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Perfecting Your Digital Tools: Donation Page Best Practices

Even before the pandemic changed many aspects of our daily lives, virtual fundraising in the nonprofit sector was becoming more prevalent with each passing day. Now, due to social distancing guidelines, it’s absolutely imperative that your organization has an effective way to raise funds using digital resources. 

This makes having a well-designed website incredibly important for your organization, and one of the most important tools on that site is your donation page. 

Your nonprofit’s donation page is where many of your valued supporters go to contribute to your mission. Specifically, your small to mid-sized donors or new donors are likely to contribute via digital resources, making it a popular tool among many of your supporters. 

Here at Donately, we recognize the importance of a well-designed donation page, having helped thousands of nonprofits optimize their tools. Based on our experience and extensive research on the topic, we’ve compiled some of the best practices that we’ve discovered for designing effective donation pages. We’ve pulled some of our favorites for this article, including: 

  1. Limit the donation page required forms. 
  2. Mobile-optimize your donation form. 
  3. Be sure it’s easy to find your donation page. 
  4. Customize your donation page branding.
  5. Provide suggested giving levels. 

This article provides an effective overview of these best practices to help nonprofits like yours get started. But, if you’re looking for more in-depth coverage about these recommendations, check out Donately’s guide on donation page design

Ready to learn more? Let’s dive a little deeper into the best practices for your most important digital fundraising tool. 

1. Limit the donation page required forms.

One of the most prominent issues that nonprofits face regarding their donation page is a high rate of donor abandonment. Donor abandonment is what occurs when supporters reach your donation page, but for one reason or another, never finish filling out the required information in order to contribute. In other words, they abandon the donation partway through.  

While some donor abandonment is to be expected from any online forms, reducing its effects as much as possible is one of the best ways to maximize the use of this essential fundraising tool. In order to reduce your donor abandonment, your nonprofit should carefully consider your donation page’s blueprint

Streamlining the forms on the donation page and limiting the amount of information you require from your supporters helps propel donors through the donation process quickly, giving them fewer opportunities to second-guess and abandon their gift. 

We recommend that nonprofits only require the following information:

  • The supporter’s name
  • Email address
  • Payment information

On the donation confirmation page or follow-up communications, you can ask supporters for more additional helpful information such as their employer name (for potential corporate philanthropy opportunities), their phone number, their connection to your cause, and other valuable data. 

2. Mobile-optimize your donation form.

According to Double the Donation’s fundraising statistics, over half of all nonprofit website traffic last year came from mobile devices, while the number of online donation transactions completed on mobile devices increased by 50%. 

This means that your nonprofit will likely lose valuable support if your online donation page is not easily usable on mobile devices. 

 Mobile-optimizing your donation form requires your nonprofit to invest in online donation technology that offers mobile accessibility options. These options will help by:

  • Resizing images to fit the size of the screen on which they appear.
  • Resizing text so that supporters don’t need to scroll left to right in order to read each line. 
  • Ensuring all buttons and calls-to-action can be viewed as easily on a mobile device as on a computer screen. 

The other important thing for your organization to think about when it comes to a mobile-optimized donation page is how quickly the page loads. While desktop users might be more willing to wait and allow websites to load information, mobile users are much less likely to do so. 

In fact, 53% of mobile users will abandon a webpage if it takes over 3 seconds to load. Because of this, you’ll want to check the speed of your donation page both on desktop and on mobile to make sure that you’ve maximized the loading speed. 

3. Be sure it’s easy to find your donation page.

Another issue that nonprofits frequently run into when it comes to virtual fundraising opportunities is ensuring that their supporters can easily find the donation page in order to contribute. 

Your nonprofit’s supporters should never struggle to find your donation page. As soon as they hear about your organization via your marketing materials, it should be clear to the supporter how and where they can give to support your mission. 

Here are some of the popular strategies that nonprofits use to ensure donors can easily find the donation page: 

  • Add a “Donate” button to your website. When supporters hear about your organization, the first place they’ll likely go to learn more about your mission is your website. Once there, you know that they’re interested in your cause, which is the first hurdle in capturing support. Adding an eye-catching button at the top of the page (usually the top right corner) is an effective way to show supporters a quick way to get involved. 
  • Link supporters to the donation page. When you send out digital marketing materials such as social media posts, emails, newsletters, and donation letters, be sure to direct supporters further down the conversion funnel. You can do this by providing a link directly to your organization’s donation page. This should also be done in an eye-catching format such as with a colorful button. 
  • Make sure your page is easily shareable. Don’t rely solely on your organization’s marketing materials to reach your supporters. Rather, allow your donors to promote your nonprofit’s mission as well by sharing their engagement online. After the donation has been submitted, provide social sharing options that allow supporters to share their involvement with their family and friends, encouraging them to also contribute.

As you craft your strategy for launching your online fundraising campaign, make sure you always consider the “next-step” that supporters can take with regard to your mission. This crucial call-to-action is crucial for engaging your supporters and driving deeper relationships with your nonprofit.  

4. Customize your donation page branding.

In addition to easily locating your nonprofit’s donation page, it should be a smooth process when your supporters navigate to the page. You can achieve this smooth transition by maintaining consistent branding across your nonprofit’s donor-facing materials.  

When you designed your nonprofit’s website, you likely decided on very specific design elements to include. You chose specific visual elements such as:  

  • A specific font in which you’d write website copy. 
  • Colors with which you would display information.
  • A logo that would represent your cause.  

As you design your donation page, make sure to maintain this same visual branding. 

Nonprofits may find it jarring if they navigate from your well-branded website or marketing materials to a donation page that looks nothing like the resource they just left. They may even fear that they’ve been directed to a third-party website that has nothing to do with your organization and abandon their contribution. 

Consistency in branding visuals is an easy way for your nonprofit to signal to your supporters that all of your digital resources are connected and trustworthy. 

5. Provide suggested giving levels.

Put yourself in your donor’s shoes for a moment. You’ve discovered a nonprofit with a mission that intrigues you greatly. You care a lot about the cause and would like to contribute to it. Therefore, you navigate to a well-designed donation page where it’s easy to give. 

However, there’s a burning question in your mind: how much should you give? In your budget, you have around an extra $100 available that you could contribute, but should you give all of it? How much do other people usually contribute to this cause? 

Many donors don’t know exactly how much to give to nonprofits and they’ll probably pause before filling out the amount on the donation page. 

As an organization, you can make it easier for supporters to decide the proper donation amount with suggested giving amounts. Suggested giving amounts have a few immediate benefits: 

  • Supporters can more easily pick an amount to contribute, speeding up their donation process. 
  • Those who may have originally donated less than the amount suggested are more likely to increase the size of their donation. 
  • You have the opportunity to communicate impact upfront when associating each giving level with the items it can purchase or the people it can help. 

Below the suggested giving levels, we recommend also offering supporters the opportunity to cover the payment processing fees associated with their contribution. This means their entire donation will be directed to your mission instead of toward fees. 

By investing in the right donation tools, you can easily offer these options to your supporters and make the giving process a breeze. If you’re unsure where to start, kick off your research into the best online giving software with guides like this one.

About the Author

Andrew Berry is the Head of Marketing and Customer Success for Donately. After getting involved with nonprofits at a young age, he discovered a passion for helping the organizations that are making the world a better place. Knowing how vital online fundraising has become, his goal is to help nonprofits raise more money online each year! In his spare time, you will find him cooking up dinner, playing with his dog or cheering on Boston sports teams.