5 Ideas to Up Your Donation Page Conversion Rate

Donation form for a charity.
Giving donors lots of choices about the amount of their donation can help them make the final decision. This form is from the Boys and Girls Clubs of King County. See the entire form here. Screenshot by Joanne Fritz

Summary: If your nonprofit is trying to raise money online, you should be invested in increasing your donation page conversion rate.

By following these five steps, you’ll be able to improve that rate and receive more donations from people who care about your cause.

Imagine this: you’re shopping for a coffee mug online. You’ve done your research and have finally found the one you want.

It’s not too big or too small, it has a quirky phrase on the side, and it comes in your favorite color.

It’s the perfect mug.

But when you go to check out, the payment page is glitchy. Maybe it tells you that your mailing address is incorrect (even though you know it isn’t).

Perhaps it tells you that you’ve ordered a different kind of mug or, even worse, that the one you wanted is now out of stock.

How likely is it that you would continue to fill out your information and complete the transaction?

Most people would leave the payment page and look for their perfect mug elsewhere.

Now think of that same scenario with regard to your nonprofit’s online donation page.

If a donor cares enough about your cause to make it to your online donation form, you want to do everything you can to keep him there until he clicks the “Submit Donation” button.

Driving people away from your donation page is doing nothing to help your cause. Why not do everything you can to keep donors on your page?

Take a look at these five ways your nonprofit can give your donation page conversion rate the boost it needs.

1. Don’t hide your donation page.

If you are asking for donations online, you want to make your intentions clear. Once you’ve asked someone to make a donation, don’t make it hard for the donor to figure out how to do so. Hiding your donation page only makes it difficult for your supporters to give to your cause.

An easy way to fix this is to include a link, call to action, or “Donate Now” button on every page on your website, blog, newsletter, or anywhere else you’ve asked for a gift.

While that may seem like overkill, just think about this scenario:

One of your biggest advocates finds herself on a blog article on your website from a year ago. She is moved by what she reads and decides that she wants to donate to your cause.

However, because she is so far back in your blog’s archive, she has no easy way to reach your donation page.

She might search for a few minutes until she finds it, but she also might give up and move on to something else (maybe she’s also looking for the perfect mug!).

Your nonprofit missed out on a donation because you didn’t make your donation page easy to find.

If you are going to collect donations online, you must make your donation page prominent and easy to reach. Fundraising without a clear way for donors to give is guaranteed to be unsuccessful.

2. Make your donation page mobile friendly.

More and more donors are looking to give on the go. This means that many people are donating on their smartphones and tablets in addition to their laptops and desktops.

Is your nonprofit responding to this trend?

If not, it’s time to do something about it! Making your online donation page mobile responsive will help ensure that your tech-savvy donors can make contributions easily and efficiently.

Imagine that your nonprofit is hosting a fundraising event. You’ve spent countless hours preparing the venue, sending out invitations, and organizing your staff and volunteers.

When the big day arrives, several of your donors find themselves inspired enough to make donations to your organization. While some of them might have their checkbooks on them, several might not. How are they going to give to your nonprofit right then and there?

The answer is mobile responsive donation pages.

Most of your donors will have either their smartphones or tablets with them during a fundraising event.

Encourage them to donate online using those devices. You’ll avoid the risk of them forgetting to make a donation online between your event and the time they get home.

When you make your donation page mobile responsive, you increase the chances that donors who find themselves on your site on their smartphone or tablet will make it to the end of the donation process.

3. Explain where the donations are going.

Studies have found that only 4% of nonprofit websites explained how they use a giver’s donations.

Donors want to know where their donations are going, but many nonprofits expect supporters to contribute to their organization without giving them any information about how their donation will be used.

If you’re raising money for a capital campaign, for instance, you’ll want to make sure that the information related to that campaign is more specific than the information on a standard donation form.

Since the money you’re raising is going to a very particular area of your operations, the content of your capital campaign form should reflect that.

If you want to increase your donation page conversion rate, then let donors know where their money is going.

4. Keep it simple.

If your nonprofit requires donors to give their name, address, credit card number, blood type, mother’s maiden name, and age of their first born child, they’re probably not going to finish making a donation.

Of course, this is an exaggerated example (probably -- we’ve seen some doozies), but the principle is the same.

If you require your donors to fill out too many information fields, they are not likely to make it to the final step of the donation process.

When crafting your online donation page, only require donors fill out what is absolutely necessary.

Qgiv’s fundraising data has found that donations drop slightly when donation forms include even one additional required field on a donation form. The number of donations drops precipitously with the addition of two or more other fields.

Whether or not the fields are mandatory before the donation can be processed doesn’t make much of a difference; donor conversion rates drop even if the fields are not required.

The more information donors have to provide; the more likely they are to close the tab on your donation form.

5. Offer different giving amounts.

Last but certainly not least, your online donation page should offer your donors various giving amounts.

“Why would we offer different giving amounts? ” you might ask. “Shouldn’t donors be allowed to give whatever they want?”

Well, yes. But let me explain.

Offering various donation amounts actually encourages donors to give more. If they see giving levels of $25, $50, $100, and so on, they will often feel compelled to give on the higher end of that spectrum. Including suggested donation amounts can subtly encourage donors to make a gift that’s greater than the one they originally intended to make.

But not all donors want to change their donation amount to a higher total. Even though set donation amounts are a good way to boost donation sizes, it’s important to give donors the option to give in any amount they choose.

If you offer an “Other” category where donors can fill in their own amounts, you give them the option of making a gift that fits their situation best, whether it is lower or higher than the suggested donation amounts you’ve included on your page.

Experts frequently debate the relationship between set donation amounts and higher overall donations. However, one less obvious benefit of offering suggested donation amounts on your page is that it can make the donation process easier for your donors.

It’s a matter of perception; if a donor lands on your page and is unsure about how much they want to give, the decision to make a donation is still not solidified in their mind.

Giving them suggested donation amounts can help them reach that decision more quickly.

Not only does suggested donation amounts raise more money, but it also makes the decision-making process easier and faster. Moreover, that is one of the keys to increasing donor conversion!

Offering different giving amounts will not only help your nonprofit bring in more money, but it will also ensure that donors make it to the final step of the donation process.

Abby Jarvis directs communications at Qgiv, an up and coming online fundraising platform. She is on top of the newest and brightest techniques that help nonprofits raise more money. Check out her profile for more about Abby.