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create-donation-page

How to Create a Donation Page That Converts

Jules

As a nonprofit, you need to collect donations. Sure, it would be amazing if all of the world’s issues could be solved on passion alone, but we all know it does not work like that. Part of your job as a nonprofit is to collect donations and divert the funds to where they need to be.

The best way to collect donations online is through a donation page. A donation page for a nonprofit typically consists of some examples of your impact, your overall mission, and a way for your interested visitors to donate.

Here is what we will cover in this article:

Let’s go!

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Why a Donation Page is Important

A donation page is your organization’s main funnel when it comes to online donations. And because nearly a quarter of all donations are made online these days, a solid donation page can make your fundraising efforts significantly more effective.

Online donation trends are on the rise, so finding our how to maximize them is crucial.

Donation Pages Can Generate Awareness

Beyond all of the hard, concrete work you do, one of your goals as a nonprofit is to spread your message and bring awareness to your cause. A donation page can do this in a number of ways.

Because search engines like Google and Bing list websites that are relevant to what people are searching, someone who is trying to find out more about your cause may stumble upon your donation page. As we will discuss later on, your donation page is a great place to show off your work, detail the problems facing your beneficiaries, and give a rundown on what people can do to help.

Donation Pages Can Generate Significantly More Donations 

Every method of fundraising has its place, and each is beneficial in its own way. Using an online donation page allows organizations to easily set supporters up with recurring donations, should they be so generous.

Plus, due to the power of search engines, an online donation page can reach a global audience at the push of a button. With these combined benefits, your organization can build a consistent revenue stream over time that enables change at an even larger scale.

Donation Pages Collect Data

Another benefit of building and optimizing your online donation page is that you can use it to, with their permission, collect donor data. By simply requesting an email address, phone number, and name from each person who donates, you can begin to build a database of contact information for people who care about your mission.

create-donation-page-whySalma is excited to build her first donation page!

You can use this information down the line to bring awareness to new problems, run donation campaigns, and keep people up to date with your organization’s work. For example, if you launch a fundraiser for a project that was successful in the past, you can contact the same donors as they are likely to give to a similar cause.

Setting up a donation page is more simple than you may think. Companies like Wordpress, Webflow, Squarespace, and Springly (that’s us!), give organizations like yours an intuitive and very cost-effective way to create their own websites and donation pages.

But once it is set up, how do you make it pop? How do you optimize a donation page so that viewers convert into more donors? Let’s get into some best practices for donation pages to make sure yours hits all the marks.

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9 Best Practices for Nonprofit Online Donation Pages

Your organization donation page should be as unique as your nonprofit. However, when it comes to any kind of marketing, online resource, or donation channel, there are some best practices that you should adhere to.

These practices are a way to ensure you tell your story, highlight your amazing team, and maintain the donation page as a viable source of revenue. Here are nine best practices for your nonprofit donation page.

Do Not Make Registration Necessary

It can be tempting to use your donation page as a way to bolster membership, but the primary focus should be allowing passionate, like-minded people to donate, no matter their status with your organization.

Requiring people to become members before they donate can decrease your visitor-to-donor conversion, since you are adding another step to what would be an otherwise very simple process. 

Imagine it from the users' end: You find the donation page, read about the issues and what people can do to help, and hit the "donate" button, only to be rerouted to a membership sign-up page that is asking for a ton of information and commitment. You may be discouraged.

Instead, make the process as smooth as possible. There should be as few clicks (three or less) between seeing the donation page and completing a donation as possible. The fundraising goal should be to give people the information and then make it as easy as possible for them to donate if they want to.

Include Specified Donation Amounts

Including specified donation amounts or increments reduces indecision for the donor. Just like requiring membership before donating, requiring the donor to choose their own donation amount means they have to make a commitment, an extra decision that may make them second-guess themselves or give less than they otherwise would have.

The provided amount will depend upon the nonprofit, and the target audience. Choose amounts that are aligned with your audience’s typical donation amounts to help boost your conversion.

