26 Donation Page Best Practices For Nonprofits – Tips and Examples

Great donation pages inspire people to spend more time learning about your organization and your need for donations, and eventually, give to your nonprofit. We have 27 proven best practices to help you build and design the most effective donation page. There are additional resources including successful examples in this article. Keep reading!

12 minutes read
26 Donation Page Best Practices For Nonprofits – Tips and Examples

More often than not, donations are the lifeline of nonprofit organizations. They are pivotal in furthering your impact and ensuring financial sustainability. Many 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. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to build and maintain a steady flow of income for your organization, like employing donation page best practices 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 main purpose: increasing donations.

Follow the guidelines outlined below, and you’ll likely increase the amount you raise online via your donation page. Let’s dive in! 


Why do Great Donation Pages Matter?


1. Online donations are a must for every nonprofit

In 2023, online giving totaled $3.1 billion on Giving Tuesday, marking a 0.6% increase in online donations from the previous year. 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.


2. Conversion rates can change the game

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 6 times as much money on average.


3. Shareability and data tracking can revolutionize your fundraising

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.


27 Donation Page Best Practices to Inspire Your Online Fundraising

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.

Also, be sure to 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.

Get Started With Donorbox


1. Make sure your online donation page is easy to find

Regardless of how well-designed and functional your donation page for fundraising is, it won’t matter unless your donors can find it.


Ensure donation links/buttons stand out

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.

world wild life donation page


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.


 Your call to action should be everywhere

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, and videos. For nonprofits, calls to action are almost always donation calls. Strategically place donation calls throughout your website.


2. Include a compelling “why”

Not every visitor to your website visits 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.

Amnesty International

WHY DONATE TO AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL?

We are a movement that produces extraordinary results.

Since 1961, we’ve helped free over 50,000 people who have been unjustly imprisoned.

Together we’ve brought torturers to justice, we’ve exposed the truth about human rights violations, and we have made those in power change their ways.

We work together for human rights for everyone, everywhere.

Kiva

Dreams are universal. Opportunity is not. By lending as little as $25, you can help people around the world create opportunity for themselves and their communities.


3. Use fundraising software to build your donation page

An online fundraising software like Donorbox will make constructing your donation pages much easier and will provide you with many features and benefits, such as:

  • Pre-filled custom amounts with descriptions to let your donors feel great by knowing what they’re contributing to
  • Integrated employer donation matching
  • Recurring giving options. Place a recurring giving option on your form to see higher donor retention rates
  • Optimization for desktop computers, mobile phones, and tablets
  • Accepting donations on your Facebook Page
  • Donation ‘thermometer’ to encourage more donations
  • PDF receipts, and other features that will help you raise more money

4. Customize your donation page

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.

Let our experts Cara Augspurger and Bobby-Jo Rockstrom tell you how to tweak your donation page design to create a great donation experience on this below podcast episode. 

Create a Customized Donation Page


Here are some customizations you must include:

  • Pick colors that match your brand
  • Place your logo
  • Add a compelling background
  • Add a disclaimer to tell donors where their donation will be used
  • Add your donation policy
  • Add short descriptions of the impact different donation amounts will have
  • Add details for how donors can continue supporting you in different ways

how to make a donation page

Donorbox donation forms are easy to customize, helping you design a neat and appealing donation page.


5. Optimize the page for mobile 

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 donate 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.


6. Pre-select and display suggested donation amounts

Your suggested ask amounts – those you use to encourage donors to give certain 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 with these giving levels, allowing them to decide how much they are willing to give while still guiding them toward those that will make a real difference.

Great donation pages

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


7. Encourage recurring donations

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.

Good donation pages
Enable recurring donations and encourage donors to give monthly

8. Offer different payment options

Giving donors different ways to make their donations 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 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.


9. Keep information on one page – but use a multi-step form

To keep the donor experience straightforward, keep your donation page to a single page on your website. This means that your donors should not have to navigate away from this page to give. For example, don’t include your call to action and impact story, and then require users to click yet another button to get to your donation form. 

The easier the process, the more likely a donor is to see it through to the end. What this doesn’t mean, however, is including a long, single-step donation form on this page. Embedding a multi-step donation form into your donation page keeps your donors in one place, but still avoids the cognitive overload that can happen when looking at too many pieces of information or fields to fill out at once. Multi-step forms are also more mobile-friendly, more appealing to the eye, and are proven to increase conversions. 


10. Keep it simple and clear

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 on 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.


