A guest post by Jacob Spencer

Today, your organization’s donors likely begin their giving journey on your website. But, as you might have noticed, there can sometimes be a disconnect between a visitor arriving on your site and following through with a donation. 

What causes this gap? The answer might lie in something organizations often overlook- your donation page. 

If you’re interested in cultivating great relationships with your supporters, turning them into donors and advocates for your cause, the place to start is your donation page. 

According to Donately’s article on donation page tips, if a donor sees your donation form as difficult or cumbersome to use- or worse, untrustworthy- they’ll probably abandon their donation. However, you can prevent that from happening if you understand some donation page creation best practices.

In this post, we’ll walk you through five things you can do today to create a donation page that will convert site visitors to donors: 

  1. Tell your organization’s story. 
  2. Use well-worded CTAs. 
  3. Brand your donation form. 
  4. Include multiple ways to give. 
  5. Build in a plan to thank your donors. 

As you read through these tips, take some time to assess your organization’s donation page and determine its shortcomings. Then, work with your team to figure out what your donors actually need from your donation page and apply these ideas to optimize your virtual fundraising efforts. 

Let’s dive in. 

woman working on computer

1. Tell your organization’s story

Donors are interested in giving to your organization because they care about the good that you’re doing and because they feel connected to your mission. That means they have an emotional investment in your organization- something you can remind them of with your donation page. 

Use your donation page to tell your organization’s story. Remind site visitors why they’ve come this far and who they’re giving to. There are a few things to remember when telling your story that will help you better connect with a potential donor: 

  • Use one or two eye-catching images that capture the heart of your mission. 
  • Write with succinct but striking language, nailing down what you’re going to do with the donation.
  • Focus on the donor, emphasizing the impact that they have because of their generosity. 

A good example of a page that follows these tips is the Days for Girls International donation page. The donation page uses one attention-grabbing image and summarizes the organization’s story before getting into the nitty gritty of the donation form. 

Remember to focus on building a relationship with every potential donor that navigates through your site to your donation page. Yes, you want them to donate. But more importantly, you want them to become a lifelong supporter of your organization. Reminding them of your story can help you accomplish that goal. 

2. Use well-worded CTAs

A call-to-action (CTA) is a simple phrase that encourages people to complete an action. A CTA button might convince your site visitor to open your donation form from your donation page, which gets them closer to giving. 

A common problem with CTAs is that most people simply choose “Donate now!” or “Give today!” as their CTA, phrases that are a little generic and overdone. Your CTA should be impactful, persuasive and aimed at converting website visitors into lifelong supporters of your cause. 

Instead of choosing typical words like “donate” or “give,” opt for more descriptive action verbs. Try out some of these: 

  • Fight
  • Advocate 
  • Save
  • Combat
  • Intervene
  • Join 

Choosing your CTA wording carefully will help remind donors what exactly their donation is going toward and that, by giving, they are becoming part of something bigger. 

Optimizing your CTAs gives you the opportunity to step into your donors’ shoes, identify what they need and want from the online giving experience and then design your CTAs (and the rest of your donation page) accordingly.  

3. Brand your donation form

Often, organizations focus a lot of time on the look of their website, but then use a generic-looking donation form. When a donation form looks so generic that it appears to come from a third-party site, the act of donating feels disconnected from your organization. Worse, donors might feel like the page is untrustworthy, even if it isn’t. 

To avoid this issue, make sure your donation form is branded to your organization. Use the colors, logos, symbols and imagery that your donor associates with you and your mission on the donation form itself. This will help confirm for the donor that they can trust your donation form with their contact information and payment details. 

4. Include multiple ways to give

If you’re focusing on converting more supporters or website visitors to donors, you have to be aware of every potential donor and make sure that your donation process includes them. 

To create an inclusive donation page, optimize your donation page for mobile users and adhere to accessibility guidelines. You also need to include multiple ways for your donors to give. You might offer the following: 

  • Credit card, PayPal and ACH debit payments
  • Information about donation matching eligibility 
  • Recurring gift option 
  • Suggested donation amounts 

When a donor sees that your donation form will allow them, for example, to pay with a debit card or determine whether or not their employer participates in matching gifts, they will feel like your organization sees them and works hard to anticipate their needs as donors. 

5. Build in a plan to thank your donors

The online donor journey shouldn’t just end when someone submits their payment information. In order to retain the donors you’ve converted and turn them into lifelong supporters, you have to express your gratitude for their contribution to your cause. 

Make sure that every donor is thanked right after they donate and make sure that thank-you is personalized with their name. You might even take the appreciation process a step further and email or mail a longer, more personalized thank-you letter. 

Consider your donor demographics to determine the best course of action. For instance, you might send Facebook messages to younger supporters, or personalized letters to those in your surrounding community. Remember that saying thank you will go a long way in helping you to maintain relationships with your supporters. 

Because creating an effective donation page is part of your organization’s broader strategy for processing donations, it’s well worth your time to work with your team and think through your donors’ experience with your page. As you incorporate these ideas for making your donation page the best it can be, make sure to seek feedback from your donors to better customize your donation page and improve the donor journey.

Jacob SpencerJacob Spencer strives to make every step of the customer journey as enjoyable as possible. His goal is to turn everyone that trusts Donately into a raving fan! Raising funds can be daunting, but with the right tools, it can and should be easy. 

Throughout his career, he’s been able to help sales and success teams tackle new markets, grow and expand. 

Leading with empathy, listening to actually solve problems and remembering that we are all human are the key elements to growing any business in a meaningful way.

When he’s not working you can find Jacob spending time with his wife, 2 boys and Border Collie, Abbie. Family > Everything.