This concept also allows for something fun: a tiered "good, better, best" donation system. Many nonprofits opt to have a series of levels of donations, where a smaller donation is a lower tier, and a larger donation is a higher tier. Tiers can be configured to give high tiers some benefit, such as free merch, services, or recognition in the organization’s literature.

Pro Tip: If you do have suggested donation amounts, which we recommend, still allow donors to choose an amount. Offering suggestions helps the visitor think through what they want to give but you do not want to exclude the people who already have a specific amount in mind (or those who would be more generous than you would imagine).

Give Concrete Examples of Impact  

Your organization does a ton of great work. You should show it off, because doing so not only spreads awareness for your cause and organization, but it also shows that your organization is using donations to make a change.

When someone is considering donating to your cause, they like to know that their money will be in good hands. Describing projects is a great way to show that it will be.

Transparency is key here! It is not enough to describe the project. Give actionable results for each donation amount, how much is expected to be raised, what all of those funds will be used for. For example, a fundraiser for an animal shelter may say that they are hoping to raise $10,000 to buy supplies for an influx of dogs. They could tell potential donors that $10 would purchase 2 boxes of dogs treats, $15 would pay for a dog to get a rabies vaccine, and $20 would feed one dog for one month.

This is a great way to highlight the real change you make, which means donors know they have the ability to make a real difference by giving. Donors can look at these materials and know that they are making the right choice by donating. 

Pro Tip: Once you create a donation page, it is a good idea to optimize it for conversion. Otherwise, you might get "dead traffic": a ton of views on the donation page, with barely any funds coming through.

Include a Recurring Gift Option 

Donors are amazing. They freely give their hard-earned money for the sake of benefiting a less fortunate group, the environment, or social justice. Some donors even go so far as donating every week or month.

Your donation page should include an option for donors to give on a recurring basis. This makes it easy and convenient for people to make your organization and cause a bigger part of their life.  Only 14% of organizations ask donors to upgrade to a recurring donation. However, recurring donations mean you have a sustained source of revenue, which increases your return on investment so, be sure to ask!

You can fit this option alongside the suggested donation amounts, such that a patron can select their desired donation and then check a box if they want to pay it every month. They can agree to an autopay feature such that they do not have to remember to pay each cycle.

Allow Multiple Currencies

One of the primary advantages to having an online donation page is that it gives you access to a global audience. Someone in Mexico can donate to the Canadian wilderness; a person in Spain can contribute to a hospital in Ghana; an American can give to a Japanese charity at the push of a button. The ongoing war in Ukraine is a perfect example. People from around the world have donated their time, energy, and money for related humanitarian efforts.

Because giving is now a global phenomenon, and money crosses borders in huge amounts every day, it is crucial to accept multiple currencies on your donation page. Many onlinet payment companies have built-in features to allow various payment options, so setting it up is easier than you might expect.

create-donation-page-best-practicesEllie is taking some notes on best practices for her donation page.

When shopping for a payment processor, ask whether or not they accept the following most common currencies:

  • U.S. Dollars

  • Euros

  • Japanese Yen

  • Great British Pounds

  • Australian Dollars

  • Canadian Dollars

Turn Your Donation Page Into a Landing Page

Your donation page serves one ultimate purpose: to collect money. Everything about it should be in service to that goal. One way to facilitate this is to turn your donation page into a landing page. 

Contrary to other pages on your organization’s website, a landing page has no navigation bar back to your main site. It exists on its own, preventing potential donors from getting distracted. A landing page is something you promote so that people know how to find it in addition to your primary website.

https://support.worldwildlife.org/site/Donation2?df_id=15146&15146.donation=form1&s_src=AWE1800OQ18695A01430RX&msclkid=5a99405943c417bcc8a222d023512bf3&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Brand&utm_term=world%20wildlife%20federation&utm_content=World%20Wildlife%20Misnomers

The trick here is to make it easy to find your landing page, but hard to leave. In most website builders, you can add a link to the donation page on your main website while keeping the donation page free of buttons back to your home page. Make the link for your donation page large and attention-grabbing, so donors have no problems finding it and do not get side-tracked while looking for it!

Here are a few other features for your donation page:

Keep it short and sweet

A landing page is meant to accomplish a goal, so there should only be as much material on it as is needed in order to aid that goal. Talk about your impact, give examples of your work, and then let the donor make their decision.

