More often than not, donations are the lifeline of nonprofit organizations. They are pivotal in furthering your impact and ensuring financial sustainability. A number of factors contribute to creating a solid donation base for your nonprofit. From attracting new donors and building relationships with current ones to thanking donors and maximizing the donation size – there are many steps you should be taking to keep the donations flowing into your nonprofit.
A donation page is one of the most important elements of a nonprofit website and should be the primary focus of your online fundraising efforts. The ultimate objective of a donation page is to convert visitors into donors.
But, if a donation page is disorganized, difficult to navigate, overwhelming, or confusing, it defeats its own purpose: increasing donations.
Your website can accomplish a variety of goals, but your donation page should seek to accomplish only one: a steady stream of online donations.
If you succeed to follow the simple guidelines outlined below, then you are likely to increase the amount you can raise online via your donation page.
In 2019, online giving totaled $511 million on Giving Tuesday, marking a 28% increase in online donations from the previous year. This amount further rose to $808 million in 2020. An online donation page probably shouldn’t be your only path to accepting donations, but it should be an important part of a holistic fundraising strategy.
A conversion rate looks at the percentage of unique donation page visitors that complete the transaction.
If you get 1,000 visits to your online donation form and 1% convert into donors, you’ll have 10 donors. If you get 1,000 visits to your online donation form and 3% of them convert into donors, you’ll have 30 donors. That’s a growth that shouldn’t be disregarded.
The average conversion rate for a nonprofit’s main donation page is 15 percent. Pre-selecting monthly giving on your donation page can increase conversions of monthly donations by up to 35%. And, custom-branded donation pages on a nonprofit’s website help raise up to 6 times as much money on average. (Source)
Unlike many other forms of donating (via a phone call, mail, or at a fundraiser event), donation pages are highly shareable. This makes them ideal for increasing your reach, and therefore the number of donations.
Furthermore, donation pages allow you to collect and track data that can inform your fundraising strategy (e.g. donation size, when the donation was made, who donated, how much, how they came to your website, etc.)
Check out some of the top donation software for nonprofits that allow you to create donation pages, forms, and buttons within minutes.
Now you know why great donation pages matter so much for nonprofits. But how do you ensure that yours is as great as it should be? Here is a list of 27 best practices to help you create one. But before that, do have a look at the below YouTube playlist comprising all the best practices’ videos specifically created by Donorbox to help nonprofits build a stunning as well as highly effective donation page for their noble missions.
27 donation page best practices to inspire your online fundraising –
Regardless of how well-designed and functional your donation page for fundraising is, it won’t matter unless your donors can find it.
a. Ensure donation links/buttons are easy to find.
A donor should be able to find your donation link within a couple of seconds of your donation page loading. A good case practice is to place the link on the top navigation found in the website’s header. Highlight this button/link, potentially by using a bright and eye-catchy color scheme. By placing an attention-grabbing “Donate Now” button on your website, you’ll increase the chances that supporters will get to your donation page.
b. The donation link should lead straight to the donation form.
When a donor clicks the ‘donate’ link/button, they should be immediately taken to the donation form. A common mistake is to insert a variety of other explanations or text in between those two stages. Although that usually comes out of a good intention (to inform donors of other ways to get involved or donate), any additional step lowers the conversion rate. Even registering or solving captchas before donating lowers the conversion rate.
c. Your call to action should be everywhere.
In order for donors to find your donation page, calls to action should be included in any and every communication towards your target audience i.e. emails, social media posts, videos. For nonprofits, calls to action are almost always donation calls. Strategically place donation calls throughout your website.
Not every visitor to your website visits with the intention to give. Most have to be persuaded. Having a brief, but enticing and compelling “why” helps with the convincing.
Your donation page shouldn’t feel like purely a payment processing form.
Instead, your donation form should gently remind people why they’ve decided to give to your organization.
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An online fundraising software will make constructing your own donation pages much easier and will provide you with a number of features and benefits, such as:
Check out the Donorbox solution to donation pages!
Building a brand takes time, work, and patience. And your donation page is an extension of your brand. Having your donation page branded and aligned with the rest of the website builds trust and credibility and increases the likelihood that the visitor will convert into a donor. Consistent branding not only makes your donation page look better, it also shows your donors that their donations are going to your organization, not just a random donation page.
Custom-branded donation pages on a nonprofit’s website help raise up to 6 times as much money on average.
