boost online giving

Does end of year fundraising seem a million miles away? Let’s face it, there’s a lot to get right. Smart fundraisers just like you are planning now to ensure an epic year end. I’m here to make it easier with some quick wins to boost online giving.

But first, the bad news.

Would you be shocked to learn that 60% of potential donors land on a donation form and don’t complete the gift

It’s called donor abandonment and it could be costing you dearly. So, how do you avoid it? Here’s 10 tips to reduce donor abandonment and boost online giving:

  1. Make sure your donation form is clearly visible on your homepage with prominent branding (and not buried).
  2. Offer multiple giving channels (email, mobile, social media).
  3. Make sure every link to your donation page works. You’d be shocked how many broken links to donation forms I find come Giving Tuesday!
  4. Remove the global navigation from your donation page. You got them there, let’s keep there there!
  5. Use a one-page donation form (translates better on mobile device).
  6. Reduce the number of steps to confirmation. Don’t ask anything you don’t have to and don’t put donors through extra work creating an account.
  7. Use a mobile friendly design (67% of people read their email on their phone).
  8. Offer a variety of donation amounts to choose from, prefill one, and offer a recurring donation option. 
  9. Use consistent branding through each step in the donation process on donation forms. 
  10. Show your donation form is secure with security certificate logos.

I’ve been having a lot of fun lately going undercover as a donor private eye. What the heck does that mean? I’ve been making small gifts to charities and then doing a donation page audit where I critique every step of the process and report the trouble spots back to them. 

Sometimes it’s a broken link or being forced to fill out unnecessary information in a form before I make my gift (that’s a surefire recipe for donor abandonment).  

The biggest surprise shocker? I got an email autoresponder addressed to “Dear _________,” No name. Just a white space staring back at me where my name should be. They knew my name. In that very same email autoresponder they listed my first name, my last name, my gift amount and the gift date.  

How does this happen? Easy. We set it and forget it. We don’t test it.  

When my twins played hide and go seek as toddlers, they picked some really bad hiding places, like under the kitchen rug. They thought if they couldn’t see me, I couldn’t see them. Are you playing hide and seek with your donors? Do you just assume if they don’t call you to complain they are out there having amazing donor experiences?

Sadly, most of them aren’t, but the good news is these are just blind spots that are simple for you fix. You just have to be willing to look.  

Go undercover and make a gift to your charity, or swap with a friend and make gifts to each other’s charities. Use this donor experience checklist to rate your experience:

  • Was the donation form clearly branded and easy to find?  
  • How many clicks did it take to get to the online giving form?  
  • Were there multiple payment options all branded consistently with the website?
  • Was the form mobile friendly?
  • Did you get an instant well written email thank you autoresponder and a tax receipt?  
  • Were you invited to share on social? If you did, did they reply on social?  

When I’m leading a fundraising training or doing a breakout session at a conference, I’m often asked a specific and detailed questions about thanking donors. People ask me, should I thank them via text or email? Who should write it? Before you split hairs around the channel or the author make sure you have your basics covered. In the words of one of my favorite comedians, Sarah Silverman, “Don’t overthink it like a kid stuck at the top of a slide.” Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. If you follow each piece of advice in this post you’ll be well on your way to a fantastic year end! Hiring an expert to audit your site for you is cheaper than you think, but if you can’t afford that swap with a friend or make your own donation yourself. 

Want a road map to make over your donation form and a rewrite of your thank you into something your donors will cherish? Grab a spot in Rachel’s “Thank You Clinic.” 

The Art & Science of Digital Donor Retention

Rachel Muir
Rachel Muir, CFRE transforms individuals into confident, successful fundraisers. When she was 26 years old, Rachel Muir launched Girlstart, a non-profit organization to empower girls in math, science, engineering and technology in the living room of her apartment with $500 and a credit card. Several years later she had raised over 10 million dollars and was featured on Oprah, CNN, and the Today show.