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Five Ways to Improve Online Donation Forms

Your nonprofit’s mission is what inspires people to donate in support of your work, but there’s more to securing financial contributions than running compelling and effective programs – the forms supporters donate through matter too. You need to make your case to potential donors clearly and succinctly, structure your content so it’s easy to complete online transactions, and properly thank and acknowledge those who give. Once you’ve chosen the right donation tool for your nonprofit, use the tips below to make sure your donation forms aren’t holding back your campaign results.

Use Strong Images and Stories

Pictures and stories help convey the mission of an organization. Your images should have clear connections to your work, and your text should explain where the donations will go and how your nonprofit will use them. Most people are visiting your donation form to give, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need a little nudge. Be specific about the direct impact of donations by telling the personal story of someone positively affected by your work. Keep your donation forms fresh by scheduling regular updates and changes to their content, particularly if you’re asking the same individuals to donate multiple times a year. If you have big events, swap in photos that reflect your organization’s activities and priorities when they’re timely. When you end programs or add new ones don’t forget to update your donation forms when you update your main website.

Bottom Line: Use powerful photos to inspire donors, and make sure your text is both compelling and specific. Don’t be vague when it comes to where the money is going or how it will be used.

Limit Your Questions and Calls-to-Action

Most nonprofits have a lot going on, and it can be tempting to try and jam as much information and as many questions as possible into your donation form. Resist that urge. We recommend asking your donors to answer only the questions needed to process their donation and nothing more. Especially if you don’t have an immediate use for less critical information, don’t bog your forms down with things that might slow people down. The same goes for links to event registration, alerts, or other actions people can take. You don’t want anything to distract people from giving, which is why we suggest simple wrappers for donation pages that have a limited number of links to other content. One thing to pay close attention to in our post-GDPR world is the ability to opt in or out of your email list (particularly if you’re emailing potential donors in the EU).

Bottom Line: Don’t overwhelm your page with extra questions or actions. The less distracted people are by the page, the more focused they can be on completing their donation.

Don’t Forget to Thank Donors

A simple thank you can go a long way. It’s true with in-person interactions and it’s true with online giving. When you set up your donation page take the time to customize the thank you page as well. Put thought into a genuine and heartfelt message and include another inspiring image. Unlike the donation page, your thank you page is the ideal place to include additional actions people can take or other ways they can get involved. And don’t forget to add social sharing functionality so your supporters can tell their friends and family why they love your organization. Be just as thoughtful about your email autoresponders. As you learn more about your donors you can segment your list and create multiple automated email pathways to target different people who have given different amounts or are passionate about particular issues.

Bottom Line: Don’t overlook thanking your donors. Use web pages and emails to give them other ways to get involved with your organization.

Prioritize Recurring Donations

It’s fairly standard for nonprofit donation pages to offer a recurring option for donations, but it’s important to consider where on your page contributors can select this option. The choice to give once or at regular intervals should come before the option to select how much a person is going to give. Typically, once someone selects the amount they’re going to donate, they won’t go back and change it to a smaller amount in order to give monthly. You want to get them thinking about the recurring gift first, and then have them choose the amount after they’ve committed to a schedule they’re comfortable with.

Bottom Line: Your donation form fields should be placed in the order you want people to make decisions, so put frequency first and then amount.

Make Sure Your Page is Mobile Responsive

According to the 2018 M+R Benchmarks Study, “desktop users represented 50% of the traffic to nonprofit sites, they generated 68% of the donations and 76% of the revenue.” That means 32% of donations are coming from mobile donors – nearly one-third of gifts. So, it’s no secret your donation pages should be mobile responsive and feature clickable buttons whenever possible. Trying to check a tiny radio button on a phone is much harder than pushing a larger and easier to read button. Also think about the length of your page and how much scrolling it will require on a phone. If you have the right tools and enough time, it might be worth A/B testing two versions of your page – one where all steps are on a single page, and another where you click through to multiple pages – to see which nets higher results.

Bottom Line: While not yet a majority, mobile donations make up a large piece of the pie. Make sure your pages look good, and work well, at any size.

Potential donors are receiving fundraising requests all year long, so it’s critical that organizations do what they can to stand out from the crowd. Designing beautiful and functional donation pages is one way to do that and it’s a specialty here at Firefly Partners. If you think your nonprofit’s fundraising forms need some improvements, click here to get in touch with us today.

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