Pro tip: Visually appealing donation pages are becoming increasingly important, especially to younger donors. 75% of young donors are turned off by out-of-date websites.
Here are some customizations you must include:
Donorbox donation forms are easy to customize, helping you design a neat and appealing donation page.
Your donation page should be mobile-friendly/responsive. This means the donation page will resize according to the device being used, allowing for optimal viewing. Our smartphones are becoming an increasingly popular way to connect, share, access information, and donate, and we have started expecting optimized pages when donating.
In 2020, 49% of global online traffic is mobile internet traffic. And 98.7% of social media users access websites or apps through a mobile device.
By incorporating mobile-responsive page design, nonprofits can increase their donations by 126% on average. If a visitor becomes frustrated when attempting to make a donation to your organization via a mobile device, chances are good that they will leave your site without giving.
The growth in mobile giving has been rising since the increase in the number of smartphone users. To capitalize on mobile fundraising, read our comprehensive guide on mobile giving and ride along with the trend.
The donation amounts should stand out on the page. There should be no distraction around this area, leaving your donation form the space to shine. It is generally recommended to provide your donors giving levels, allowing them to decide how much they are willing to give.
The vast majority of the top 100 nonprofits used an approach that included 4-5 suggested donations paired with the option to enter a custom amount. Around half of these organizations highlighted a default suggested value (usually the 2nd or 3rd option).
Lowest values: Most commonly $25-50
Highest Values: Most commonly $1000, but ranged from $250 to $5000
Donor retention rate is one of the most important metrics for a nonprofit. Recurring donors are incredibly valuable to nonprofits. Not only do most donations trickle in from existing donors, but gaining new relationships is always more costly than cultivating existing ones.
While there are numerous best practices for boosting donor retention rates, one of the easiest is to offer recurring donations as an option on your donation page.
When you offer recurring donations on your donation form, you not only make it easier for donors to give again and again (boosting your retention rate), but, on average, donation amounts increase.
Very few donors will log back on to donate every month, which is why automating the process makes all the difference.
Giving donors different ways to make their donation is vital to enhancing the donor experience.
Outlining all of the payment options you accept will make online giving more convenient for your donors because they’ll be able to choose the option that’s the most suitable for them.
The more options you provide, the more donor preferences you’ll accommodate. This, in turn, increases the likelihood of them donating.
On your form, list out all of the payment methods that your nonprofit can accept.
Donorbox donation form lets you accept donations via cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, low-fee ACH, SEPA bank transfers, and PayPal.
In order to keep the donor experience simple and straightforward, keep your donation page to one page with as few required fields as possible.
The easier the process, the more likely a donor is to see it through to the end. If a one-page donation form isn’t possible, be transparent about how many pages there are.
Probably the most important tip out there, it emphasizes that your nonprofit’s focus should not only be on directing possible donors to your donation page, but also providing them with a clear, simple, and exciting donor experience.
Your goal should always be that all those who have reached your donation page follow through and donate. To achieve this, keep your website simple and clear. Limit the amount of copy, images, media, and links to only what’s necessary, and organize your content in a way that feels very logical.
And remember, every extra step is another chance for the donor to get distracted or second-guess their decision.
Address the most common questions from your donors on your donation page. You can achieve this by simply adding or linking your top FAQs to the donation page. FAQs help establish donor trust and present your nonprofit as an accountable organization. A simple explanation to address the most common questions such as where will their donation and gifts go, information on donation tax-receipts can go a long way in nudging any hesitant donor toward trusting your organization.
Add fields to gather the information that will benefit your organization. On top of providing more options to your donor, this information can be used to qualify or categorize your donors.
For example, you can add questions to ask if your donor is interested in volunteering, or how did they find out about your organization, etc.
Offer alternate ways for your donors to get involved, this could be by volunteering, donating gifts, by helping raise funds via peer to peer fundraising, corporate giving, membership programs, or by getting involved in your other initiatives. Make sure these options are laid out effectively to your donors on your donation page. You just might be surprised at how many of your supporters opt for alternate ways to contribute.
You need to optimize your donation process such that your donor reaches the actual stage of donation within as few clicks as possible. That is why embedding your donation form is an effective and recommended practice. This also helps establish the donor’s trust in your organization which might be at risk if the donor is redirected to a third-party website.
