Where in the World
When you’re developing your nonprofit website, the big question is often WHERE do we place the Donate Now button? Should we have it on the page more than once? How big can we possibly make it? This one is my favorite because I think some clients, if left to their own devices, would make the button fill 1/2 the page! I’ve compiled examples of the different types of Donate Now buttons you can have and the possible benefits or drawbacks of each.
Straight as an Arrow
The most straightforward Donate Now buttons are actually part of your main menu – at the far right, and in a different color. All caps shows up better, so even if your main menu is not in caps, put your Donate text in all caps.
Also note that in the examples below the first one stands out the most, not just because it has more contrast (red vs. grey) and the font is bigger, but also because the main menu is shorter. A great design trend is the splitting of your menus into 2 – one main menu and one smaller menu. This shorter main menu draws more attention to the Donate button as there is less to scan from left to right.
Straightforward Plus a Little Extra
In these examples, the Donate buttons are a part of the menu but the background behind the text is altered to stand out more. I love these because you have a chance to get creative and repeat or complement elements (and pop colors) you have within your main site design. They also look more like signs or banners which draws attention as well.
Leaning to the Left
I’ve noticed some nonprofits moving their Donate Now button to the left side of their main menu. It’s an interesting strategy. We’re used to seeing HOME on the left side, so I’m thinking if people are on an internal page and click on that button thinking it’s HOME they end up on the donation page – which could be a good thing.
It could be problematic though since people tend to scan from left to right at the top of the page and then stop and scan down a bit and then left to right again; I’m thinking they are likely to not want to stop at the very beginning of that left to right scan and are likely to keep going to the end – at the right – which seems like a better place for that call to action. See 5 Usability Lessons from Website Eye Tracking Studies.
Separate but Equal
In these examples, the Donate Now button is in the same row as the main menu but separate from it and significantly different looking. This has the extra benefit of standing out a lot more than the straightforward ones. There is also something to say about having the button in the tried and true locations. We are used to them.
If someone really does want to go to your site just to donate, the first place they will look is to the right of your menu – because that’s where 75% of them are located. You can be different, but realize that there may be some repercussions.
These examples have their Donate buttons within their secondary menus. I would be careful with this position as it’s not the first menu to get scanned if the main menu is significantly larger.
The Amish Button
Don’t be afraid to keep it really simple. In these 2 examples, they have the Donate now button as more of a text link but it works because everything else is wrapped in boxes of color, making the plain text actually stand out. And don’t forget the power of all caps.
Button It Up
I still love buttons that look like real buttons (or tabs); they can stand completely on their own and it’s really clear that it’s something important to click on. Notice the lack of clutter around the button which helps draw attention in these examples.
I’m a big fan of Donate Now buttons being in the middle of what I call Action Centers – sections either to the right of your main slideshow or on a sidebar directly below – that give people 3-4 commands, things that are imperative with action required.
If you are using your slideshow to help tell your stories (hopefully you are!) then having the donate now button as close as possible to those stories could be key. It’s like having that extra chance to show your stuff before the action is taken. The examples below also show you that you don’t have to have the button on the main menu for it to get noticed.
Trust me when I tell you that no one is going to count how many times you have a Donate Now button on your main page, unless they are weird like me. I’m officially on record as saying that it is PERFECTLY OKAY to remind people more than one time – really it’s not likely they will notice – it’s just another opportunity to catch their eye as they scan the page quickly.
These examples below have Donate in the menu AND somewhere around their main slideshow / message.
Pizza, Different Pizza
I personally think that if you’re going to put more than one Donate button on the page, that you should switch up the wording. Like “Give Now” vs. “Donate” (the word Give may resonate differently with some people), or just adding more words to make it different from the single word Donate you have in the menu.
Try A/B testing with different text on the donation buttons. See Improving nonprofit online donations through AB Testing
Dare to be Different
I also like the Donate Now button directly below the logo – as long as you’re not competing with a long string of menu items right next to it. I also like the second example which has a minimal menu (so it does not distract) and a front and center Donate – actually Give – area that can’t be missed.
In the 3rd example, I’m wondering if maybe it really IS more prudent to push subscribing to your enewsletter in the prime donate now real estate. You are far more likely to get email addresses from subscribers that you can actually use for more targeted messages to convert them do a donor down the road.
If you think about it, how often does someone just land on your site and gravitate immediately to your donate button? I’ve actually done it – but ONLY because the nonprofit didn’t provide me with one in an email they sent me- how crazy is that? It’s much more likely that you are guiding prospective donors directly to the donation page through your email and other online communications and that someone new to your site will more likely sign up for something before donating.