Christian Radio stations worldwide rely heavily on listener donations to cover costs, most of which is raised through regular ‘radiothon’ style fundraising appeals. In Australia, the trend is to hold these twice a year (one in June for end-of-financial-year, and one in October/November to strengthen the station going through the ‘quieter’ summer months).
As the radiothons consume pretty much all air time for several days, it’s only fitting that the webpages get a bit of a re-focus too. I’ve gathered some screenshots taken during various appeals this year. Here are the common elements:
- Homepage takeover
- Big, Clear Donation Button
- Current Tally & Goal
- Listener Comments
- Consistent branding between homepage and donation page
These elements are less popular at the moment, but there are still a few people doing it:
- Visual representation of current tally vs goal
- Mobile landing page
- Live update feed (Twitter, Facebook, and custom updates rolled into one)
- Live video feeds
Here are some selected screenshots.
Light FM Growing Family Appeal
Run in late October 2013, this is probably the most extensive fundraising specific homepage I’ve seen of any station. They dropped the regular content from the page and replaced it with the tally, a tree that grew as the donations grew, a video feed, comments & thanks, a live feed, and multiple prominent donations buttons.
They also had a mobile-optimised landing page and donation page.
To top it off, they had a customised donation page complete with sensible defaults, trust symbols, clear focus, and consistent branding. For me, the let down with this page is the lack of dollar symbol before the amounts and the lack of information on what happens after you donate. Do I get a receipt emailed? Is it tax deductible?
Hope 103.2 Share Hope Appeal
The Hope 103.2 Share Hope appeal is the annual November fundraising appeal. We have dual goals: $300,000 in once-off donations and 300 new monthly partners. Communicating this can be difficult at times, so a lot of effort has been put into making these separate goals clear.
The homepage has a full-width interactive banner complete with tallies, goals, branding, comments, and potential for video players. It also sets out clearly how you can donate. This banner appears on every page of the site. The homepage also has a image in it’s rotator which links directly to the donation page.
Disclosure: I work for Hope 103.2 as a ‘Technical Assistant’. I built some of these web elements as well as the internal technology which drives it all (more on that later).
The donation page still has the appeal branding, and a nicely laid out form which clearly guides you through the steps. It also mentions the tax deductibility and a phone number you can call to get assistance. It also clearly differentiates between once-off and regular donations. As with the Light FM site, it doesn’t mention anything about what will happen post-donation.
United Christian Broadcasters UK Shareathon
UCB UK had a strong theme for their 2013 Shareathon built around the “future” and how your support can help build that future. It’s relevant, because they are currently campaigning to get onto DAB nation-wide. Rocket ships and planets were the main graphical elements. Their homepage had a overlay graphic on the first load, and then a standard image in the rotator as well as a site-wide background image containing the key elements.
The donation page contained big friendly buttons, information on the incentive, strong branding and multiple ways to give.
However, once you click onto a donation button you are sent off to a third-party website – JustGiving – which not only is on a different domain but contains the branding of this third party. I’m not going to say if this does or doesn’t work, as I don’t have the numbers to prove it, but my understanding is that conversion rates will drop dramatically if your visitors are sent to an unfamiliar website. The thought that crosses my mind immediately is “how much of my donation will make it to UCB?”.
On top of this, this website requires you create an account in order to donate. While I believe there is a case to be made for user accounts to update details and preferences, requiring it before donating is questionable.
Vision Radio Network Visionathon 2013
Vision Radio Network is holding their appeal this week, and to celebrate they too have a homepage takeover. They are clearly breaking the big goal into small goals for each town, placing a cost of $862 on each one. They also count how many communities they have funded, as well as showing the total progress. As with Light FM, they have a live video stream (not shown here) and a live comments feed (fed from Twitter).
The donation page is on a separate domain with UCB branding rather than Vision branding, which I’m not convinced is a brilliant idea unless the average joe knows UCB runs Vision. However, it does contain the same Visionathon branding so that’s something. It’s quite a long page, but it fairly easy to navigate. Tax information is listed at the bottom of the page near the submit button, which by the way doesn’t stand out too much.
KLove had a overlay graphic that appears on first page load, and then a slider graphic on the homepage. Their sidebar also had a graphic showing what percentage of their goal they had reached. There were multiple prominent donate buttons featured, but surprisingly not many listener stories. The only ones I could see were the standard ones that loaded onto their homepage. The graphics are very strong and defiantly stand out from the rest of the page.
Their donation page requires a username and password before you can donate. As I mentioned earlier, I think this would reduce the conversion rate but of course I don’t have any numbers to prove this.
Bonus points go to KLove, as they publish their audited financials on their website. While I’m sure other organisations would provide them on request, KLove has decided to be open about their finances enough to make it available to anyone at any time. This is great to reassure those more discerning donors.
Did I miss any good examples of online fundraising elements? If so, send some screenshots through to me and I’ll publish them along with the others. If you’re organising a fundraising appeal in the near future, good luck!