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 Optimising Your Online Donation Forms by Itineris

Optimising Your Online Donation Forms by Itineris

We all want those all important conversions on our website, don’t we? So, what if I told you that users may be...
Lee Hanbury-Pickett,
Senior Developer
Optimising Your Online Donation Forms by Itineris

We all want those all important conversions on our website, don’t we? So, what if I told you that users may be making their way through the user journey and it’s your website forms which are hindering your conversion rate? You’d want to act quickly, right?

Studies have shown that long, monotonous processes of donating are detracting supporters from giving even during the donation process. As we understand the importance of income generation for not-for-profit organisations, we have seen first-hand that investment in tracking and optimisation can have a dramatic impact on how effective your forms are. For example, for one of our clients we helped to increase their conversion rate by 60% which resulted in an overall 200% increase in revenue from their website.

Blue donate button

By giving that much needed love and attention to your donation pages you could see a considerable increase in conversion rates; something that we are very much invested in as I’m sure you are too! Based on our vast experience helping not-for-profit clients with donation page redesign and builds, we have put together four tips which we think are vital to ensure a successful income generating donation process for the user.

1. Be concise

It’s an unwritten rule that it shouldn’t take any longer to donate to a campaign than it does to read about it. Any longer and you might lose the potential donors attention. In relation to this, you should think about removing any fields or text which is unnecessary to have on the form. How many times have you been filling in a form online and it’s been so long that you’ve ended up giving up halfway through completion?

Microsoft did a study last year which stated that the average human now has an attention span of eight seconds. In an ‘on demand’ world, people just don’t have the patience to read through long forms. Even if people have all the will in the world, if they feel like they are having to give you information which isn’t necessary then they just won’t bother. Every additional question you ask may mean that you lose one more donor who simply can’t be bothered to fill that question in, or doesn’t understand why you need to ask 21 questions when they simply want to donate money.

We have seen previous examples with clients where they are simply asking too many questions and we have found dramatic increases in conversion when this form is stripped right back to basics and only includes question fields which are vital to the giving process.

Keep it simple

2. Be emotive

When it comes to donations, one question which will go through the users head would be ‘How exactly will my money be used?’. Whether this is on the donation form itself or thanking donors for giving; you can create compelling marketing messages to communicate with potential supporters to show them how their money will make a difference.

A really cool idea for this is to show users different donation amounts on the form , so for example, £15 for three meals, £40 for therapy sessions and £100 for an evening of restbite care. By appealing to someone’s emotional side they may be more likely to donate a little bit more money than they were intending to as the pre-set options are presented to them and they have a more tangible meaning to them.

Emotive imagery can also be used on campaign landing pages or through specific campaign donation modules. The importance of capturing the hearts of your users and leading them to your donation process with a story often starts before they reach the donation form itself. Imagery which connects with specific campaigns could connect emotionally with those landing on your site – even better if you can personalise the imagery through the donation process for that specific campaign.

3. Be considerate of retention

One thing to think about , rather than just the donation form, is the donation process as a whole. Be sure that you know how you’re going to retain the donor after the donation has been made. Whether they have donated one-off or set up a direct debit, you want their experience with you to be great from start to finish with the hope that they will continue to donate.

A good way to do this is to make sure that your campaign landing page, confirmation page and email confirmation of the donation are optimised. This makes sure they arrive on the donation form simply and quickly, thank the donor, make them feel valued, communicate the impact of the donation and to encourage a second interaction.


4. Be PCI compliant

In our experience, we have found that not-for-profit clients can be susceptible to cyber-attacks and other types of fraudulent scams. Therefore it is important that you manage this threat as best as possible to ensure that personal information of your donors isn’t at risk.

According to the Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2019 many charities have moved towards improving their cyber security. If you are within the minority, or you aren’t keeping up to date with advice, you are putting yourself at risk and you must implement a correct process to keep your business and customer’s data secure.

Many organisations use payment gateway software that provides fraud prevention, such as Stripe. Significant decreases in fraudulent activity have been noted since involving Stripe into the online payment process, with Kinsta seeing a decrease of attacks by 98%. Stripe’s top 3 golden rules are to monitor transactions, ensure to require the CVV and consider setting limits.

Back in 2017 Macmillan recovered £168,788 in missing donations after creating a new counter-fraud role internally. Heightened fraud awareness right across the organisation contributed to 320 cases being investigated over the 2 years!

For more information, you can read The Charity commission and the Fraud Advisory Panel’s report ‘Tackling charity fraud: prevention is better than cure’.

This online security is also very important when looking at Google Analytics, you can read through our data blog post which let’s you know the importance of ensuring Personal Identifiable Information isn’t being passed through to your analytics data here.

Now …over to you!

We know that optimising your donation pages doesn’t start and end with the above 4 points. But they are just some initial key ideas which we think can play a vital part to enhancing the performance of the donation process. Dependant on the level of tracking you have set up, you may also be able to track the user journey throughout the form to see where you may be losing donors. Let us show you how we do it…