July 21, 2014

How to Have a Killer Online Donation Page

For many organizations, their primary means of receiving donations is through their donation page. For this reason, it is really important that you make sure that your page works well and is straightforward for your donors to navigate. Here are a few tips on how to make your online donation page the best that it can be.

1. Keep it simple

The more complicated your donation process is to your members, the more difficult and confusing it will be for them. It will be harder for you to keep track of, as well.

The key to making the process easy for your members and donors is functionality and simplicity. A typical donor will expect a few things from a donation page—not just an e-commerce form that asks for credit card information. Create a simple page that explains why they should give, and what their money supports. Provide a simple way to make the donation and make it clear, if using a third party payment gateway, what they will see on their credit card statement. Make sure to also have a statement that you will not give their information to any other charities or organizations.

Here are some examples of some effective donation pages:

  • Johns Hopkins Giving—This site is devoted solely to giving.  It explains why you should give, where you should give, and how to give. Also, it includes a great section that has stories about Hopkins students and professors.
  • United Way—United Way shows a nice chart that shows you how much of their donations go to each area.
  • Red Cross—Here there is a nice first page that lets donors designate where they would like their money to go.

2. Don’t force visitors to register before donating

If you require site visitors to register before donating, chances are that it will turn them off to donating. Many people do not want to have to fill out another form or join something they don’t want to join. Instead, set up a self-explanatory donation process that allows people to donate without registering, but give them some registration options on the page in case they would like to join later (like in the Red Cross example above, where donors have the option to either continue without signing in, or sign in to use previously saved payment information).

3. Show how you will be using the funds

As mentioned before, showing your donors how you will be using the money that they donate is really important—if your donors aren’t sure exactly where their money will be going, they will be less inclined to give. A pie chart or a graph that demonstrates the distribution of funds is a reassurance to donors that their money is in good hands. In addition to the United Way page mentioned above, here are a few more examples of donation pages that display a pie chart or graph of where their donations go:

4. Continuously test your donation page

Always making changes and testing your donation page will make a difference in how many donations you receive online, according to a presentation from by Eugene Flynn of 54 Degrees. He says that if you increase your conversion rate from 40% to 80%, then you’ve doubled your online donations for just a small investment of money. He gives some examples of what you should test as well, including page heading, donation amounts, form layout, and button text. According to Convio (Blackbaud), a normal web donation page that has never been tested converts fewer than 15% of its visitors.

Have any advice on making a great online donation page? Add them in the comments below!

Leah Merrill
Leah Merrill is a Software Analyst for Capterra, where she specializes in helping membership administrators find membership management software. When she’s not helping associations and nonprofit organizations find the right software on the Capterra Membership Management Blog, you’ll find her reading, writing, and spending time with her family and friends. Follow Capterra for membership management and nonprofit news on Twitter @CapterraMemMgmt.