Donor Abandonment: What It Is and How to Avoid It

donor abandonment

Getting donors to your donation page is difficult, but your donor acquisition doesn’t stop once a supporter reaches the donation form. Many nonprofits don’t realize that most of their supporters landing on the donation page aren’t finishing the process.

That problem? It’s called donor abandonment.

When a donor comes to your donation page with the intention of making a gift, they often get distracted by the process or the donation page itself and leave. Some donors leave with plans to return when they have more time, but few do.

In fact, 60% of potential donors come to your nonprofit’s donation page and leave before completing the transaction. That’s a lot of potential funds your nonprofit is missing out on!

Thankfully, there are some solutions that can help reduce your donor abandonment rates and recover some of those missed funds before they ever go missing.

In this article, we’ll explore six ways you can reduce your donor abandonment rate and improve your donation forms:

  1. Offer more giving channels.
  2. Create a one-page donation form.
  3. Reduce the number of steps to confirmation.
  4. Add suggested donation amounts.
  5. Maintain consistent branding on donation forms.
  6. Show that your donation form is secure.

And remember, a good donation form starts with good software. Learn more about picking the right solution with @Pay’s Online Giving Software: The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide.

donor abandonment

1. Offer more giving channels.

One of the simplest ways to tackle donor abandonment at the root is to offer your donors more ways to give. If giving isn’t convenient for an average donor, they will give up instead of struggling through a process they don’t understand or that takes up too much of their time and energy.

Donors can give through:

  • Desktop/laptop website pages
  • Mobile website pages
  • Email
  • Social media
  • SMS/text message

By providing multiple ways for donors to give, you allow your donors to pick the most convenient option for them. Plus, many giving channels allow supporters to give on the go. That means that donors don’t have to wait until they are in front of a computer screen to donate.

If a donation page is hard to fill out on a mobile phone, donors have to leave the donation process and remember to donate when they have access to a computer — which is asking a lot of them.

In addition to providing your donors more ways to give, you should accept a variety of forms of payment on your donation forms.

More options to donate give your donors more flexibility, and if their preferred payment method is available, the process goes more smoothly. Plus, it might encourage your supporters to donate again in the future. The end result? An increase in your donation form usage rate.

Takeaway: When a donor has a convenient way to donate, they have fewer barriers stopping them from completing the donation form.

donor abandonment

2. Create one-page donation forms.

Your supporters have too many opportunities to abandon donation forms if the forms are too long. Donors might leave the page thinking they will complete the form later when they have more time, and most won’t return.

It’s often tempting to stuff your donation form full of questions so that it feels more like a survey than a donation, all in the name of collecting donor data. While there is value in collecting important donor details during the donation process, you have other opportunities to do so after the initial donation is made.

Instead of including so many required fields that your donors lose interest before they even make a donation, make sure that your nonprofit CRM is set up to collect and store the data you do get and fill in the blanks later.

A good rule of thumb is to limit your form to one page. When you keep your donation form short, you’ll have less space to add in unnecessary fields that could take your donor more time to complete. One-page donation forms also let your supporters easily scan all the fields they need to fill out, such as contact information, payment information, and any opt-ins for newsletters or alerts.

Plus, one-page donation forms translate better on mobile devices. According to Double the Donation, when your donation form is simple, it will look less intimidating to complete on smaller screens.

Takeaway: Shorter donation forms are more likely to be completed by donors who have other matters vying for their time.

donor abandonment

3. Reduce the number of steps to confirmation.

How many steps would it take for your supporters to reach the confirmation on your donation form? The steps in the donation process are any actions that the donor must complete before they can hit the “Donate Now” button.

When your donation form has a lot of steps, it adds more time to the process, and your donor might not want to complete them all.

Imagine yourself shopping online. You reach the checkout page, and you have to fill out 25 fields before you can complete the payment. You’re likely going to abandon the form, even if the item is something you need.

One major (but unnecessary) step found in most online donation forms is account creation. Your nonprofit probably finds some value in this step; when a donor sets up an account, it makes the donation process easier the next time around.

