Your online donation page is one of the most critical components of your nonprofit website. It’s where your supporters make gifts and one of the target pages you drive readers to in your outreach and marketing activities.
Your donation page should welcome prospective donors and lead them through the process of completing their gifts.
How you format the online donation form, the types of questions you ask, and the web builder and fundraising tools you use can significantly impact whether or not the donation is ultimately made.
With some key design elements in place, your donation page can play a prominent role in increasing support.
The best nonprofit websites feature online donation pages that are easy to use and encourage supporters to continue down the giving funnel. Experts who specialize in your needs can be your best choice for improvements, but there are still plenty of steps you can take to build a more robust donation page that converts visitors into donors.
Here are five donation page best practices that boost conversions and donations.
1. Embedded and customized donation form
When designing your online donation page, you want to create a streamlined experience. Even some of your most passionate supporters may ultimately decide not to give if they’re frustrated by a lengthy or overcomplicated online donation form.
Invest in a dedicated online donation tool to ensure you’re providing the best giving experience for your donors.
Your donation forms collect vital metrics that can inform future fundraising decisions and be used to optimize outreach efforts. Find a tool that meets those current needs and can scale as your organization grows.
The right online donation tool will allow you to embed your form within your nonprofit’s website and customize the fields and appearance.
With an embedded online donation form, there’s no risk of interrupting the giving process. Donors aren’t sent to a third-party page and can instead interact with the form on the donation page.
Sometimes, going to an unknown site to fill in personal information can be jarring, especially if the user doesn’t recognize the branding. This can lead to a high bounce rate, where donors close the page before completing their gift!
On top of embedding your online donation form into your website, your donation tool should allow full customization. A custom form can help you build a strong nonprofit brand.
But an unnecessarily long donation form can drive donors away, so it only requires essential fields. If you want to ask additional questions to collect more data, limit them to only one or two fields and make sure you mark those as not required.
Along with curating a seamless giving experience for donors, your online donation tool can help with your digital fundraising efforts in these ways:
- Connect supporters to your mission with completely branded donation forms.
- Encourage supporters to give on a more consistent basis with recurring gift options. Simply providing this choice will increase the chance of this type of sustained support!
- Better visualize insights and make critical donation page decisions. The right integrated tool will collect the data coming from donation forms and report it to your CRM for future analysis. This way, you can figure out which specific campaign or design element generated the most conversions.
Your online donation page only performs as well as the tool you use allows it to. Make sure the solution you invest in can meet the needs described above and will create a seamless giving process for donors.
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2. Suggested donation amounts
Sometimes, your supporters know they want to give, but they might not know how much to give. It’s a good practice to include suggested donation amounts.
Suggested donation amounts on your fundraising forms help in two ways:
- They can guide donors unsure how much to give to make a genuine impact.
- They can encourage donors to increase their donations to match the amount perceived as average.
However, this doesn’t mean you should choose random high amounts and hope that your donors pick them.
Choosing suggested donation amounts requires more strategy than that. A study from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business found that your suggested amounts affect the number of donations, so choose wisely.
If suggested amounts are set too high, there will likely be fewer individual donations, but the contributions will be higher. If the amounts are too low, you’ll have more gifts, but they’ll be lower in overall value.
The donation suggestions you offer should provide balanced options and will likely depend on your campaign. To help you figure out the best amounts that will encourage donors to give, consider the following tips:
- Make sure the amount is relevant to the target audience. If your fundraiser is focused on recent college alumni, it might not make sense to suggest large amounts.
- Segment the options by known donation level preference. If you know your target audience tends to donate at different levels, average those out and make those your suggested options.
- Highlight one default donation amount. This can encourage donors to give that amount, especially if they think it represents your average online donation.
- Test the donation amounts. If you find that donors keep defaulting to the lowest option, consider making that a little higher.
Along with having suggested donation amounts, it can help tie each one with its projected impact. For example, saying that a gift of $100 will help feed X number of families for Y days is much more enticing than just asking for the amount. A strategy that combines impact with a bit of peer pressure or persuasion will yield the best results.
3. Matching gift opportunities
An average of $4-$7 billion in matching gift funds goes unclaimed yearly.
Corporate matching gift programs are an excellent way for businesses and companies to become more philanthropically involved. In these programs, employers agree to match donations made by employees to eligible organizations financially.
Matching gifts are one of the easiest ways for your organization to increase fundraising revenue without asking your donors to give more. However, you still have to let donors know about the opportunity.
Often, these funds go unclaimed because matching gift-eligible donors don’t even realize that their employers have this type of program in place.
Consider incorporating a searchable matching gift database embedded within your online donation page. This allows donors to look up their eligibility status as a seamless component of their online giving experience.
With the right matching gift tool, donors can look up their employer’s name and receive all the necessary information, including application forms, deadlines, charity requirements, and matching gift minimums and maximums.
4. Integrated payment process
The last step of the online donation experience is submitting payment information. Ensure that payment is an integrated part of the giving process since you don’t want this critical step to interrupt the donor’s otherwise seamless experience. This can be done with an integrated payment processing tool.
Along with being integrated into the donation tool, your payment processor should have the necessary security measures. Credit card scams and donation form fraud are common challenges and risks when making an online transaction. This means that your donation tool should be PCI compliant or certified.
The Payment Card Industry (PCI) has set Data Security Standards to ensure that customer information and data are safeguarded. All online payments should be handled through a tool that follows these standards. PCI compliance is recommended for all online merchants.
Your payment processing tool should also be able to process ACH Debit and Credit payments, allowing donors to pay most comfortably. If they choose to send a recurring gift, make sure your payment processor has a way to save their payment information for easy gift-giving in the future.
5. Accessibility and compliance
The best nonprofit websites prioritize accessibility and ease of use.
Web content shouldn’t discriminate against location, language, device, or ability. If you’re not keeping accessibility in mind for your online donation page, you might be excluding entire groups of people.
For example, let’s say your donation form doesn’t work on mobile devices. It’s thus inaccessible to mobile donors, meaning you’re missing out on a major giving opportunity.
While ensuring your donation page is easily navigable and usable is essential, for it to be considered fully accessible, it should also be compliant with relevant laws, including the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination against those with disabilities.
Here are some quick tips to make sure your online donation page is accessible and compliant:
- Ensure that it is optimized for any device
- Don’t use bright colors or other sensory data to relay important information
- Clearly label all donation form fields and buttons
- Provide alternative text with any graphics or media
- Provide a clear structure and tab order for each page on your site
Keeping accessibility and compliance in mind is necessary to ensure your mission reaches as broad an audience as possible. For a more in-depth look at how your online donation page stands regarding accessibility and compliance, consider working with a web designer or web design consultant experienced in the nonprofit sector.
Your online donation page can either help boost conversions and fundraising rates, or it can be the barrier that inadvertently deters new potential supporters.
Make sure you’re facilitating a seamless giving experience and including opportunities for additional engagement and increased fundraising. The tips in this guide should give you a solid foundation and some next steps to keep in mind as you move forward in your donation page journey.
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