One of the most important tools in your nonprofit’s fundraising arsenal is your online donation form. This is the last step on the giving ladder and an important part of securing a gift from your supporters.

All too often, organizations make the mistake of taking their online donation form for granted.

Many feel that all this page needs to do is process payments without any frills and are reluctant to invest in robust giving software that could elevate their donation form strategy and create better relationships with donors.

However, optimizing your online donation form should be at the top of your nonprofit’s list as you prepare for your next big fundraising campaign. With a streamlined, effective, and inspiring donation form, there’s very little standing in the way between your team and its goals.

In this article, we’ll review some of our favorite donation form optimization strategies. These include:

  1. Truly customizing your donation form.
  2. Streamlining the online giving process.
  3. Adding gamification tools to your donation forms.
  4. Thinking of the smartphone giving experience.
  5. Emphasizing social media fundraising channels.
  6. Capturing meaningful donor data to optimize your donation forms.

Ready to take hold of your online fundraising form and leverage it as a more effective fundraising tool? Let’s dive into our top strategies!

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1. Truly customize your donation form.

When a prospective donor lands on your fundraising form, they need to cross two main hurdles. First, they need to be inspired enough by your cause to make a gift. And second, they need to trust that your donation form will process their payments securely.

For many organizations, giving form abandonment spikes when their forms are poorly formatted, generic, or otherwise unfriendly to supporters.

To boost the success of your online donation forms, your team should choose a software that puts customization first and not simply use a generic payment processing tool like PayPal.

Your nonprofit can customize your giving forms by:

  • Reflecting your “brand” in the form’s design. Include your nonprofit’s branded color scheme, logos, and signature typeface. Ideally, your donation form should look like a seamless element of your organization’s website.
  • Including images of your nonprofit’s community. Find a solution that empowers your team to include compelling images of your nonprofit’s staff, volunteers, and constituents. Only use high-quality photography, preferably taken by a professional photographer.
  • Changing designs from campaign to campaign. A great way to improve the performance of your donation forms is to update their design with each fundraising campaign. Maintain a core style, but swap out visual elements to keep it fresh.
  • Adding a matching gift search tool. Did you know that you can add a matching gift database search tool to online fundraising forms? These allow supporters to find out their matching gifts eligibility while they’re making their donation.

Remember, your giving from is the last place your nonprofit can make the case for supporters to donate! With the right customization, your team can close the gap between supporters who are simply moved by your mission and those inspired enough to make a gift.

Bonus! Want to learn more about matching gift databases and how they can enhance your fundraising strategy? Visit Double the Donation to see how their matching gifts database helps nonprofits raise more money.

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2. Streamline the online giving process.

Another optimization strategy for your nonprofit’s donation forms is streamlining the giving process from beginning to end. Very often, motivated individuals fail to complete their gift because donation forms are unnecessarily lengthy or confusing.

Even worse, when your giving form makes it difficult to set donors up for future support of your cause, your team will miss out on one of your best opportunities for upgrading donors and securing long-term fundraising revenue.

To ensure a streamlined giving process, your team should:

  • Only ask for the information you need. While customizing data fields in your donation form is a great way to learn more about your supporters, don’t go overboard. You want your supporters to be able to complete the form in just a few minutes, if not less.
  • Share direct links to your form with your community. Inexperienced nonprofits frequently make this mistake! When you simply link to a Ways to Give page or tell supporters to give without a link, it’s more likely they’ll get lost along the way to donating.
  • Offer donor account setup as part of making a gift. When donors have giving accounts set up with your nonprofit, they’re more likely to make future gifts since they don’t have to re-enter their information.

Ideally, you should use dedicated fundraising software to collect donations right in your website. Create a dedicated donation page and provide a minimalist experience for donors. Make sure your website builder includes plenty of relevant features to both streamline the online giving process and provide additional tools for your donors in other areas of your site after the donation is completed.

The bottom line? By making giving as convenient as possible for your supporters, they’ll be more inspired to make future gifts and to share your giving form with their personal networks

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3. Add gamification tools to your donation forms.

One great way to boost the power of your online donation forms is to equip them with gamification tools.

Gamification tools are a type of donation form feature that help to encourage supporters to make a gift, increase their giving amount, or give more frequently. Typically, these are used in peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns as a way to motivate volunteer fundraisers.