Consider using the text on your donate button to read for effective, earnest, and compelling. Your donor should get a clear idea that after clicking on the button their donation form will be submitted, or that their donation will be concluded. For example, instead of “Donate” your donation button can read “Make a Donation”, “Submit the Donation”, “Act Now”, “Donate Now”.
By allowing your donors to cover the processing fees, you effectively increase your donation and your donor gets to contribute the exact amount they intend to donate for your cause. Donorbox’s donation form offers the option to let your donors chose to cover the processing fees.
Also, read our in-depth guide on nonprofit donation processing. This will help you get acquainted with how donation processing works and how it can impact your organization.
Complying with web accessibility guidelines will let your donation page be accessible to all, including people with disabilities or impairments. According to web accessibility guidelines, you must use high contrast colors, add alt text next to images, and clearly label fields with text outside each field.
This reinsures the donor that they are giving to the right organization. The logo provides safety and security for visitors. It is crucial to place your nonprofit logo to be clearly visible.
Your donation page title should indicate the content of the page. Keep it short, engaging, and make sure your keywords are towards the beginning (for SEO purposes).
A lot of nonprofits opt for including the menu/navigation in order to provide visitors more information about their nonprofit and other ways to get engaged. However, the menu can distract visitors and take them elsewhere on the website. Consider not including a menu on your donation page.
Humans are visual beings. Your donation page should include captivating images that are high-quality, powerful, and visually appealing. You can also use free stock photos to increase your visual appeal. Here are 90+ free stock photo & video sites your nonprofit can use to captivate the emotions
Your nonprofit donation page URL should be short and compelling and contain your focus word. Very importantly, it should start with https. The “s” at the end of the HTTP stands for SSL and allows all confidential information (e.g. credit card numbers) to be safely transmitted. Knowing their information is secure, visitors are more likely to donate.
This is the space your visitor sees without scrolling. All essential information should be placed within this area. Nonessential information should be placed towards the bottom of the page. This way the visitor doesn’t have to scroll down to search for crucial information (which can distract from donating).
63% of donors want to know how their money will be used by nonprofit organizations.
Clearly define what percentages of your organization’s donations go to research, treatment, education, administration, etc. Or, if you use giving levels, tie each donation amount to a tangible gift.
With so much focus on the donation page, many nonprofits forget to create a “thank you” page. This is the page the donor will be redirected to after making a donation. Thanking your donors is one of the most important elements of donor retention, and should not be skipped.
Bonus tip: You can also automate receipts, so donors will always be certain that you’ve received their gifts.
Alongside the “thank you” page, it is vital that your nonprofit encourages donors to share the page on social media, invite friends to donate, and provide other resources for donors.
Including information about other ways to give will result in higher levels of donor engagement. Involving donors across multiple initiatives is also a powerful way to increase the donor retention rate.
This gives your donors choice and flexibility, which increases the chance of them getting involved. Be careful about this not distracting from the main donation call.
Here are some of the best case practices when it comes to designing powerful and effective donation pages.
The donation page communicates the donor’s impact with real numbers on the right-hand side of the donation page so that visitors know exactly how their gift will be used.
Code for America clearly communicates the ‘why’ at the top and thanks to the donors.
The page is also relatively clean and straightforward with a simple header and no sidebars. Includes an easy step-by-step process and buttons that improve the donor’s user experience.
Although there is information on other ways to donate (giving through a workplace, giving through a donor fund, donating by mail or phone), that information is placed at the very bottom of the page.
The focus remains on donating here and now, via this donation page.
The page features powerful images and multiple giving options ($60, $100, $250).
It also displays top reviews, building trust for their organization.
Their donation page is very minimal, which eliminates distractions.
The donation popup keeps the visitor focused on donating.
The link/button for visitors to learn more about other ways to get involved is quote inconspicuous, but the opportunity is still there.
Questbridge provides its visitors with user-friendly buttons and a simple payment section that doesn’t clog up the page with excess boxes or information.
With very little extra information on their donate page, Questbridge keeps its visitors focused on donating.
While there are a lot of ways to improve your donation page and encourage visitors to make a donation, one thing is clear: simplicity trumps all when it comes to donation pages.
Improving your donation page is probably the single biggest bang-for-buck improvement you can make to your website and the most effective way to boost your fundraising efforts.
Implementing the tips above will ensure that your donation page is impeccably designed and offers a seamless donor experience. That way, it has the potential to engage visitors, make them believe in your cause, and drive donations – thus allowing your organization to more effectively fulfill its mission.