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6 Things Wrong With Your Nonprofit Donation Page (and How to Fix Them)

Elliot Rysenbry

End-of-year fundraising and #GivingTuesday are around the corner, so it’s time to pull up your donation page and make sure it’s up to scratch. Once someone has arrived on your donation page, it’s your job to make sure the experience is as painless and quick as possible. Here’s 6 things wrong with your donation page right now, and how to fix them.

#1: Your forms have too many fields.

Talk to the various stakeholders in your organization to determine what information is absolutely necessary for your forms to collect, and cut any fields from your forms that aren’t required.

Cluttering your donation form with unnecessary fields is a great way to complicate the donation process and make it frustrating. A shorter form is quicker to fill out, less intimidating to start, and far less likely for people to abandon part way through.

The Incredibles typing at computer gifLong forms aren't fun....

Tip: multi-step forms are fantastic - but they aren’t a license to add extra form fields. The less steps the better.


#2: You have navigation on your donation page.

Remove any unnecessary navigation elements and menus that might distract a donor or allow them to click away from the page. 

Over 50% of your visitors probably spend less than 15 seconds on your donation page. Combating the Internet’s attention deficit is vital to keep those conversion rates up, and the donations coming in.

NextGen Climate donation page removes navigationNextGen's donation page offers no distractions

Make sure your most prominent thing on the page, followed by a captivating image, and a small amount of text action oriented text. Of course, you’re going to want to test all the changes you make to your copy and images- best practices can only take you so far.


#3: Your page has a different domain and design.

Try and make sure the key design elements like your, logo, header, and footer are carried over to your donation page. These styling cues reassure people that they’re in the right place and leave less room for doubt and confusion about who they’re handing over their credit card number to.

Hosting your donation page on a different domain to the rest of your site is also cause for confusion. If you can, host your form on a page with the same domain as the rest of your website. A good vendor should be able to do this for you. If you can’t, make sure to feature security information and verification on the page and information about your vendor to reassure your donors that their information is secure, and their money is going to the right place.


#4: Your mobile experience needs work.


350 mobile donation page 1350 mobile donation page 2

Making your page and form look and function on all devices gives you the biggest return for investment in terms of conversion rates out of any of these tips. If someone tries to donate on their phone with no success, don’t count on them hopping on their desktop when they get home to try again.

Mobile users account for more than 50% of internet traffic, and our data suggests that on average, they convert on donation pages at 40-60% of the rate that desktop users do. What’s actually going on behind the data is a bit more complicated, but it’s clear that there are gains to be made.

Focus on clear and simple presentation on all devices and minimize page length and the use of open text fields to try and raise your mobile conversion rate.

(Need a hand? Check out this easy way to test your donation page on any device).


#5: You don’t use preset donation amounts.

Did you know that tipping in New York taxis increased by 144 million when they introduced preset tipping amounts for credit card payments? Preset tipping buttons are proving their worth to the tune of millions of dollars a year, and it’s time your nonprofit took advantage of the science behind them.

FastAction lets you set donation preset amountsPresets have all sorts of benefits...

A good donation form should include preset amounts. If you’re looking for a place to start, here are a couple of principles to guide you:

  1. A process called “Anchoring” encourages people to select the middle option - so long as it’s reasonable. You can use this to your advantage and raise your average gift by strategically selecting your preset amounts.
  2. Many organizations successfully use specific, non-round numbers linked to campaign costs (like the cost of books for a child) for preset amounts.
  3. Having a wide range of presets combined with the option donate a (lower) custom amount makes sure you capture the full range of donors. You’ll allow more generous donors to splurge, while not cutting out those with less to spend than your lowest preset.

While there’s no doubt presets work, testing different amounts and variety of options will help determine the best solution for your page.


#6: Your page isn’t accessible.

Make sure your fonts and colors are clear, contrasting, and large enough to be legible to the visually impaired. It’s also important to audit your code and make sure it's up to scratch. 

Even if your donation page was built with accessibility in mind, quick edits and redesigns may have made your page a nightmare for people with special requirements. You can read up Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), and use free tools like this one to identify accessibility problems with your page and fix them quickly.

Making your pages and forms more accessible isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s better for your bottom line.


No donation page is perfect, but by nailing the basics you’ll at least make sure you’re not turning anyone away. Obstacles and barriers, obvious and not, cut into your conversion rates and your bottom line. Cleaning up these 6 common problems should help set you up for success as we head into the hectic #GivingTuesday and end-of-year season.

Good luck!

Download the 2015 Nonprofit Email Deliverability Study  



Topics: nonprofit websites, fundraising, campaigns