However, some donors don’t want to remember another password or just want a quicker donation process altogether. By making this step optional, you can benefit from donors who want to set up recurring donations without losing the donors who don’t want an account, especially first-time donors.

Takeaway: When you reduce the number of steps it takes to reach the confirmation, you’re being more considerate of your donors’ time and in doing so, increasing the chances that a donor will complete the giving process.

donor abandonment

4. Add suggested donation amounts.

Put yourself in your donor’s shoes, and you’ll quickly find that figuring out how much to donate can be just as difficult as asking for donations in the first place. Donors don’t always know how much will be enough to make an impact, and the lack of a frame of reference just adds anxiety to the decision.

Suggested donation buttons help make the process go faster for donors. All they have to do is click on the donation amount they want to give and continue with the process, without being intimidated by an empty field on the donation form.

Preset donation amounts can actually encourage your donors to give more, too. When they see an amount that might be a little higher than they would have given otherwise, your supporters will assume these are the amounts your organization needs.

Plus, if you include the effect that each donation amount will have on your cause, your donors will see their donations as more than a number. Check out this example below from Coburn Place to see what an effective preset donation impact list looks like:

donor abandonment

Another place to include preset donation buttons is in your emails. Instead of having a button that says “Donate,” you can include a few specific amounts for donors to choose from. All the donor has to do is click on the donation amount they want, and they will be directed to the donation form with one step already complete!

Takeaway: Preset donation amounts takes the guesswork out of donating, which makes donating easier and decreases the likelihood of abandonment.

donor abandonment

5. Maintain consistent branding on your donation forms.

There’s a reason your nonprofit works hard to maintain a unified brand online and offline. Your donors should be able to identify your materials, whether that’s a flyer in the mail or your social media profiles. But consistent online branding is even more important when it comes to your online donation forms.

On the surface, a donation page that doesn’t match your existing brand can confuse donors. They might wonder if they clicked on the wrong link or got sent to the wrong form, which could lead them to abandon the donation process.

But even if donors know they’ve landed on the correct page, a seemingly disconnected donation form can lose your trust with your donors.

Think about it from the donor’s point of view: If this organization can’t put its best foot forward on the page that matters the most, are they cutting corners in other areas, too? Would you want to entrust this organization with your sensitive payment and contact information?

Takeaway: Show your donors that you take care of their information by presenting a clean, branded donation form that they barely notice.

donor abandonment

6. Show that your donation form is secure.

When a donor comes to your donation page, they want to know that their information is secure. It’s hard to justify inputting credit card information when something about the donation form seems unsafe.

To keep your donors from abandoning your donation form because it looks insecure, get familiar with online payment processing to ensure that the platform you choose offers standard security features, including:

  • PCI compliance.
  • 2-factor authentication.
  • Tokenization.

A secure donation form offers your organization more benefits than just reducing donor abandonment rates. Security also protects your nonprofit from fraud and builds loyalty between you and donors, which can translate to recurring support.

Takeaway: Whether you work with a nonprofit IT consultant to secure your donation form or do it yourself, your donors will appreciate the dedication to keeping their information safe.

You put a lot of effort into bringing donors to your website, from marketing to web design. Don’t let all that time go to waste by losing donors once they get to your donation form.

Take these six strategies to heart to build a donation form designed to decrease donor abandonment!

The Art & Science of Digital Donor Retention

John Killoran
John Killoran is CEO of Snowball, an exciting new fundraising technology that makes it easy for people to donate in two clicks from text, email, web and social media sites. John pioneered SMTP payments and has been a major innovator in the mobile payments space for the past 5 years. When he is not running a company, he is cooking food for his family and telling his dogs to stop barking.
John Killoran
By |2018-01-23T12:27:26-04:00November 30th, 2016|Fundraising, Online Giving|

One Comment

  1. claire axelrad November 30, 2016 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    These are super useful tips. Anything nonprofits can do to reduce barriers to giving makes total sense. Even doing just a few of these things will make a difference. I will definitely share with my clients!

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