Building Online Donation Pages: 11 Elements of a Spectacular Online Donation Page

Digital giving continues to grow, up 14% in 2013 alone, according to The Network For Good Digital Giving Index. Industry experts agree that this trend is likely to continue to increase, which means if your online donation page isn’t in tip-top shape, you will miss out on key giving opportunities.

These slower summer months are the ideal time to revamp your online giving page. Give yourself enough time to test, refine, test again and ensure your organization’s website is prepared for whatever the end-of-year fundraising season throws at it.

If nothing else, take a good hard look at optimizing your donation page for November and December, which are the biggest months of the year for online giving. Approximately 40% of online giving occurs in December, and knowing how busy thing get starting in September, it’s wise to take the time today to get ready for the end of the year.

Maximize fundraising efforts and give donors a smooth online experience by incorporating these 10 simple yet extremely effective components to your nonprofit’s online donation page:

1. Seamless branding

Your logo and branding should be consistent throughout the website, including the online giving page. You want people to feel confident that they are donating to their intended charity. A well-branded donation process that reinforces their value as a donor will make for an enjoyable experience that will entice them to return and donate again.

2. Concise copy

The focus of the online donation page is giving, so it should not be heavy with copy. Consider adding a brief description of the charity’s mission and the donation’s potential impact, but keep it to one or two short paragraphs. You don’t want to distract visitors from completing the donation form. If they want to learn more, they can easily access other pages of your website.

3. Compelling visuals

A photo is worth a thousand words and really can demonstrate why donations are so crucial for the charity’s success. Skip generic stock photos and get an actual shot of your nonprofit in action, such as an image showing children receiving meals, pets being rescued or rehabilitated, volunteers rebuilding schools, planting new-growth forests, etc.

4. No registration

Do not slow the donation process by requiring people to register first. If visitors feel compelled to donate, they will appreciate a simple, secure process. Long registration forms will deter many visitors who are already on the fence about donating. This are lost giving opportunities! Make sure the donation process can be accomplished in a few short steps that takes less than 5 minutes to complete. 

5. Specific donation amounts

Having donors fill in a blank donation space leaves each person wondering how much they should give. Take the lead by adding a drop-down menu with suggested donation levels. This one simple step will actually drive up the average donation amount!

6. Examples of impact

In addition to providing suggested donation levels, consider adding information about the impact of each amount. Donors like to know how much their money could help, and this can be a compelling reason for them to select a higher amount. For example, an organization battling childhood hunger might state:

  • $10 feeds 5 children for one day
  • $50 feeds 25 children for one day
  • $100 feeds 50 children for one day

7. Social sharing

Social media is an extremely useful tool for spreading the word about online donations. People want to share the causes they believe in and talk about how they’ve helped. At the end of the online donation checkout process, make sure there is an option for users to announce their contribution on a variety of social media platforms. Keep the messaging short and sweet. Talk about the donor’s level of impact, not how much money they donated. Make sure the sharable message links back to a page with informative content and emotional calls to action so others in their network can easily donate online and support the cause.

8. Mobile Optimized

If you check your website analytics, you’ll likely notice many people visit your website from a mobile device. This means you must optimize your website, particularly your online donation page, for mobile users. With a cumbersome mobile experience, people may click away without finishing the donation process.

9. Updated security

Online donors want to make sure their financial information is protected, so ensure your website is updated with proper security software. Consider using payment solutions that incorporate Transport Layer Security (TLS), which are cryptographic protocols that allow for secure online transactions.

10. Further engagement

In addition to collecting personal and payment information, the donation form provides another opportunity to engage donors. This space can also be used to recruit volunteers and offer more ways to make an impact, such as bequests and employer-matching programs. You might also offer a tribute option, where donors can give in honor of someone special.

11. Recurring gift option

One-time donation amounts are great, but consider adding the option for donors to make recurring donations. If you can get more people to pledge to donate monthly rather than just one time, you’ll have more funds to fulfill the mission throughout the year. Offer the option to have secure, automatic monthly donations pulled from a donor’s preferred financial account.

Bonus tip: Add a site-wide “Donate Now” button

Encourage digital giving throughout the website by adding noticeable “donate now” buttons on every page of the website. This makes it as simple as possible for people to donate – all they have to do is click a button! Add these buttons to your social media pages, too, for maximum impact.