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Donation Page Best Practices for Nonprofits + 5 Tips to Perfect Yours

Why Your Donation Page Matters

When a supporter wants to give your nonprofit or charity a donation online, where do they go? 

Your website. 

That’s where they’ll look for a big “Donate” button to take them to your donation page. But what happens when they get there? Do they have an easy, seamless giving experience? Can they complete their donation quickly and straightforwardly? 

Your donation page can provide your donors with an inspiring and joyful experience, or it can frustrate them. Their experience directly relates to whether or not they give, or keep giving. Your donation page can have a big impact on your revenue, positively or negatively.

Your donation page serves as the “home base” for online giving. Even if you make an appeal on social media, you’ll probably route it to your donation page. Your page will integrate with a payment processing tool like Stripe to collect donations. But, a nonprofit donation page is more than a payment processing apparatus. A good donation page also:

  • Inspires donors to give
  • Connects fundraising to your mission
  • Supports everyday giving and specific campaigns
  • Shows your donor their time, effort, and gift matters through an easy giving experience

Take your donation page to the next level and convert more donors with these donation page essentials.

Tip: Want to convert more donors with less clunkiness, drive more donations, and provide donors with a frustration-free giving experience, while simultaneously reducing the complexity and hassle for your development team? CauseVox Donation Pages make it simple. 

What Can A Donation Page Do?

How much difference can a donation page make? Just ask the Irish International Immigrant Center. When they switched from their generic PayPal donation portal to a branded, embedded donation form from CauseVox, their online giving doubled.

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Development Director Megan Miller says, “The CauseVox Donation Page has helped us raise $60,000 in the past 7 months. In the same period last year, we raised significantly less for all of our online fundraising combined, including year-end. It has been really great for us.”

How do you get results like that? By creating a nonprofit donation page that follows some simple best practices, and using tools that give your donors a joyful experience. 

Donation pages are simple to create, easy to manage, and remarkably compatible with your favorite fundraising and reporting tools. Let’s dig deeper into donation pages so you can determine how to get the most out of yours. 

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Benefits Of A Quality Donation Page

The way nonprofit fundraisers raise money today is vastly different from how it was just 10 years ago. Before online fundraising, many of us raised money the “old fashioned” way,  by focusing on major gifts, organizing grand fundraising events, and picking up the phone to schedule one-on-one meetings with donors.

Much of our effort was focused on those larger gifts. We were willing to sacrifice the recruitment of new small gift donors in exchange for a guaranteed major gift. 

Thankfully, online giving has leveled the playing field.

Today, we can get in front of all our donors, regardless of their giving level, via online fundraising. So, when you create and maintain a quality, effective donation page, you’re essentially creating an equal opportunity hub for donors.

Donation pages make it simple for anyone, on any device, to give in support of your nonprofit or charity. Here are some of the main benefits:

1. It Serves As The Face Of Your Organization

In many cases, the donation page is the first look your prospective donors have at your organization. Put your best face forward on your donation page to show your current and prospective donors you’re worth the investment. A sloppy, ill-formatted, or non-persuasive “hub” won’t do much to convince people your cause is well-managed and worthy of a gift.

CauseVox makes your donation page look spectacular. You can add your branding and colors, no coding needed. Your donation form fields are customizable, so you can keep things simple while collecting the exact donor data you want. With an embedded pop-up donation form, your donors will stay on your website, without a jarring redirect to a third-party site. 

Do your donors really care what your donation page looks like? In our experience, yes, they do. Beautiful, branded donation pages consistently outperform generic payment portals.

2. It Encourages People To Give

An effective donation page doesn’t just give people an outlet to give, it inspires them to do so. Your donation page is an ideal spot to add a quick statistic, fact, or impact-related message to show your donors how important their gift is to the work of the organization.

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The Testicular Cancer Foundation reminds donors of what they’re giving to support. 

“An effective donation page doesn’t just give people an outlet to give, it inspires them to do so.” tweet this

Custom donation tiers take donor impact one step further by tying each giving level to a specific outcome. This helps donors connect the money they give to the change their hoping to make. It also inspires higher giving, by suggesting gift amounts.

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Skid Row Housing Trust ties each donation tier to the impact a donation will have. 

Don’t forget to include a clear call-to-action, just to ensure your donation page visitors know what you want them to do.

3. It’s Highly Shareable

The internet has connected us in ways we could have never imagined. We link with friends on social media platforms, send emails, watch videos—all in a social setting. When we “Like” something, the world knows.

Cater to your supporters’ desire to share their own interests by including a social sharing option or redirect to a sharing option after the donation transaction is complete. In doing so, you’re creating a one-stop-shop for donors.

Donation page confirmation, share options, and redirect option back to a customized URL.

4. It Makes Data Tracking Easy

Are you buried under spreadsheets because you’re tracking different kinds of donations in different places? Make sure your donation page makes it easy to track your data and your donation page’s performance.

A CauseVox donation page will help you track your data with less effort. You can add offline donations and keep track of donor activity and history with its easy-to-use Fundraising CRM interface.

