If your nonprofit has started asking for donations online or via mobile devices, then congratulations! Your organization is part of a growing movement to shift fundraising to more efficient and accessible methods.
With all of the new technology that seems to be changing every minute, it can be difficult to pinpoint what makes an online donation form so amazing.
Is it the image at the top of the form?
Is it the ease of giving?
Perhaps it’s the consistent branding?
Hint: It’s all of these (plus a few extra!).
This article will serve as your one-stop shop for donation form optimizations. Whether you’re building one from the ground up or you’re looking to enhance the donation form you already have, these tricks and tips can help guide you toward an amazing donation form that will encourage donors to keep giving.
- Get the Word Out
- Simplify Your Donation Form
- Offer Different Giving Levels
- Encourage Donors to Look Into Other Giving Opportunities
- Remind Donors of Why They’re Giving
- Keep Your Branding Consistent
- Give Donors the Opportunity to Share their Donation on Social Media
- Create a Seamless Giving Experience Across all Giving Channels
- Go Mobile
- Plan for What Happens Afterwards
Let’s dive right into these 10 donation form optimization hacks your organization should implement.
1. Get The Word Out
No one will know about your donation form if you don’t tell them about it.
You’re likely already asking your supporters for their donations of time and money. Use those donation appeals to drive traffic to your online donation page.
Include info about your donation form:
- Within your newsletters.
- In direct mail letters or cards.
- On social media.
- In person.
- At fundraising events.
- When you’re on the phone with donors.
- And more!
Whenever you’re communicating with donors, you should be spreading the word about your online donation page.
Takeaway: Getting the word out about your donation form is crucial for seeing those spikes in traffic and, eventually, that boost in your donor conversion rate.
2. Simplify Your Donation Form
Does your donation page have five images, three blocks of text, and links to other pages on your site?
If yes, it might be time to rethink the formatting of your donation form.
The fewer distractions donors have once they land on your donation page, the better. You want to keep them focused on the task at hand: donating.
Take this nonprofit’s donation form, for example:
Notice how clean and streamlined this donation form looks. The nonprofit’s logo is featured at the top, and the only other text on the form is for the “Freedom Campaign.”
Incorporating cluttering links and extraneous navigation only distracts donors from the giving process.
Takeaway: Maximize your donor conversion rate by keeping supporters focused on donating.
3. Offer Different Giving Levels
Sometimes, donors need a little nudge in the right direction.
Your donation form can give them a that nudge with the end result being larger donations!
Let me explain:
If a donor arrives on your donation page with the intention of giving $45, sees an empty field labeled, “Donation Amount,” she’s likely to type in “45” and complete the donation.
But, if that same donor sees options for $10, $25, $30, $50, and so on, she’s far more likely to choose the $50 option.
It’s simple psychology, really. Donors want to appear more generous. The extra five dollars doesn’t seem like an extra expense, and it’s easier for them to simply select an option than plug in their own donation amount.
Check out this example donation form:
You should, of course, still offer a blank field for donors who want to choose their own amount. Donors are the ones in control of their finances, and they know what’s best for their wallets.
Note how this example also describes what each donation level provides for, in this case, girls in need. This way, donors know the impact of their donation.
Takeaway: Offer donors different giving levels to increase donation amounts and keep donors informed of what their donations go toward.
4. Encourage Donors to Look Into Other Giving Opportunities
In addition to the aforementioned tips and tricks, you should also dedicate a section of your donation form to matching gifts, volunteering opportunities, and other giving avenues.
Donors who find themselves on your donation form might be first time supporters or lifetime donors.
Give both demographics a chance to continue giving to your organization by offering other giving options on your donation page.
Check out this example nonprofit:
This donation form only touches on planned giving and matching gifts, but you can include information about:
- Volunteering opportunities.
- Major giving.
- Fundraising events.
- Planned giving.
- Matching gifts.
- And more!
Just remember that the more options you offer on your donation page, the lower your donor conversion rate will be. If you want to find out about what other types of giving opportunities your donors might be interested in, you can also ask them directly or send out a survey via email.
Takeaway: Use your donation form to capture interest in other giving avenues, but be careful about including too many options.
5. Remind Donors of Why They’re Giving
Donors give to your organization because they feel deeply connected to your cause. They want to help you accomplish your mission and demonstrate their support with donations.
