Your nonprofit donation page is the place where you collect key supporter information and receive online gifts. It’s an integral part of your online fundraising efforts, with a poorly designed donation page even being the reason that potential givers lose interest and click away from your site.
As we head into the new year and say goodbye to 2020, prioritizing your online fundraising efforts is more critical than ever. With a global pandemic keeping many of us indoors, your online efforts will likely make up a large bulk of your projected fundraising revenue. Ensuring your online donation page is doing all it can should be one of the first steps you take.
If an online donation page takes too long to fill out, is disorganized, is hard to find, and asks irrelevant questions, even your most passionate supporters might be driven away. Your donation page should incentivize online gifts, not prevent them.
At iATS Payments, we’ve worked with thousands of nonprofits to securely process online gifts and increase their fundraising efforts. We’ve written about donation page best practices before and wanted to share some of our favorite insights for the Crowd101 audience. These are the top donation page essentials you need to consider if you want to increase fundraising in 2021:
- Invest in a dedicated and secure online payment processor.
- Embed your online donation form.
- Make use of the entire donation page.
- Optimize your donation page for mobile.
- Provide additional opportunities for engagement.
You probably already have a dedicated online donation page that you use. However, it’s always worth it to ensure that you’re not glossing over any gaps or risks that could be stifling your online fundraising efforts. Let’s begin.
1. Invest in a dedicated and secure online payment processor.
When someone gives to your organization online, they’re likely going to input their personal financial information in order to make the gift. This might be their credit card number or their bank account routing number. It’s extremely important that your nonprofit is doing all it can to protect that sensitive information.
This can be done with the right online payment processor. Nonprofit online payments aren’t too different from other online transactions that you make to businesses or restaurants. However, that doesn’t mean you should use just any payment tool to process your donations.
Taking some insight from our iATS Payments article on nonprofit payment processing, your best bet is investing in a tool that’s built specifically for nonprofit organizations. For instance, you should have the following specialized capabilities:
- Full integration with your donation page and form, making the giving process seamless and streamlined
- Acceptance of all major types of payments, including debit, credit, and ACH
- Acceptance of gifts from international countries
- Protective measures for your donations like tokenization, encryption, and other fraud protection tools
- PCI compliance to ensure the tool is following Payment Card Industry guidelines
As a sensitive and important process to your online fundraising, how you accept payments can make or break your online fundraising efforts. Even one major data breach or financial hack can cast a negative light on your organization.
2. Embed your online donation form.
One of the most common reasons that potential donors might turn away from giving is that the donation process is too long and not streamlined. A key way to prevent this is simply embedding your online donation form into your donation page.
This seems like common sense. However, many fundraisers send their supporters to a third-party page to fill in their information and submit a gift. This not only interrupts the donation process but might even worry the giver enough to not fill out the form if they think the page is untrustworthy. This can happen if the third-party page isn’t branded to your organization, causing prospects to be suspicious.
Embedding the donation form within your donation page doesn’t just streamline the giving process, but also keeps the supporter on your main website and sets the stage for additional online engagement. If your donation form isn’t embedded, it should at least be branded to your nonprofit.
3. Make use of the entire donation page.
Apart from your donation form, how else should you be filling up the blank space on your online donation page?
Consider this from a new donor’s point of view. First impressions can set the stage for the type of engagement they’re going to have with your organization. As soon as they land on your donation page, consider what you want them to see and what information should be communicated.
For instance, at the top of your donation page, include elements that both draw the user in and provide some context as to what the fundraising is for. Your nonprofit logo and any other major branding should be included, as well as a brief description of the fundraiser at hand and the cause that it is hoping to help.
If you want to really maximize your fundraising, consider elements that might incentive your donor to give even more. This could be a compelling news headline demonstrating the need for the fundraiser or even a photograph of the community you’re helping. This can grab the user’s attention by connecting with them emotionally.
These do a good job of telling your nonprofit’s story, building the relationship between the donor and your brand, and connecting the donor to your mission. Even if this isn’t a new donor, it doesn’t hurt to reiterate your cause. After all, that’s why they keep giving to your organization.
However, keep in mind that you don’t want to overload your donation page with content. This can distract the user from ever completing their gift. Keep the top of the page simple, sticking to 1 or 2 elements to represent your brand.
4. Optimize your donation page for mobile.
Did you know that 81% of Americans now own smartphones and that 1 in 5 Americans are smartphone-only users, meaning that’s the only way that they access the internet? That’s why it’s essential that your donation page (and the rest of your nonprofit website) is mobile optimized.
This not only increases convenience for your donors (no one likes it when their phone doesn’t display the full screen of a website) but optimizing your site for mobile devices ensures that all types of people can access your site. According to DNL OmniMedia’s nonprofit web compliance guide, mobile optimization is actually a huge factor in website accessibility.
So how can you optimize your donation page for mobile? Consider how your page design will show on all types of screen sizes. Your CMS and website might already account for mobile use, but there are also additional ways that you can ensure your website and donation page can be accessed by all types of users:
- Keep your font large
- Ensure all buttons are brightly colored and easy to find
- Keep the donation page layout vertical
Along with the above basic tips, you can even use this Google tool to test how your website might look on different devices. That way, you can adjust the page to ensure it’s fully functional and that donors can give whenever motivation strikes.
5. Provide additional opportunities for engagement.
If you want to really amplify your online fundraising efforts, consider how you can provide additional engagement opportunities or ways to increase an online gift. There are even elements that you can incorporate straight into your online donation page.
However, don’t let these additional engagements take away from the core purpose of the page— submitting an online gift. Consider offering these opportunities once the gift is completed or at the end of the form.
Here are a couple of additional opportunities for your engagement you can use:
- Add a searchable matching gift database so that donors can quickly look up whether they’re matching gift eligible. Who knows? Maybe their gift can be doubled (or tripled!) by their employer. Learn more about some of our favorite matching gift databases here.
- Feature a recurring donation option to encourage donors to give on a monthly, yearly, or another regular basis.
- Incorporate a contact form where donors can opt into regular nonprofit communications and newsletters.
- Share connections to social media accounts so that donors can follow your organization on other platforms and learn about recent accomplishments, relevant news, and upcoming events.
If a user is on your online donation page, you already know that they’re interested in your cause and want to support it in some way. That’s why it’s a great place to set up the stage for future engagement, like through email or social media. Specific elements like a matching gift database or a recurring gifts option can even increase your online fundraising.
Your online donation page is the most important factor in the online giving process. So why shouldn’t you do all you can to ensure it’s maximizing all opportunities? Whether it’s simply investing in a more secure payment tool or ensuring your page is mobile optimized, these five donation page essentials will set you up for success in the upcoming year. Good luck!
Peggah is a passionate Sales Executive with 10 years’ experience providing payment solution support and guidance to nonprofits.