11. Provide social proof

Social proof, which is showing that other people are supporting your mission, can be extremely powerful. Adding a donor wall to your page to show that others are giving to your cause will increase others’ trust in your organization, making them more likely to donate as well.


12. Include custom fields

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.

Donation page best practices

For example, you can add questions to ask if your donor is interested in volunteering, how they found out about your organization, etc.


13. Provide multiple payment options

Donors like options, and that includes being able to choose how they give. Add multiple payment options to your form, including credit and debit cards, direct debits, Google Pay, Apple Pay, and more to ensure you cover all of your bases. With Donorbox, you can enable UltraSwift™ Pay to enable your donors to give up to 4x faster by using digital wallet payments!


14. Embed your donation form on your donation page

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.

If you do need to redirect donors to a third-party website to give for any reason, consider using a custom domain so that donors are still under the impression that they are on your website.


15. Test different button text

The text on your donate button should be 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”, or “Donate Now”.


16. Enable donors to cover processing fees

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 choose to cover the processing fees.

Donation page best practices

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.


17. Follow accessibility guidelines

Complying with web accessibility guidelines ensures your donation page is 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, among several other requirements.

Donorbox donation forms that you can embed in your website or that come included with your Donorbox-hosted donation page meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) at level AA. They are optimized to function well on all devices.

Rest assured – with Donorbox, your donation pages are always accessible to everyone!


18. Make your nonprofit’s logo stand out

Adding your nonprofit’s logo to your donation page assures the donor that they are giving to the right organization. A visible logo provides a sense of safety and security for visitors. 


19. Pay attention to the headline

Your donation page headline – or title – should indicate the content of the page. Keep it short and engaging, and make sure your keywords are towards the beginning (for SEO purposes).


20. Menu or no menu?

A lot of nonprofits opt to include their website’s main menu/navigation to provide visitors with more information about their nonprofit and other ways to get engaged. However, this menu can distract visitors and take them elsewhere on the website. Consider not including a menu on your donation page.


21. A picture is worth a thousand words

Humans are visual beings. Your donation page should include captivating images that are high-quality, powerful, and visually appealing. If needed, you can 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.


22. Focus on the URL

Your nonprofit donation page URL should be short and compelling and contain your focus word. Very importantly, it should also 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. Visitors are more likely to donate if they know their donation is secure.


23.  Be mindful of the “fold”

This is the space your visitor sees without scrolling. All essential information should be placed within this area, including your call to action and multi-step donation form. 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).


24. Disclose how donations are used

63% of donors want to know how their money will make a difference. 

Clearly define what percentages of your organization’s donations go to research, treatment, education, administration, etc to improve transparency and build donor trust. Or, if you use giving levels, tie each donation amount to a tangible gift.


25. Have a thank-you page

With so much focus on the donation page, many nonprofits forget to create a thank-you page. This is the page the donor will see after donating.  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.


26. Offer a “share” option

It is also vital that your nonprofit encourages donors to share the page on social media, invite friends to donate, and provide other resources for donors. This is possible by adding social sharing buttons to your page.


27. Provide information on other ways to give

Including information about other ways to give will result in higher levels of donor engagement. Involve donors across multiple initiatives, whether by partaking in a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, establishing corporate giving, joining a membership program, or giving crypto or stock.

Just be careful about putting too many ways to support without giving funds on your fundraising page. When given several options to get involved with your organization, many supporters will choose the “free” option, such as volunteering, over making a financial contribution. While bringing in volunteers is important, you want your donation page to be focused on raising monetary funds.


4 Best Nonprofit Donation Page Examples

Here are some of the best case practices when it comes to designing powerful and effective donation pages.


1. Code for America

Best donation pages

Why do we like this donation page?

The donation page communicates the donor’s impact with real numbers on the right-hand side of the donation page.

Code for America 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.


2. Oxfam America

online charity donation pages

Why do we like this donation 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 the organization.


3. Pencils of Promise

good donation pages

Why do we like this donation page?

Their donation page is very minimal, which eliminates distractions.

The donation popup keeps the visitor focused on donating.


4. Questbridge

Great donation pages

Why do we like this donation page?

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.


Bonus – For more such inspiring examples and in-depth insights into building a donation page, read our article comprising the 13 best donation page examples.


Conclusion

While there are a lot of ways to improve your donation page and encourage visitors to donate, 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 design is perfect 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.

Ilma Ibrisevic is a content creator and nonprofit writer. She’s passionate about meaningful work, sustainability, and social movements. If she’s not working, she’s obsessing over coffee or cooking. You can connect with her on Linkedin.

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