Chances are, you are very passionate about your mission. That passion, when you write through it, actually tends to create very engaging content. Ironically, if it gets too long, this content can draw your donors in so much that they get distracted from donating.

Keep text to a minimum

The dreaded "wall of text" is a conversion killer. Unfortunately, many people tend to see reading as work. It is information that must be absorbed, retained, and then filed away for later use. The wall of text is an imposing task for people who have other things on their minds.

Keep text simple. Use bullet points and bolded headings to make concise and persuasive claims. Paragraphs should never be more than a few lines long. Even us at Springly try our best not to tire our readers out with walls of text!

Provide clear and concise calls-to-action

Calls-to-action are one of the most commonly overlooked optimizations in any donation page, even though they are extremely important.  The call-to-action is what ultimately convinces your reader that it is time to donate. 

Throughout the donation page, there should be at least a few, if not several, calls-to-action. It can be something as subtle as a bolded statement at the end of a paragraph about the problem you are trying to solve: "...and that is why we need your help."

Other calls-to-action include:

  • In-text links to the payment page

  • Labeled donation buttons

  • Banners with a payment link

 

 

Pro Tip: While you may be tempted to springle in several CTAs into your donation page, the best way to boost conversion is to use one, strong, clear CTA.

Finally, just make sure hitting on donation page basics, like:

  • Your organizations logo

  • A simple form for contact information

  • Info on your fundraising goal

  • Extra fields on forms for things like notes or dedications

Include a Personal Message From Your Leader

Part of increasing donation page conversion is building rapport. Your long-time donors and members, of course, know that your organization is the best, and are very familiar with your team and the impact that you have. But newcomers may need to see a little bit of depth before giving. 

People tend to prefer giving to other people, rather than to vague entities, so humanizing your organization is key. Including a personal message from your organization’s leader is the perfect way to do this.

Here are some examples of ways to include a message from your leadership:

  • An image of them with a quote

  • A banner with a personal statement of gratitude

  • A video of the president explaining the organization and all the work it does

Including this detail actually has a profound effect on conversion, since people can now associate a face, a human being, with the organization. This gives weight to the rest of the page, which expands on the depth of the mission and effectiveness of the work.

Set Up An Email Receipt

Sending a receipt is a good practice for any organization or business that accepts money online, but is particularly important for nonprofits since donations are typically tax-deductible. Providing an email receipt, which is typically done automatically via software (more on that later), means that come tax time, your generous givers can easily grab the information they need to get a tax break.

Sending email receipts also makes dispute resolution easier. Not that it comes up much for nonprofits, but if there is ever a discrepancy between a donor and your organization about donation amounts, both parties should have access to the records so things can be cleared up.

Enabling email receipts, of course, means you have to collect email addresses. This creates another upshot, since you can use contact information for later donation campaigns or newsletters. Always remember to ask for consent before using anyone’s email for purposes other than the receipt.

Pro Tip: Why not use your email receipt as an opportunity to engage with them further? Thank your donor, explain the impact their donation has had, and give them the opportunity to sign up for a recurring donation. 

Conduct Regular A/B Tests

 

"This is all great advice, Springly, but I have so many ideas for what to include on my donation page. How do I know which one will pay off?"

First of all, thank you! Second, you never know for certain at first, but you can find out through A/B testing. A/B testing is a fancy-sounding term for trying out two different versions of the same landing page at the same time and to roughly the same audience, and then seeing which one works best.

You will create an "A" page, which is your prior, or first, version of your donation page. Then, you will create a "B" page, where you have changed an element of the donation page to test how it affects conversion and traffic. Perhaps the "A" page has a CTA in pink lettering while the CTA on the "B" page is in blue.

Usually, website building or nonprofit fundraising softwares have built-in features to empower A/B testing. If yours does not, you can simply create two duplicate pages with two different URLs, and check the traffic and conversion on each page yourself.

