Accepting donations on your website
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The newspaper industry has been flipped upside-down in a lot of ways due to the effect the coronavirus pandemic has had on our society. Understandably, funds are tight for everyone, as most newspapers have lost significant advertisers and the revenue that goes with them. Of course, there is no miracle solution to get that money back, but one promising trend we’ve seen develop with a few of our customers is the success of a Donations or Contributions page where readers can pledge their support to the paper and submit a monetary donation quickly & easily from a page on the website.
Truthfully, a page like this is something that you could keep live year-round, but the support has likely never been needed as much as it is needed now. Fortunately, in a lot of communities, the readers have really risen to the occasion and donated substantial amounts to their local newspapers. A handful of newspapers on our network have launched their own donation pages, and together they’ve raised well over $10,000 in a little over a week! Don’t be ashamed to ask for help!
The Donation Form itself can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. Generally, since your goal is to get the reader to give you money, you’ll want to keep it short and sweet so that they don’t get bored and leave the page. Most customers collect the contributor’s name and email address (for e-mail receipt delivery), while others elect to include address and phone number as well. If you want to have some fun with it, you could allow a place for the reader to leave an encouraging note for your staff or for the newspaper industry in general!
Your donation form can be setup so that the reader can choose from a few pre-determined donation amounts, or select an option to enter a custom donation amount. Alternatively, you could just allow them to enter a custom amount from the start. Once they’ve entered a donation amount, “checkout” is quick & easy using your preferred payment gateway.
Once the Donation Form is live on your website, you’ll want to attract readers’ attention to the page. There are a number of methods we can use to get the word out.
1. Popup Message & Button
One effective way to draw attention to your donation page is to have a message popup on the reader’s screen when they visit the site explaining the dire circumstances that the industry faces and offering a link for the reader to contribute. You don’t want to be too intrusive to the point where it is annoying and drive readers away, but a popup message that only shows up once a week for a reader is a fair compromise.
2. Message & Button at the end of Articles
Another method of getting eyes on your donation page is to include your plea for help in as many areas as possible — again, without being too intrusive or annoying to the reader. We’ve found that placing a boxed message at the end of every article on your website is a great way to achieve this. This way, your message is appearing on just about every page that the reader visits on your website, however, it isn’t getting in anybody’s way and is only really visible once the reader has reached the end of the article they are reading.
3. Prominent Ad or Button Placement
A more straight-forward way of doing things would be to simply place a button or advertisement prominently on your homepage. Whether it is just a simple button or you’ve developed an actual advertisement-style graphic, putting a link front & center where readers would normally expect to see a commercial advertisement is sure to grab their attention.
While these are three solid techniques for soliciting donations, the list doesn’t end there. Make sure to put a basic link on your site’s mobile menu and even in the footer. Include a note or message from the publisher in a newsletter or upcoming edition asking for donations. And definitely blast it out on social media if you have an active following on Twitter, Facebook, or the like.
If you’re interested in setting up a page to accept Donations from your readers, please contact us today by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.