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Optimize your non profit donation form

Tips for optimizing your NPO donation form

Amy W, 31/08/2017
Tips for optimizing your NPO donation form

Non profits also need to optimize

Non profits are organizations that run on very tight budgets. They need the constant help of volunteers and donations to keep them going and there is no room for spending. Quite the opposite: They need to make the most of their resources at any given time. Whether it means recruiting more volunteers, utilizing them more wisely according to their skills, or even optimizing the organization’s donation form - these are all ways to get the most out of what you have.

Frank Barry from npENGAGE shows it is worthwhile to optimize your donation form. He gives an example of how a small change can make a big difference and gives tips on how to effectively optimize your donation form.

“Simple math tells us that:
If you get 1,000 visits to your online donation form and 1% convert into donors, you’ll have 10 donors.
If you get 1,000 visits to your online donation form and 3% of them convert into donors, you’ll have 30 donors. That’s a 200% improvement! And depending on your average gift amount, this could equate to a significant increase for your organization.”

Learn how to optimize from e-commerce

Dawn Stoner in her post “6 things nonprofits can learn from e-commerce checkout pages (and apply to their Donation Pages)” claims that donation forms can benefit a lot from using tactics of commercial marketers. She says that “Even though nonprofits do a lot more testing than in years past, published research on what “works” to lift donation page conversion rates is still fairly hard to find. That said, there’s plenty that charities can learn from optimization efforts on e-commerce checkout pages when it comes to improving the user experience for donors.”

So at the end of the day...a donation form is a still a form and you should optimize it, same as you should with all your other forms. Conversions are something you have to work for, and donation forms are not an exception.
So if you are creating a donation form you should read the following tips to help you optimize it: (If you are already using a donation form - this applies to you as well. Optimization is an ongoing process and it is never too late to make adjustments in your form, Keep in mind that fine tuning takes time and many trials and errors).

Optimization tips for donation forms:

1- Responsive. Did you know that In 2016, 17% of online transactions were made using a mobile device? Make sure that your form is responsive and looks good in regular pc screens, tablets and mobiles.

2- Use a CTA button. Call your users to act. Don't just use the boring button text “Submit”, let your audience know exactly what you want them to do (use text like: donate now). In addition make this button stand out: make sure it’s big enough, has contrast, and located above the page fold.
In this example: Charity water

3- Use relevant striking images to help get your donor’s attention as well as get your point across.
In this example: The New York Public Library

4- Make your donors feel secure: Make sure your form is branded and everything is transparent (contains your logo, organization name, etc.) so the donor knows exactly where he is and who he is donating to. You can also add a security seal to gain trust.

5- Keep it short: don't expect your donors to fill in many fields. Narrow it down and don't use required fields unless you have to. People get intimidated by long forms.

6- suggest a few donation amounts the donor can choose from. This, according to research, increases the average online gift size. In addition, provide the option to enter a Custom Amount, if the donor wishes to specify a different sum.
In this Example: Pencils of promise

7- test your form. Monitor the responses and re engage if needed.
Create a few variations of your form and use A/B Testing to find out which one gets the best

8- Use social media wisely. Enable your donors to share your link after they have donated. This will give you more coverage and may even get you more donors.

9- provide inline field validations. What could be more frustrating then filling in the entire form, and just when you think you’re done and press on the “Submit” button you find out that you have fields that need correcting? Spare your users the ordeal and let them know instantly when a mistake was made.

10- Provide information about how you plan to use the donations. Make sure to be transparent and give examples of previous donations and how they were spent, to gain your donors’ trust.

11- Follow Up - Use email automation and create messages to go out once the donation is passed. People want to feel like they make a difference. It is courteous, it is polite and it is the right thing to do.
Failing to follow up will convey the message that donors are a “dime a dozen” and that could turn them into one-time donors. Here are some thank you letter guidlines and examples

If your NPO is working with Salesforce (NPSP) have your online donation form integrated with it so all of the donation data will also be synced there.
Avoid pushing data to Salesforce manually (it takes up time and may result in human errors), but rather opt for a seamless integration between your form and Salesforce. 
Learn more about how to push data to Salesforce.