When A/B testing, it is important to use the proper scientific method:

  1. Form a hypothesis: "I believe changing the image of volunteers in our first paragraph will help conversion."

  2. Control for one variable. Change the image in the first paragraph on your "B" page, but don’t change anything else. That way, if there is a boost in conversion, you know for a fact that it was changing the image that did it, not anything else.

  3. Gather data. Check the traffic and click-through rate of your "A" and "B" sites, and calculate which one is more effective for conversion. Calculate dollars earned per pageview; higher is better. In this example, we will say that the "B" page was better.

  4. Form a conclusion. "Changing the image in the first paragraph increased conversion"

  5. Repeat. Page "B" now becomes page "A". Change one thing to create a new page "B" and run the experiment again.

After a few iterations, you will have a fully optimized donation page. It is a good idea to repeat this experiment every few months.

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6 Tools to Create Your Donation Page

If you do not have a donation page set up already, you’ll need a few things to get it up and running. If you have a website builder, it is usually a simple task to use that one to create a stand-alone donation page.

create-donation-page-toolsMatt is checking out these tools right now!

If you do not have a website yet, or if you are looking to really nail your donation page, you should go with a dedicated nonprofit management software. These tools are specialized to help with the unique challenges that many nonprofits face, like tax status, compliance, and marketing.

Here are some tools you can use to create your nonprofit donation page:

Springly

Springly (that’s us!) is a nonprofit management software with immense functionality and customizability. Everything, from managing donor information to accepting payment, can be handled right from Springly’s software. Our fundraising tools allow your donation page to not only stand out from the crowd, but to meld seamlessly with your existing donation channels and marketing materials.

Donorbox

Donorbox is a purpose-built donation software. For collecting donations and fundraising data management, there are few better options.  Over 50,000 organizations use Donorbox to collect funds.

Wordpress

Wordpress is not a CRM nor a nonprofit software. However, if you are looking to create websites without coding experience, Wordpress is the industry go-to. 43% of all websites in the world are Wordpress-built, which speaks to its functionality and ease-of-use.

Squarespace

Squarespace is newer than Wordpress, but it quickly became one of the most popular website builders in the world. Like Wordpress, it is easy to use, comes with tons of website templates to fit your every need, but is not 100% geared for nonprofits.

Webflow

Webflow has a bit of a learning curve, but once you figure it out, it has far more flexibility than other website builders. Although not geared specifically to nonprofits, you can dictate what every pixel of your donation page is used for and implement any integration you want through its HTML embedder.

Salesforce

A leviathan in the CRM market, Salesforce has long been the go-to for customer management in for-profit businesses. But Salesforce also offers a donation management system that can unify all of your revenue sources in one easy-to-use interface. It is best used in conjunction with a dedicated website builder and we would be remiss not to mention that it is relatively expensive, making it out of reach for a number of organizations.

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Final Thoughts

Donation pages should be one of your primary revenue sources. Getting there takes a little bit of work, but it can pay off massively. 

Let’s recap our tips for nonprofit donation pages. Make the process easy for your potential owners by eliminating the need to register, providing several potential donation amounts, and accepting currency in as many forms as they are willing to give. Give examples of impact so they know what they are contributing and provide them a receipt after their gift. Make it easy for them to navigate to your donation page from your homepage but keep it their final destination. Include a personal message from your leader and do not forget to ask them whether they want to make it a recurring gift. 

Whether you choose Springly (we hope you do!), Donorbox, Wordpress, Squarespace, or Webflow, you are now geared up for creating or optimizing your donation page! Remember, focus on the goal: collecting funds. 

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FAQ

💡How do I collect donations online?

One of the most powerful ways to collect donations online is with a dedicated donation page. Separate from your website, the donation page serves only on primary function: to collect funds. Find out more. 

🔑 What makes a good donation page?

Here are nine best practices for making a good donation page: Don’t make registration necessary, include specified donation amounts, give examples of impact, including a recurring gift option, allow multiple currencies, create a landing age, include a personal message from leadership, and set up an email receipt. Find out more. 

📝What tools can you use to create a donation page?

The following are some of the top website builders and donation management software for creating a donation page: Springly, Donorbox, Wordpress, Squarespace, and Webflow. Find out more.  

Fundraising
Jules