12 Actionable Tips to Boost Online Donations

Online fundraising is run of the mill these days. But if you aren't optimizing your online fundraising presence to bring in more donations, you could be missing out – big time. In this article, we'll share 12 tips and best practices to help you boost your online donations.

7 minutes read
12 Actionable Tips to Boost Online Donations

Your website is perfect, but your online donation form does not bring in the amount your budget requires. This is a frustration many nonprofits face. While a good-looking website is nice, the real game-changer is your donation form.

Website visitors are in a hurry, so you will want to make the giving process as painless as possible. With that in mind, you will want to make a few changes to your online donation form to increase donations. In this article, we share donation page best practices and tips to boost your online donations.

1. Make your Donation Button Easy to Find

The location of your donation button can mean the difference between getting that donation or not.

Most visitors to your website already know about you. You have either made them curious or won them over at an event or with a social media post or mailing you sent out. When these visitors come to your website, they already want to donate, so you have won half the battle.

Website viewers need to see your donate button within the first second of viewing your website. The average time spent on a website is 10-20 seconds. The human eye travels automatically to the top left, and right side of your website, so the common best practice is to place your logo on the left and the donate button on the right.

Another best practice is to use bright colors and enticing text. Many nonprofits will use a red or orange color for their donate button. “Donate Now” is a common title for the donate button, but others have chosen “Give Today,” “Make a Donation,” “Support.” You can be creative, but make sure the average website visitor knows what you are asking.

2. Continue to ask for a donation

For those website visitors who have not decided to donate, you want to include links to your donate form throughout your website. Add calls to action in the middle and bottom of each webpage where it makes sense. Here are a few ways to make your call to action compelling:

“Keep it Simple, Silly” (KISS)

Nonprofits often fall into the trap of using too much jargon. Perhaps your organization is in the medical field or will need to use law terms to describe what your organization does, but you must use these sparingly. For your calls to action, keep it as simple as possible. Tell your donors why you need their help.

Include a story

The best way to get your donors’ attention is with a compelling story on your donation page. Seeing your organization in action can make more of a difference than any statistic. If your organization helps children or families, your stories will appeal to a vast audience. If you are an organization that works with the environment, you can include a story of your impact on a specific species or place. Your website is the best place to tell your story. Visit our Guide to Nonprofit Storytelling for more tips.  

Create a sense of urgency

Which one gets your attention? “Give today to save the spotted owl” or “You only have three more days to help save the spotted owl.” It is the last one, right? Well, your donors are no different.

The examples above are an exaggeration, but the concept is still valid. You have a better chance of getting a donation if your donation page creates a sense of urgency.

3. Use a goal meter

A great way to add a sense of urgency to your donation page is with a goal meter.

Does your campaign have a goal? Of course, it does, so why not use that goal to raise more funds? Donors are excited when they see how their gift makes a difference. With Donorbox’s goal meter, they will see their donation added in real-time.

While you wait for your goal to be met, you can send donors an update on where their donations are going and remind them of how much you still need to raise. In addition to campaign goals, you can also ask one of your major donors to match an amount. Use this amount, and the matching gift, as a way to get your donors excited. 

Use goal meter to boost online donations

4. List Donation Amounts

Donors have a gift amount in mind when visiting your website, but that does not mean the amount cannot be changed. It is recommended that you offer six different amounts. These amounts should start at your average donation to encourage larger gifts.

Since you likely got the donors’ attention somewhere else, you had the chance to target their gift to the campaign you wanted. If you have a detailed database, you know how much they regularly give and have noticed which tier they match. If that is the case, you already know if they are a high-level, mid-level, or low-level donor. That information makes the next step much easier.

If you target a high-level donor to a donation amount starting at $10, you may be in danger of losing a larger amount. A low-level donor sent to a donate page asking for $1,000 may not donate at all. Creating different donate pages for these donors will help increase donations.

When you send a donor a call to action, link their form to one of three pages. Each page will have the average amount for their donor-tier. Once they click on their donor page, you can push for a higher donation amount. You may also want to try listing the amounts in descending order. This can create the idea that the smallest donation you are asking for is lower than it is.

Finally, you need to include an “other amount” option. This gives your donors the chance to write in that gift they had in mind. Who knows, they might give more than you expect.

Choose donation amount

5. Add amount descriptions to show the impact of the donation

While most will want to give, they may need a little more incentive to give more. A compelling story can catch your donors’ attention and even encourage a larger donation.

