Leveraging Social Proof for your Non-Profit Website
Social proof is the idea that people will follow a course of actions and thoughts validated by others. If others start to cross a street before the light has changed, it’s very likely you too will start crossing – not because you’ve determined it’s safe but because everyone around you is doing it. Humans are suggestible beings.
Marketers look to social proof as a measurement of a company’s value of credibility. Put simply, people care what others think about and recommend. If other people have used your product or service, and talked about it online, that’s social proof. Non-profit organizations can tap into social proof to attract new donors and recruit new supporters.
According to Nielsen, 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of marketing.
So the question is, how can you harness the power of your non-profit’s social proof to gain new support for your organization?
There’s strength in numbers:
Be loud and proud of your supporters. Are you utilizing numbers? Placing social proof prominently on donation forms and other landing pages will motivate prospective donors to join the ‘___ people’ who have supported your mission already. Rephrase calls to action such as “Donate Now” or “Sign up for our newsletter” and highlight how many people have already taken this step, as you invite website visitors to do the same.
It makes sense from the donor side, right? How many people have already donated? “Okay, quite a lot! There must be a good reason why I should also.” It also makes sense from the ‘communicating how you’re making a difference’ side. How are you positively impacting people or changing the world? For instance, how many wells have you built or how many cows have you donated? Tell it on your website!
Non-profit marketers know that social shares and likes are important when measuring social proof. Communicate social media metrics, like how many people like your Facebook Page, to encourage others to do the same.
Make sure you strategically include social-share buttons on specific pages, such as a blog. The more social-share action that happens, the more it communicates to visitors that your organizations’ work is being shared and that people are paying attention to it. In addition to social proof, social-share buttons ensures your content and stories are shared widely across the net, bringing more traffic and potential supporters to your site.
Tell a story:
What’s a better form of social proof than testimonials? Testimonials are persuasive and help build trust and credibility. Hearing directly from donors and supporters who are talking up your mission and work in a positive way is directly motivating. Testimonials from top influences especially increase the value of your social proof. Ask people why they are compelled to support, how have they been involved in your organization, and what value they see in your work.
Let visitors hear from the people your work benefits as well! This will always be more effective than you speaking for them.
Testimonials highlight your impact and are a great way to showcase social proof. They show potential supporters how their time and money would be spent. Place them throughout your website, near CTA,s to prove how you’re making a difference. You can put them right on your homepage or devote an entire page to them!
Get visual with your storytelling. A basic form of testimonial is to get a quote from a donor or person who you serve. Don’t just add their name but include a photo. Photos make testimonials that much more authentic. Try your hand at a video testimonial! They’re hard to fake so they’ll boost your credibility even more.
By showing the faces of fundraisers’ efforts, you’re not only encouraging current fundraisers but helping prospective supporters feel like they’re aligning themselves with a community of people committed to creating change.
Show how popular you are, part two
Sure, you can feature your social media accounts on your website. But you can also create an impact map or some other visual representation of your reach and how much support your non-profit receives. Showcasing your popularity and making it a prominent piece of your site with further solidify social proof.
Promote user-generated content and support-driven campaigns
Many non-profit marketers strike gold by creating opportunities for supporters to raise money for their cause, on their own. So feature it! Have an area on your non-profit’s website that highlights how many people have started fundraising campaigns and encourage others to do the same and raise money on your behalf. Be sure to provide details and instructions on how visitors can start a campaign, be it a Facebook fundraiser for their birthday or by hosting a local fundraising event.
Build a pressroom:
Are credible media sources, publications, and thought leaders mentioning your organization? Build out a pressroom section on your website to showcase a list of articles that will help potential supporters learn more about your non-profit. highlight key quotes and recommendations to further boost social proof.
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The internet has made the concept of social proof even more powerful as a way to influence donor behavior. Building and increasing the visibility of your non-profit’s social proof will help you to clearly showcase your value to prospective supporters.