Your donation form should help remind donors of why they’re contributing to your organization in the first place.
Let me explain with an example:
This donation form accomplishes a few things at once:
- It provides context for what donations will go toward.
- It shows, with a single image, the people who will benefit from donations.
- It gives an email address and a phone number for more information or questions.
Notice that the top of this donation form is still simple and doesn’t overwhelm the user. It does, however, provide an emotional appeal for donors who arrive on the page. The image is heart-warming, and the text gives donors the context they may need to finish the donation process.
Takeaway: Remind donors of why they’re giving by including images and brief text to help put their donation in context.
6. Keep your Branding Consistent
Imagine this: one of your newest supporters finds himself on your website, looking at your Ways to Give page.
Your entire website is consistent: you use the same colors, logos, and fonts on all of your pages and blog posts.
But when he clicks on your “Donate Now” button, he is taken to a donation form that is devoid of those same colors, logos, and fonts.
In fact, the donation form could be for anything, and it certainly doesn’t feel like it belongs on your nonprofit’s website.
You can remedy this issue by keeping your brand consistent throughout your website and your donation form.
Let’s look at a quick example:
Notice how the logo is still present at the top while “Home” is highlighted in red. The fonts are all consistent, creating a seamless giving experience for donors.
Takeaway: Maintain uniform branding across your website and your donation form to give supporters a great donating experience.
Bonus: Looking for a website design firm to help you maintain a cohesive brand on your nonprofit’s website and donation forms? Check out this helpful list of website builders.
7. Give Donors the Opportunity to Share their Donation on Social Media
If you want to expand your donor base and give your existing supporters the chance to brag about themselves a little bit, include social media sharing buttons somewhere on your donation form.
Of course, the post that gets shared shouldn’t include any of their personal or financial information. It can be something as simple as a link to your donation form!
Take a look at this example:
Note how this particular donation form includes social sharing information at the top of the form. Donors can recommend or share on Facebook or tweet a link to the donation form via Twitter.
Takeaway: Your donation form should be just as shareable as the rest of the content on your website. Include social sharing buttons to encourage donors to brag about themselves to their social networks.
8. Create a Seamless Giving Experience Across all Giving Channels
Some of your donors aren’t going to want to give online. They might prefer giving over the phone, by mail, or via other traditional donating methods.
How do these donors fit into your online fundraising strategy, though?
The key is to make sure that all donors have a great giving experience, regardless of their method of donating.
This means that you should:
- Maintain consistent branding in all communications.
- Segment your appeals.
- Be genuine during all of your asks.
- Acknowledge consistently.
Creating a seamless giving experience across all of your giving channels will help donors who move from giving via check to giving online feel more confident in their switch.
Takeaway: Make sure that your organization is consistent when making donation appeals with several different methods and strategies.
9. Go Mobile
It’s extremely likely that many of those smartphone users are learning about your nonprofit on their mobile devices.
Is your donation form optimized for their mobile giving experience?
If not, you might be missing out on a serious chunk of your online donations.
Let’s take a look at what a mobile donation form should look like:
See how this donation form sticks to the first 8 tips we’ve covered? The branding is consistent, it’s simple, and there are social sharing buttons at the top of the page.
Takeaway: Make your donation page mobile to raise money from donors who like to give on the go!
10. Plan for What Happens Afterwards
Just because a donor isn’t giving in person or over the phone doesn’t mean that the donation process should be impersonal or distant.
On the contrary, since online giving leans toward a more anonymous experience, your donor acknowledgements should be more tailored to donors.
This means that you can’t just have an acknowledgement screen after the donation has gone through that says, “Thanks!” and hope that that covers it.
You’ll also need to send a follow up email or letter that contains a donation receipt and a genuine acknowledgement of the contribution.
Furthermore, you should reference past donations in future appeals. Donors will be grateful for your appreciation of their previous gifts. It might even encourage them to give more in the future!
Takeaway: Make sure that you have a solid acknowledgement plan in place for your online supporters.
If you follow these ten tips, you should be on your way to donation form success. Don’t miss out on substantial donations by having a lackluster donation form.
Abby Jarvis is a blogger, marketer, and communications coordinator for Qgiv, an online fundraising service provider.
When she’s not working at Qgiv, Abby can usually be found writing for local magazines, catching up on her favorite blogs, or binge-watching sci-fi shows on Netflix.