Donation pages allow you to see donations as they come in, in real-time. Plus, with easy access to reporting, you and your team will save time and headaches.

donation-page-listingDid a donor mail you a check or hand you an envelope of cash? With CauseVox, you can add it to be tracked in your donation page data with a click of a button.

Elements of an Effective Donation Page

CauseVox-powered donation pages are designed to provide an effective, hassle-free, and even joyful experience for you and your donors.  

CauseVox donation pages are effective because they include a number of important elements.

1. Clear Direction To The User

Donors should know exactly where to click to give. This means that a bold “Donate” (or similar message) button is a must-have. It should be easy to see in the top navigation and stands out whether it’s the color, size or all of the above. 

To maintain consistency and provide donors the best experience, make sure your donation page keeps your donor on your website. Redirecting to a 3rd party page can impact the donor’s trust in your organization (especially if it’s unbranded) and lends to a poor donor experience.

With CauseVox, you can embed your branded donation page right on your website.

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2. It’s Embedded On Your Website

Also, to maintain consistency and provide donors the best experience, make sure your donation page keeps your donor on your website. Redirecting to a 3rd party page can impact the donor’s trust in your organization (especially if it’s unbranded) and lends to a poor donor experience.

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CauseVox Donation Page embedded on Nicholas House’s website

They also use CauseVox’s embedded donation form so that donors never leave their website. This makes donors feel more secure, since they remain with the organization they trust, rather than a third-party site they may not recognize. This security results in greater giving. According to NP Source, custom-branded embedded donation pages raise six times more money.

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With CauseVox, you can embed your branded donation page on your website through a pop-up, or a new embeddable form directly on the page.

Unlike other clunky software platforms, this fundraising experience is a smooth one for the donor. 

Having the donation page embedded directly onto your site means your donor feels confident they’re donating to your cause and your cause alone. This increases the likelihood of a recurring donation and lasting relationship; what every nonprofit organization wants.

Here’s a few great examples of embedded donation pages.

3. Customization

Stupid Cancer uses CauseVox to keep their brand consistent on their donation page. Custom-branded donation pages build trust with donors, and increase both the size of average gifts and likelihood that a donor will make a second one.

Use colors familiar to your donors, such as those in your logo or other marketing materials. Familiar branding and imagery are always helpful in ensuring consistency and accountability.

With CauseVox, you won’t need to call IT or learn to code to build your branded page–it’s very easy, even for non-techies.

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Whenever possible, give your donors different options to choose from when making a donation. This can include recurring giving, suggested amounts and customizable donation tiers with descriptions (suggested levels of giving). 

By having donation tiers tied to impact, donors are more likely to make a donation based on the impact they can create, as opposed to a dollar amount. This often leads to larger donations, while helping donors feel like they’re making a difference for your mission.  

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4. Mobile-Optimized And Mobile Payment Options

Donors are reaching your donation page from a variety of devices, from computers and laptops and tablets and cell phones. The problem is, each of these devices has different screen sizes, loading timeframes, and more. Make sure your donation page is simple for anyone who accesses it, regardless of what device they’re using.

About 65% of all donations that you get online will be on mobile, and mobile giving is only growing.

But, if your donation page isn’t optimized for mobile, you’ll lose out on those mobile donations and frustrate your donors in the process.

Be sure to make it easy for your donors to donate on any device. CauseVox now offers Google and Apple Pay as mobile payment options for users. 

Since donations by mobile are a growing trend, making that process easy and seamless is not only helpful for the donor, but also a way to ensure your organization receives donations from every kind of device.

5. Simple Donation Process

The more clicks and fields a donor has to fill out, the higher the likelihood that your donor won’t complete their donation.

Donors shouldn’t feel like giving through your donation form is a chore. So, the simpler you can make the experience, the better.

Eliminate fields you may not need, like postal address, and use a solution that makes their giving experience easy — and you’ll see a much higher conversion rate.

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With CauseVox’s new donation page interface, users can make a donation in two steps, which makes the process of achieving donations super simple and seamless. 

If donors have to wade through a clunky platform or multiple steps just to make a donation, chances are high they could get frustrated and leave your site before completing the transaction. 

CauseVox’s new donation page interface takes the guesswork out of the process and gets the donor from point A to point B in two simple steps. 

6. Integrating With Fundraising and Reporting Tools

Do you have fundraising tools you like, such as a nonprofit CRM,  donation processor, or a communications platform to manage your outgoing emails? Whenever possible, ensure your donation page accommodates these additional fundraising and reporting tools. Integration = ease.

CauseVox plays nicely with others, integrating with more than 1,500 tools. This frees up your time from manually transferring data, and helps streamline your process so you can focus on your donors.

7. Monthly Recurring Payment Options

If your donation form doesn’t have the ability for your donors to give monthly, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.

Recurring donors give 42% more than one-time donors over the course of a year.

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Plus, recurring donations keep your donor engaged. 

The Fundraising Effectiveness Project of 2015 found that 19% of first-time nonprofit donors were retained compared to 63% of repeat donors, meaning that your chances of losing a donor decrease the more frequently they give.