There are three core kinds of gamifications tools your nonprofit can add to its giving forms:

  • Fundraising thermometers. These can be used in all kinds of fundraising campaigns and help show supporters how close your nonprofit is to reaching its fundraising goal.
  • Fundraising badges. Often used in peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns, fundraising badges help differentiate between your top-performing volunteer fundraisers.
  • Leaderboards. Also used as a motivator in peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns, leaderboards show off the performance of different fundraisers.

Adding gamification tools into the mix has a couple of benefits. First, it makes giving fun for your supporters; when giving is enjoyable, they’re more likely to give again in the future.

Second, gamification tools offer a seamless way into your community for newcomers. When they see who is ranking highest on your leaderboard or how quickly you’re reaching your fundraising goal, they have an immediate point of access to your latest campaign.

Bonus! Want to learn more about gamification tools? Visit Qgiv and find out how to make gamification tools like fundraising thermometers, leaderboards, and badges work for your cause.

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4. Think of the smartphone giving experience.

Did you know that a growing proportion of online donations are made exclusively through mobile devices like smartphones and tablets? Quickly outpacing desktop-giving, smartphone fundraising is becoming the preferred giving channel for donors worldwide.

This probably isn’t a surprise to your team. After all, most people have their smartphones on them 24/7, and it’s no secret that smartphones are often the primary device individuals use to access the web and interact with your cause.

Before your next campaign, your nonprofit should optimize its online donation forms for smartphone users. You can start this process by choosing a fundraising software that allows your team to create a mobile-responsive version of your form during the form building process.

Another way to improve how smartphone users give back to your nonprofit is to adopt text giving technology. With these tools, your donors can make a gift right from their phone. This method works especially well for donors on the go and those at fundraising events.

Finally, consider promoting mobile giving methods to your supporters. They may be under the assumption that they can only give on a desktop, which limits your opportunities to secure a gift from them. Be sure your community knows they can easily give using their phone, either through traditional donations or via text-to-give.

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5. Emphasize social media fundraising channels.

On a similar note, since so many of your supporters use their smartphones to access the internet each day, your nonprofit should focus on sharing your online donation form through social media channels in addition to more traditional fundraising channels.

Most nonprofits are on social media sites these days, but less often do they effectively leverage this platform as a fundraising channel. Rather, social media is seen as more of an engagement tool than anything else.

Yet, sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all offer great fundraising opportunities. Take advantage of social media’s fundraising potential by:

  • Embedding your donation form on your Facebook page. Did your team know that some online fundraising software enables your nonprofit to embed its donation form directly onto your organization’s Facebook page? Supporters never have to leave the site to make their gift, another convenience-booster for givers.
  • Sharing your donation form’s link on Twitter and Instagram. On websites like Twitter and Instagram that don’t offer embedded giving forms, your team can still share direct links to your form. Include them in your profile’s bio section as well as in regular posts from your account to give supporters ample opportunity to come across your form.

Social media fundraising channels are a great place to make connections with new donors, too. Since most individuals will look your organization up on social sites before giving, they’re likely to encounter your giving forms on your profiles before even making it to your main website.

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6. Capture meaningful donor data to optimize your donation forms.

Finally, the other sure-fire way to optimize your online donation forms for your community of supporters is to design them with donor data in mind.

The fact of the matter is that your fundraising strategy is always more effective when it’s based off of data, and this is especially true when it comes to your giving form. Be sure to track informative metrics related to your giving form and analyze trends from campaign to campaign.

For example, if one version of your giving form is underperforming, that may be a sign you should redesign it. Alternatively, you may find that sharing your form on a particular channel yields better fundraising results, indicating it would be smart to emphasize that channel to givers.

Further, when your nonprofit develops a robust donor database, you can search your records to make connections between givers, hone your fundraising strategy to specific prospects, or even find new opportunities for fundraising.

Your nonprofit’s online donation form is one of your most important fundraising resources, so it’s important you take the time to optimize your strategy. With these best practices in mind, your team is ready to start improving how you make use of this important tool!

Author Bio

  Abby Jarvis is a blogger, marketer, and communications coordinator for  Qgiv , an online fundraising service provider. Qgiv offers 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.

Abby Jarvis is a blogger, marketer, and communications coordinator for Qgiv, an online fundraising service provider. Qgiv offers 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.