It’s true that I like hiking far more than anyone else in my household. My kids have a running joke that my main objective as a parent is to get them to "eat carrots, read books, and go on hikes". They’re not wrong. 

A tad reductive, but not wrong. 🤣

Hiking is what I request every Mother's Day - when they can't complain or refuse - and if we can take a break to read and also nibble on carrots, even better. 

COVID, for all its horror and tragedy, did bring with it nearly unlimited opportunities for hiking-related ways to drive my children crazy in 2020. 

As much as I like hiking, though, I'm no survivalist. I like to take journeys that are of reasonable length and difficulty; often using AllTrails and other apps to make sure I know exactly where I'm going and how long it should take. Walking through the wilderness with no clear path back to my car and no end in sight is not my idea of a good time. The goal, I know, is to enjoy the journey but, when dusk arrives and my water is gone, I just want to get where I'm going.

Cut to: your organization's donation page. 

This hiking analogy came to mind while I was making a recent online donation. Last month, my son and I visited a fabulous children's museum on a fifth-grade field trip. The place was so great that, as soon as we left, I went straight to the museum's website to make a donation - only to click around from page to page trying to find their online form. (I had to  travel through 5 different pages to get to it!) 

Much like a hike, a donor's journey ought be enjoyable and their path clearly marked - especially when donating online. If I hadn't been so determined to give, I probably would have given up after the first few pages. And it left me wondering: how could this stellar organization (with obviously sophisticated fundraising and partnership programs) have such a clumsy online donation process? 

The answer is simple: we're often too close to see the big picture - and too familiar to understand an outsider's perspective. We've got to take off our staff goggles from time to time and look at things from the participant's point of view.

So here are three steps to take to mark a clear path toward donation and make sure no donors get lost on the way to giving you money: 

  1. Add a "donate now" button in the top right corner of your homepage.
  2. Make sure it takes ONE CLICK to get directly to your donation page. No exceptions.
  3. Add copy to your donation page that clearly explains why the donor should give to you instead of some other organization or at all*. It has to be right there near the transaction fields. 

Want to see a great example? Check out this client's one-step online donation process.

Don't make people wade through pages and pages of giving options, gift types, sponsorship opportunities, or partner programs to get to where they want to go. Or expect that they'll take the time to read through your website for reasons why they should donate. Most people who want to give online just want to get to your form and do it - take them straight there. 

Too many clicks and they're lost. 

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