Fundraise Smarter

7 Deadly Donation Page Sins

Posted by Andrew Littlefield on Mar 3, 2015 7:30:00 AM

Find me on:

If you’ve ever found yourself in a tight financial spot, you know there are only two ways out of it. You can:

  • Spend less money

  • Make more money

That’s about it. Most of the time, making more money isn’t an option. So that leaves spending less. How can you do more with less?

Your nonprofit’s website finds itself in the same situation. If you want to raise more donation money through your website, you need to drive more traffic to the donation page.

Or you could make your donation page do more with the same amount of traffic.

This is called optimization. It’s all about making small changes to a web page in order to increase the likelihood that visitors will take the action you desire (in the case of your donation page, make a donation).

You could be making some crucial mistakes on your donation page right this very moment that are killing its ability to capture donors (cue the scary music)!

Take a look at these 7 deadly donation page sins:

Long Forms

Imagine this: You walk into the grocery store just to pick up a pack of gum. You grab your favorite flavor and walk to the registers, and you see a line of 28 people in front of you and one lonely cashier ringing them up.

I don’t know about you, but I’m putting that gum back and leaving. Sale lost.

If you’ve got a huge form on your donation page visitors have to fill out to make a donation, you’re doing the same thing!

Visitors to your site may have an impulse to donate, but then they see that daunting form and change their mind. Attention spans on the internet are short.

Instead, try breaking your form up into three parts.

You can still capture all the information you need, but breaking the form up across parts makes it much less intimidating to visitors. In fact, this method increases donation conversion by 15%! Once a potential donor makes the commitment to fill out the first section and hit next, they’re more committed to finishing.

Check out the Los Angeles Zoo’s donation page for a great example.

Not Being Mobile-Friendly

This is a big one. Mobile traffic is quickly gaining on desktop traffic. During peak giving season of 2014-2015, mobile/tablet traffic accounted for 36% of all visits to WeDidIt donation pages. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re ignoring more than a third of all potential donors.

Not Offering Recurring Donations

Many donors would consider a recurring gift, but are never presented with the opportunity. If you aren’t offering them the ability to do this, you’re missing out on reliable revenue and a dedicated supporter!

Adding Unnecessary Steps

In an effort to save a few dollars, many nonprofits use merchant processing tools designed for e-commerce. While functional, these tools often add unnecessary steps that make it more difficult for supporters to make a donation.

Does someone have to create a log-in to donate money to you? Or even add a donation to a shopping cart then check out? These steps could be costing you donations!

Taking Donors Away from Your Website

Just like our last deadly sin, this one is often born out of trying to use tools not designed for nonprofits. Maybe in order to accept a credit card donation, you redirect donors to a payment website.

But if you’re trying to attract repeat donors, your branding and website experience is going to be vital to making you memorable. In a world where donors are used to beautiful, streamlined buying experiences on sites like Amazon, sending them away from your page can leave a bad impression.

Asking Too Many Questions

Every question you ask requires donors to give up two very valuable things: time and privacy. There are certainly things that you have to ask (name, email, credit card information) to take a donation, but always aim to ask for the least amount possible from your donors.

Remember, this isn’t a one time transaction! Engage donors in your thank you email and use that as an opportunity to gain further information as you build a relationship with them.

Confusing Messaging

Stay on point. A good web page does one thing and does it really well. Your donation page should take donations, not tell your story. You’ve got other pages on your site to do that! Getting away from that mission on your donation pages just gives donors more opportunities to get distracted and forget about donating.

Crowdfunding Guide


Image credit: Flickr user Rob Shenk, CC BY-SA 2.0

Topics: Fundraising, Online giving, online fundraising

22,182 Readers and Counting!

Follow WeDidIt

Popular Posts