A critical way for nonprofits to boost fundraising is by increasing their donation page conversion rate. A higher conversion rate for your online fundraising pages means that a greater percentage of those visiting your page are submitting your donation form and giving you a gift.
But how do you successfully increase your donation page conversion rate? Here are nine tips you can use to increase the effectiveness of your online fundraising forms.
1. Be Compelling and Concise with Your Donation Form Appeal
When crafting your online fundraising appeal, present your case succinctly for why someone should donate. As a rule of thumb, consider that it should take no more time for a visitor to read your appeal than it will take to actually complete your donation form.
2. Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.
Your online donation page is for one purpose: accepting donations. It should not actively encourage a visitor to do anything except make a donation. Eliminate any and all distractions from that single-minded purpose. Remove any left or right columns that contain unrelated content. Do not include links to other calls to action in the donation page text. Consider ditching the main navigation for your website from the page header. Focus the visitor on what they are there for - and nothing else.
3. Require Fewer Clicks and Keystrokes to Submit Your Donation Form
The fewer clicks and keystrokes required to submit a donation form, the more likely that form will be submitted. Whenever you're tempted to include questions beyond the essentials for payment - if your online fundraising tool allows for them - ask yourself if the information is valuable enough to warrant making your donation form more complicated and less apt to be submitted.
Where possible, auto-fill information for the visitor to ease their donation process. A classic example of this is with the Soapbox Engage's Donations app which allows the donor to enter one name for their contact information and a different name for the credit card holder - but auto-fills the latter with the former since, in most cases, this is the same person.
4. Highlight Your Brand to Build Trust with the Donor
Completing an online donation form is an act of trust in your organization and its mission by the donor. They are entering into a relationship with you based on that trust: a trust that your organization has the ability and intention to make good on your stated commitment to use their money to further a purpose they believe in. Your branding with your name and your logo are valuable assets in cultivating that trust.
Make sure that your organization isn’t using an online fundraising form that places their brand above yours. The relationship is between you and the donor, not the donor and the online donation app provider.
5. Ask for the Right Amount to Boost Your Donation Page Conversion Rate
Providing predefined, suggested donation amounts can make the donor's experience that much easier by allowing them to choose from a small subset of options. And simplifying the decision making process can lead to higher conversion rates.
When creating these predefined donation amounts, it will be helpful to have a solid handle on your fundraising data as well as a clear view of your donation page's audience. A good starting point will often be the mode from your fundraising data, or the donation amount that appears most often in your data set. If your donation software allows for differing one-time and recurring donation predefined amounts, like the Soapbox Engage Donations app, you can take the mode for each type of donation. The mode will be useful for leveraging a psychological truth: when given a range of options, people naturally gravitate to the one in the middle. So, if you have three predefined donation amounts for one-time and three for recurring, you can look to use the mode as the middle of these three values.
For more on predefined amounts and how you can take things to the next level by personalizing your ask amounts for different groups or individuals, check out Making the Right Fundraising Ask: Smart Strategy for Successful Appeals.
6. Provide Payment Options to Your Donors to Increase Your Donation Page Conversion Rate
For many would-be donors, a credit card option is sufficient for giving to your organization. For some, due to preference or circumstance, it isn't. Allowing for alternate payment methods, like the use of a PayPal account, adds to the likelihood that visitors will give and boosts your donation form conversion rate.
Knowing your constituents will help inform how valuable this option is. For Global Fund for Women, a leader in advancing the rights of women and girls worldwide, offering PayPal as an option proves a valuable payment method. This is true both for individuals in developing countries where only 7% of adults have credit cards and for smartphone users wishing to type fewer characters to log into their PayPal account rather than entering a longer credit card string. Including this option has seen it used by 20% of donors in fundraising campaigns.
7. Create Online Donation Pages Specific to a Campaign for a Better Donation Page Conversion Rate
While your nonprofit's main donation page is an essential starting place for your online fundraising forms, campaign-specific pages can often prove to be the most effective in driving traffic and posting strong conversion rates. Why? With a specific, targeted, time-bound campaign, you can zero in on a straightforward call to action that highlights a specific opportunity or challenge. This allows your organization to craft and share compelling marketing messages through direct email, mass email, social media and other channels that inform the visitor before they ever land on your donation page. The donation page then becomes the final touch point in a series of campaign-specific messages that highlights the need to act and to act soon, making the final decision to donate all the easier.
One need look no further than Giving Tuesday to see the value of campaign-specific, time-bound calls to action. Creating a separate donation page for Giving Tuesday this year could be a great place to start for your organization if it is new to offering campaign-specific fundraising forms. But you don't need to wait until the end of the year to leverage this tactic. Highlight current initiatives your organization is pursuing, create a campaign around a particular news headline that affects your mission, or target relevant calendar dates throughout the year that help to drive home your mission and offer a relevant reason to donate.
8. Create Donation Pages Specific to your Audience
Much like campaign-specific donation pages, audience-specific pages that are linked from targeted marketing messages can boost online donation page conversion rates. This gives the opportunity to personalize fundraising communications across key groups that starts with an initial email or direct mail piece and culminates in the targeted donation page itself. Be they board members, sustaining supporters, high end donors, or engaged advocates who haven't given yet, audience-specific donation forms and targeted communications can boost conversion rates by speaking specifically to key constituents.
9. Mobile-Optimize Your Online Donation Form for a Higher Donation Page Conversion Rate
According to the M+R Benchmarks study, website main donation page conversion rates differ dramatically by device with desktops coming in at 20%, tablets at 16%, and mobile devices at a meager 8%. One potential cause of this is donation pages that don’t present well on a cell phone. Make sure that your online donation forms are optimized to appear on mobile devices - even if your main website isn’t.