Over the past few years, charitable giving has evolved with online donations rising as its new star.
If you’re not including a digital giving option by now, your organization is almost certainly missing out. According to Nonprofits Source, online giving has seen consistent year over year growth (up over $10 billion since 2012). Further, 54% of donors prefer giving online via card.
Simply incorporating an online donation form in your gift collection strategy, however, isn’t enough to benefit from the rise in popularity. This giving page needs to go above and beyond, satisfying two fundamental requirements for supporters to use it: It needs to be trustworthy, and it needs to be more convenient than other methods.
There are a few easy considerations your organization can check right now to ensure a successful donation page. Something as simple as creating a more attractive page, to more complex ideas like optimizing your payment processing procedures, can increase your page’s donor conversion rate.
This guide will explore the following tips to create a donation page that converts:
- Don’t neglect page design.
- Remember mobile-accessibility.
- Make recurring giving easy.
- Suggest gift amounts.
- Nail down your payment processing.
- Keep your gratitude personal.
- Consider bringing on a consultant.
1. Don’t neglect page design.
When you’re out shopping with friends, what draws you to a store? Showstopping window displays and long-time favorite shops are common answers here.
Your giving page is the same way— if it’s not attractive and familiar, supporters won’t be as likely to be drawn to interact with it! The “meat and potatoes” of your page will be discussed later in this piece, but first and foremost, don’t neglect design when creating a giving page that converts.
There are a few best practices to keep in mind when designing your giving page:
- Brand it to your organization’s main website. This builds trust in your supporters by creating a familiar experience.
- Tell your story, but be concise. Remind supporters of why they should give, but do so in a way that’s conducive to the short internet attention span.
- Make it visually attractive. A more attractive page makes for a more enjoyable giving experience overall.
- Keep it simple. Don't make the mistake of trying to get the donor to fill in all the fields in your database. Only ask for the information you need to process the gift.
We know that custom-branded donation pages on a website can raise up to 6 times more money for an organization, so design updates are a valuable investment. If you’re preparing to overhaul your organization’s website and giving page, check out Morweb’s listing of the best nonprofit websites for design inspiration.
2. Remember mobile-accessibility.
Mobile web traffic is on the rise, accounting for 40% of all visitors to nonprofit websites in recent years. If these supporters can’t access your giving page because it’s not mobile-optimized, you’re going to miss out on those gift opportunities.
There are a few different considerations when it comes to making your giving page mobile-friendly.
Choose a mobile-responsive design so your page will adapt to fit the screen on which it’s viewed, desktop or mobile. You can also work with an adaptive design, which will change how your content is laid out for optimal viewing on both mobile and desktop.
From there, simplify your content by prioritizing the information you want users to see first and arranging it in a single column. Finally, clean up your giving form so that it only asks for the basic information you need to accept a gift from supporters.
3. Make recurring giving easy.
Did you know that 45% of donors are enrolled in a monthly giving program, with the average monthly gift set at $52/month? This comes out to $624/year, significantly higher than the average one-time gift of $128, according to the Nonprofits Source piece referenced earlier.
It’s clear that recurring gifts are a powerful tool in amplifying the impact of your supporters and extending that impact through regular gifts throughout the year. There are two easy ways to encourage recurring gifts using your donation page:
- Include a recurring gift button. As suggested in Donately’s guide to donation page best practices, simply include a button where supporters can begin the recurring gift process directly through your form. Ensure the option is clearly displayed and easy to access.
- Host a donor-managed portal. Allow donors to log in and make changes to their recurring giving processes at their own convenience. This includes changing payment method, schedule, and amount.
4. Suggest gift amounts.
The benefit of suggested gift amounts is simple: humans are inherently drawn to social norms. Supporters want to give amounts similar to those of their peers, so if they’re greeted with a suggested gift amount higher than what they originally intended to give, they’re more likely to increase their contribution to match it.
Asking for donations can be stressful for some, especially when it comes to asking for specific gift amounts. Your digital giving form provides the perfect conduit for asking for specific amounts of money, politely.
Include a few suggested gift amount buttons on your giving page to get the most benefit from this phenomenon. Make sure the amounts you suggest are actually reflective of the average gifts coming into your organization so no supporter is deterred by inordinately high suggestions.
5. Nail down your payment processing.
Nonprofit donation processing is the behind-the-scenes process that allows your organization to accept gifts through digital methods. Not only can it be a confusing process, but it’s also one you’re unlikely to have much control over once you choose your online donation tool— so it’s important to understand before you invest.
There are a few payment processing features to investigate before choosing an online giving tool to create your donation page:
- Does the tool accept multiple payment types? This includes credit/debit cards and ACH direct deposits.
- Does the tool integrate with any popular payment processors? Integrations with popular tools like PayPal create a familiar, comfortable, and often faster giving process for supporters.
- Is the payment processor secure? Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance is necessary for any tool that handles sensitive credit card data.
- What is the processing fee? Each payment processor will charge for their services differently, most often through some sort of per-transaction processing fee.
Choosing a payment processor that both your organization, and its supporters, can trust is crucial in hosting an online donation page at all, and it’s worth spending extra time exploring before investing. There are some processors on the market that specialize in offering features and options designed just for nonprofits, so do your research!
6. Keep your gratitude personal.
Just because online giving forms lack the personal touch of say, writing a check and delivering it by hand to your nonprofit’s headquarters, that doesn’t mean your gratitude can be any less personal.
Effectively thanking donors post-gift is especially important in building relationships for the long term, something that every nonprofit can improve and benefit from. If you want supporters to continue giving through your online giving page, they need to know their gift is impactful and appreciated.
Even if your online donation form triggers an automatic thank-you response, make sure these communications are personalized. Including simple customizations such as the supporter’s name, donation amount, and initiative supported can go a long way in improving your donor retention.
Then, consider going a step further than automated communications in thanking supporters, from hand-written thank-you notes to donor gratitude events.
7. Consider bringing on a consultant.
Few, if any, nonprofits are operating with a full-time IT expert on staff. Meanwhile, managing the back-end of a website and giving page can be an overwhelming process for those that have little prior experience with that type of technology.
If that sounds like your organization, consider bringing on a nonprofit technology consultant to create a plan for efficient digital fundraising. These consultants can help your nonprofit when:
- You’re implementing a new tech tool.
- You’re integrating multiple software.
- Your software isn’t functioning how it should.
- You’re struggling to maximize your technology.
- You don’t know how to analyze the success of the tools you’re using.
If any of the previous six donation page strategies confused you, or you felt unsure regarding how to implement them, a nonprofit tech consultant can help guide the way. Learn more about nonprofit strategy consulting through this guide.
Drawing back to the Nonprofits Source piece referenced in the introduction one more time, we can see that revenue from online fundraising grew by 23% in recent years and is still on the rise.
To capitalize on this increase, your organization has to provide a digital giving option to your donors. However, simply hosting an online donation page isn’t enough to motivate supporters to actually give.
You need to create a page that’s trustworthy and easier to use than other methods. Use these seven strategies to create a donation page that’s a helpful resource for your organization and its supporters alike.