Adding a picture of a young child and telling the story of why they need healthcare or books for school will go a long way.

Once you have the donors’ attention from these stories and pictures, you can entice donors more with a picture and description of each donation amount. Adding a specific reason for a donation amount will encourage donors to give more as well. Which would you choose? Donate $100 or Donate $100 to help a child finish the school year without debt?

Include pictures of your organization in action, along with a specific example of how their $100 donation may be used. Remember, you will need unrestricted gifts too, so do not forget to add a general option for donations. Make this one clear to your donors and explain how this type of gift can really help.

Make it as easy as possible for donors to choose where they want to donate. Donorbox includes a designation feature with their donation pages. You can have special projects, specific campaigns, and even scholarships.

choose amount for donation

6. Enable ACH Donations

ACH donations are automatic transfers of money from one account to another. This simplicity of this system appeals to both sides. There is no expiration date and no extra paperwork. When using Donorbox for ACH payments, donors never have to type in their routing and account numbers. Using only their bank username and password makes the process easy and more secure.

When making a credit card payment on Stripe, the fees are 2.2% + $0.30. Donorbox processing fee is 1.5%. As the donation amount increases, so do the fees. An ACH payment fee with Donorbox is capped at $25. Fees for donations over $1,667 will not go over that cap.

Whether it is the nonprofit or the donor who pays the fees, the savings is appreciated. Nonprofits like the cost-saving, and donors like the fact that more of their donation goes where it is needed.

7. Allow Donors to Pay the Processing Fee Feature

Processing fees can really add up. Nonprofits only get around $98 from a $100 credit card donation. Donors may not realize that fees are taken out of their donation without you telling them.

Donorbox allows donors to pay these fees. With only a click, you can add this option to your donor page. The fee will be added to their donation amount.

If you want to learn more about donation processing and its related terms, check out our guide here on Nonprofit Donation Processing.

8. Include Company Matching Donations

Recurring donations are essential to nonprofit budgets. With only a little effort, nonprofits can turn one-time donors into monthly or quarterly donors. For more tips on making this transition, visit our article on How to Turn One-Time Donors Into Recurring Donors.

One way of turning one-time donors into recurring donors is to encourage matching donations. It has become popular for companies to match their employees’ contributions to charitable organizations. Many companies even offer to automatically take a donation out of their paycheck and match their gift.  Your nonprofit can benefit from this trend.

Donorbox has partnered with Double the Donation to simplify the corporate matching process. As you solicit donations, remind donors of this option and see your fundraising dollars increase.

boost donations with company matching

9. Make Sure Your Donation Form Is Readable

Now that you have finished creating the perfect donor form, you will want to make sure it is readable. There are a few things you need to check. When your donors click on the donor form, is it cut off? Do they need to scroll to see all the information? These are small annoyances that can get in the way of donors giving a gift. Donorbox Support can help you fix these irritations.

10. Ask Donors to Share Their Donations on Social Media

Marketing and donor solicitation cannot stop with the donation. Your donors are your biggest advocates and should be asked to spread the word when they can. One of the easiest ways to help them do that is to ask them to share their donation on social media.

Almost everyone has access to social media. Whether it is a Facebook page, Twitter account, or Instagram page, your donors have a way to reach out to their community. People love to share everything from a funny meme to what they had for dinner that night. Why not give your donors the chance to brag about their donation to your nonprofit?

After your donors finish their online donation, send a thank you message or email that includes a link to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Let them know how proud they should be of their donation, and ask them to share their impact on your nonprofit.

11. Ask Donors to Subscribe to Your Mailing List

Keeping your donors informed and excited is how you increase donations. Whether it is a new or regular donor, give them the option of signing up for your mailing list. Keep them updated with monthly newsletters and messages on the campaigns they have shown interest in the past.  

12. Disable reCAPTCHA

Google created reCAPTCHA to protect websites from spam. While the thought is nice, spam does not concern most people, and most spambots can bypass it anyway. The reCAPTCHA service can make your website confusing and hard to manage, resulting in fewer online donations. You can easily disable reCAPTCHA on your website by unchecking the invisible reCAPTCHA checkbox on your business settings.


It may seem cumbersome, but your donor form is a crucial part of your website. Everything from location to content and readability makes a difference. Each of the above steps can increase online donations and help you reach your fundraising goals.

Donorbox does its best to provide you with more ways to help you fundraise with our informational blog

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