to contribute?
  • Create a community; rally people to a shared cause and keep them connected
  • Include your purpose, mission, goals, benchmarks
  • Consider adding graphics to display milestones and insights
  • Recurring donations = get a commitment for people to come back

Use social media for more than fundraising

  • Use Facebook Ads to tell a story about your organization (awareness)
  • Be strategic; research the platforms
  • Have a plan and stick to it
  • Use social media tools as necessary and train the org members
  • Consider starting by going deep on only a couple platforms

Ask for donations with clear language

  • Emphasize storytelling
  • Clarity is key: use middle-school level language
  • Speak plainly and clearly
  • Communicate all giving options (payment methods)
  • It’s all about reducing donor friction

Send fundraiser emails & use direct marketing

  • Email marketing; update donors on campaign progress
  • Invite them to join you in person or online (webinars)
  • Direct mail works best with well-crafted material
  • Include instructions on how to make a donation

Enable mobile giving

  • 50% of all web traffic is mobile
  • All modern WordPress themes are responsive & mobile-friendly
  • The Stripe payment gateway allows Google & Apple Pay
  • Check all your donation landing pages on multiple devices

Make your donations page easy to find

  • Don’t hide your donate button!
  • Use clear language like “Donate”, “Support”, “Contribute”, “Give”
  • General giving form should be available all year long
  • Seasonal/other campaigns can be organized differently
  • Link to your Donate page in your main navigation, footer, sidebar
  • Retain donors with an email opt-in form
  • Add it to your donation form

Say thank you

  • Create a special donation confirmation page
  • First thing they see after donating
  • Includes valuable content to keep them engaged after donating
  • Consider inviting them to a persistent group (e.g. Facebook)

Donation landing page examples

The #GiveLoveCampaign

  • Uses Give’s embedded donation form
  • Can customize honoree messaging, custom form inputs

Niels On Wheels

  • Beautifully laid out landing page
  • Storytelling with personal message, rich media
  • Using multiple payment gateways
  • Additional content below; doesn’t distract from donation form

Learning Plunge

  • Form before media/content

A quick look at GiveWP

What is GiveWP?

  • All-in-one donation platform for WordPress
  • Lightweight, adopts look n’ feel of your site
  • Can customize the design with some basic CSS
  • Designed to be embedded within your WordPress site

Handling donation receipts

  • Has a whole solution for managing receipts (email, PDF)
  • Can customize receipt design & messaging

Resources for handling donation receipts in Canada

Asking for donations

  • Put the higher amounts on there; people can still type in custom amounts
  • Have had requests from users showing donation amounts
  • Use pricing table layout to show different levels of donation
  • You can run multiple campaigns side-by-side

Can use Give for any sort of payments

  • Are you a creator? Add a virtual tip jar to your site
  • No inventory management; not suitable for eComm

Is Give free?

  • There’s a minimalist free version
  • Premium addons for more features + support
  • Can also purchase addon bundles

What’s the deal with payment gateways?

  • You, as the merchant, lose some of the donation
  • Fee Recovery Addon asks donors to contribute a fee to make up the difference

Why GiveWP versus another platform like GoFundMe?

  • Upside of a marketplace: They’re a way for people to discover you
  • Downside: Those marketplaces take a cut
  • Up to you depending on your needs

Can you switch “donate” to “sponsor”?

  • Yes!

Is there a membership component?

  • If you need membership management, there are plugins for that
  • You can use Give alongside other plugins to handle donations

Why not use a SaaS?

  • You don’t own the platform
  • The data gets locked in
  • The vendor can change their terms at any time

Thank you Amanda & Give!

Many thanks to Amanda Gorman from Give/Impress for taking the time to speak with our group last week.

To learn more about Give: check out the official website, join their Facebook group, and follow them on Twitter.

1 thought on “New meetup series: WordPress for Non-Profits”

  1. I’d be happy at some point to show off the work we have been doing with Google Data Studio. Since Andy Mcilwain and I talked about GDS way back when, we have been actively implementing a solution to create visualizations using data from Wild Apricot. Happy to share end-user and developer oriented learnings if there is interest.

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