If a donor is engaged with your mission, why wouldn’t you go after recurring donations? By selecting “monthly recurring” vs. “one-time” donors can make monthly donations with just one click, eliminating frustration and making it easy for donors to continually support your mission.

When you use CauseVox for your recurring donation pages, you’re increasing the donor’s engagement and ensuring they stay involved. CauseVox helps you:

  • Increase recurring donor conversion by allowing you to pre-select recurring donations vs one time
  • Set up the perfect gift sizes to get more recurring donations coming through your form.
  • Increase recurring donor gift sizes, helping increase overall digital giving all year long.
  • Customize the giving experience for your recurring donors.
  • Automatically send emails to rescue lapsed recurring donors if a donor’s credit card fails

If your donors are committing to give monthly, you’ll want to use a service that helps you retain donors. You want to ensure you give them a quick and easy way to update their card, helping prevent donor churn and help you continue raising more long-term.

8. An Upgrade From Paypal

The argument to use CauseVox over PayPal for your donate button is complex. Ultimately though, CauseVox is a better user experience overall. 

The PayPal “Donate” button is a simple tool to collect donations through, but it offers a subpar giving experience and looks unprofessional. The customization, donor information, and fee structure fall short. Donors are also more likely to drop-off and not complete the transaction when they are taken to an unbranded page.

Through CauseVox Donation Pages, your donors will have a more fluid experience, and your nonprofit will receive more data. With more control over branding and donation tiers, CauseVox users have reported a 2x increase in funds raised and gift size when switching from using a PayPal “Donate” button.

5 Tips To Perfect Your Donation Page

As you can see, a lot goes into creating a stellar donation page. However, when you work with CauseVox to power your donation page, the process of setting up and maintaining your donation page is easy and straightforward.

Before you dive into creating your own donation page, consider these 5 final best practices.

“Before you dive into creating your own donation page, consider these 5 final best practices.“ tweet this

1. Integrate With Other Platforms

Before you get started, consider that having a good donation page isn’t all about the front-end experience. It should also streamline administrative tasks for you, saving you time and effort. Whenever possible, you should ensure your donation page integrates with the other tools and applications you use, saving you time and effort while streamlining your donation process. 

2. Strive to Maintain Consistency

As mentioned above, don’t forget to incorporate your color scheme, logo, and any other defining branding to your donation page. You want this standalone page to feel like the branch that connects your website and social media pages together.

3. Make It Simple For Anyone and Everyone

Donors are reaching your donation page from a variety of devices, from computers and laptops and tablets and cell phones. The problem is, each of these devices has different screen sizes, loading timeframes, and more. Make sure your donation page is simple for anyone who accesses it, regardless of what device they’re using.

Plus, it should be simple for you, too. You should be able to see donations as they come in, in real-time. And it should be easy to access all your donation data, saving you and your team time and headaches.

Trends show that mobile giving is growing, and about 65% of all donations you get will be coming from mobile. With CauseVox, donors can easily make donations from any device.

Donation pages are optimized for mobile payments and CauseVox now offers Google and Apple Pay as payment options for users to give with one-click.

4. Offer Giving Options

It’s always a good idea to include multiple giving options, including recurring giving and suggested amounts.

If you’re unsure about what options to include, pull your donor data and determine how many people give monthly and other statistics such as average gift amount.

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Summit Assistance Dogs uses impact-driven tiers.

5. Limit Distractions

Once a potential donor is on your page, the last thing you want is for them to get distracted by outside links, complex stories, or anything else that takes them away from the task at hand: giving to you!

Limit all distractions so there’s nothing else competing for their attention. With CauseVox’s new donation page interface, users can make a donation in two steps, which makes the process of achieving donations super simple and seamless. There are less steps and fields for donors to fill out, which increases the likelihood that they’ll complete their donation.

6. Customize the Receipt

Since you’re receiving donation information in real-time, go ahead and send a confirmation receipt as soon as possible.

With CauseVox, you can create a customized receipt up to tax-deductible standards that will send automatically after a donation is made. The receipt serves as an acknowledgment that you received the gift and that you appreciate it. Plus, this saves you time in having to manually send receipts later.

Plus, it sets the stage for further engagement (and thus retention) efforts down the road.

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Customize Donation Receipt Using CauseVox Donation Pages

7. Make Security A Priority

Across the internet, there’s been an increased number of security breaches, leaving many people’s cards vulnerable. Unfortunately, organizations are liable for any fraudulent charges made on their donation page. Be sure your solution has fraud prevention running in the background for you, helping you fundraise with confidence.

CauseVox donation pages have advanced fraud detection built in, reducing the chance of fraudulent transactions appearing on your account. 

Convert More Donors With Less Clunk

Thousands of nonprofits use CauseVox to raise more online and make it simple for anyone, on any device, to support their cause. Are you ready for a donation page that drives donations and gives donors a joyful experience?

This post was originally published on 12/12/17 and was updated on 07/20/20.

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