You put a lot of time and effort into inspiring people to donate to your cause. You want to make that effort worth it, right?

The best way to turn that inspiration into donations is to make your donation form easy to find and easy to use.

Here are a few things you can do to make sure your donation forms are as effective as possible!

1. Make your donation button easy to find

Pretend you’re a potential donor who’s never been to your donation page before. Go to your website. How easy is it for you to get to the donation page?

If it takes more than two or three seconds for your donors to find your page, they’re less likely to make a donation. One useful way to get them to your donation form is to make your site’s “Donate” button large and colorful. Pick a color that contrasts (but complements!) your site’s theme and color scheme for your “Donate” button. It’ll help your donors get to the right place in record time!

No matter which online donation tool you’re using, the more clearly you can direct donors toward your giving page, the more likely they’ll be to follow through with a gift!

2. Optimize all the things!

I can’t overstate how important it is that donors be able to give quickly and easily. There are two big things you can do to optimize your donors’ experience on your donation page.

First, make it easy to land on your donation page. If your donors are having to make three or more clicks to actually get to your donation page, work on eliminating some of the steps they have to take to get there. The more clicks it takes to move from your website’s home page to the donation form, the more donors will churn. Fewer clicks = more donations!

Then, make sure your donation form is mobile-friendly. The majority of web traffic now comes from people using smartphones and tablets. If your donation form doesn’t work well on mobile devices, donors will get frustrated and leave before making a gift.

3. Double-check your branding

Making a donation is an emotional process. You’ve spent a lot of time inspiring donors to give to you using your nonprofit’s stories, images, and brand. Carrying those elements over onto your donation page will help keep your donors engaged in the emotions that got them there in the first place.

Taking some time to extend your nonprofit’s brand onto your donation page will help smooth the transition from website to donation form. If your donation page lacks the same branding, theme, images, or language that inspired the donor in the first place, they’ll be less likely to make a donation. Update images, refresh the language in your copy, and double-check that your page’s style matches the rest of your website. It can have a big effect on your potential donors!

4. Streamline the process

Let’s be honest: humans get bored easily. If your donors land on a donation page that’s long and complicated, they’re probably not going to fill it out. A simple donation process is an effective donation process. Taking some steps to streamline your donation process will help decrease churn on your page.

First, review the fields you have included on your form. Can you eliminate any of them? It’s tempting to include tons of custom fields to a form. But longer forms deter donors – consider collecting extra information in other ways.

Another big thing you can do is to let donors indicate that their billing and personal information are the same. Nobody wants to enter the same information twice!

5. Put donation amounts at the top (use suggested amounts! And descriptions!)

We get to learn a lot about donor behaviors from our clients. One thing we noticed is that donors are more likely to finish making a donation if the donor chooses a donation amount before they’re prompted to enter their information.

If the donor enters their donation amount first, they’ve already mentally committed to making a gift. Filling out their information is a formality. But having to provide their information before entering a gift amount is an obstacle that gets between them and supporting your nonprofit.

We’ve also noticed that donors tend to make larger donations if the donation page includes suggested amounts. Try including a wide range of suggested amounts on your page.

People also respond well to descriptions by suggested amounts that are paired with descriptions that help donors visualize the impact their gift will make. If $30 buys 10 meals at your homeless shelter, or if $125 sends two kids to summer camp, tell your donors! Showing them how they’re making a difference will make them more likely to support you.

6. Include recurring giving options

Recurring donors are loyal, they’re engaged, and they’re a steady source of dependable income. Including the option for a donor to make their one-time donation a recurring donor is a no-brainer.

At Qgiv, we recommend giving donors the option of making an account that will let them manage their gift. We don’t recommend making it mandatory. You don’t want to put another obstacle in the way of the donor completing their gift!

7. Customize your thank-you page

There are so many boring thank-you pages in the world. That’s a shame! Thank-you pages are your donors’ first interaction with you after they make a gift.

A few small touches, like including a short, simple thank-you video, a great image, or a paragraph of sincerely thankful text on a receipt can make a huge impression on your donors. You can also use a thank-you page to tell donors what to expect next or how to spread the word about the cause they’ve chosen to support.

8. Refresh your receipts

Receipts aren’t inherently exciting. Think about the last handful of receipts you pulled out of your purse or your car’s glovebox; they’re very transactional and extremely dull. Your nonprofit’s donation receipts should be different!

While it is important that your receipts follow the rules of PCI-compliance, your donation receipts are an amazing  opportunity to engage with your donors.

Just as you should make the most of your donation form’s thank-you page, you should take some time to refresh your receipts. Replace impersonal “thank you” language with the kind of sincere gratitude you’d show your best friend who gave you a gift.

Throw in a powerful picture of a person who will benefit from their donation. Re-write boring phrases like “for your records, please find attached _____” or “here are the details of your transaction” with phrases you’d say in real life. Not only will this make a great impression on your donors, this will also go a long way toward encouraging them to give again in the future.

Giving your donation page a quick checkup once in awhile is important! Your brand and the stories you tell are what make people want to give to you, and they’re always evolving. Make sure your donation page evolves with them. It will make your fundraising much more effective!

As part of Bloomerang’s Content Donation Program, $100 was donated to the Oral Cancer Cause.

The Art & Science of Digital Donor Retention

Abby Jarvis

Abby Jarvis

Director of Marketing Communications at Qgiv
Abby Jarvis is a blogger, marketer, and communications coordinator for Qgiv, a provider of industry-leading online giving and peer-to-peer fundraising tools for nonprofit, faith-based, and political organizations of all sizes. When she’s not working at Qgiv, Abby can usually be found writing for local magazines, catching up on her favorite blogs, or binge-watching sci-fi shows on Netflix.