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6 Essential Donation Page Best Practices


By Contributing Author

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Published January 30, 2015 Reading Time: 4 minutes

Donation pages that are difficult to navigate are always bound to drive me crazy. Oftentimes, an organization’s donation page is its own greatest enemy in getting site visitors to follow through with donations. There are few essential donation page best practices that, if followed, make it pretty straightforward to improve conversion rates.

You may want your website to accomplish a variety of organizational goals, but a steady stream of online donations are an essential goal for every nonprofit website. If you’ve succeeded in designing a great donation process – one that guides website visitors to your donate page and makes it easy for them to donate – then you are likely to increase the amount you can raise online.

The good news is that even very simple changes to a donation form can make strides towards increasing donations. Here, I will cover 5 essential, but easy-to-implement, donation page best practices that you can test out right after you read this post!

Donation Page Best Practice #1: Remove navigation

When a site visitor lands on a donation page, the goal is to have them follow through with that action. Make sure to hide or limit navigation on your donation pages, so visitors aren’t distracted and motivated to click out of the form. This will help keep your conversion rates up.

Remember your donation page has one purpose and one purpose alone – to encourage a visitor to make a donation. After they make that donation, feel free to share additional information on your thank you page.

Donation Page Best Practice #2: Keep it short

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your donation page can be overwhelming. Don’t try to stuff too much information on your donation pages. Share enough information to persuade supporters to donate without making the page feel incomprehensible.

Make clear what the page is about and what you want the visitor to do. Limit the amount of copy, images, media, and links to only what’s necessary, and organize your content in a way that feels very logical. For example, you might want to restate what campaign or program the donation is allocated to, so donors are still motivated to donate. It’s especially important that the call-to-action (CTA) is as crystal clear as possible for the visitor.

Donation Page Best Practice #3: Write a great headline

A great headline uses actionable, value-driven words. It should entice people to do something. In this case, you want site visitors to complete the donation form. Make sure that your copy uses action-oriented words that communicate the importance of making a donation.

Your donation page should have an attention-grabbing headline that reminds the donor why they were compelled to donate in the first place. When you present potential donors with a clear value proposition, they’ll be more likely to follow through.

Pro tip: If your donation page visitor reads nothing else on the page but the headline, would she still be motivated to donate? Would she understand exactly how important that donation is to your organization? If it’s not clear, revise it.

Donation Page Best Practice #4: Improve your form’s submit button text

Although it’s only a seemingly small part of your donation page, your call to action button is one of the most powerful elements on the page. You might be surprised to learn how much the text on a button can affect click-through and conversion rates.

Try experimenting with different button text that could really seal the deal. For example, instead of “submit” try:

• Donate Now
• Make a Difference
• Send Your Gift
• Support Mothers
• Save the Environment

Donation Page Best Practice #5: Use click triggers

A click trigger is any message that’s positioned near a key call to action, with the sole purpose of compelling people to finally click the button. On a donation form, they can be an effective a way to provide reassurance to the donor that they’re making the right choice.

For greatest impact, a click trigger should:

a) Neutralize a key anxiety that is likely to keep your site visitor from moving forward


b) Amplify the value of proceeding, which is all about reminding your prospect of what motivated them to donate in the first place, what value your organization offers and how they’ll feel for making the donation.

Tip: If you’re offering an incentive or donation matching period, your click trigger may be that incentive.

Donation Page Best Practice #6: Add a compelling visual aid

Humans are visual creatures, so it’s no wonder we’ve seen an increasing emphasis on multi-media marketing. Hey, they don’t say “a picture is worth a thousand words” for nothing. So if your donation page doesn’t include some kind of visual — or a compelling one, for that matter — adding one is an easy way to improve your donation page.

Even though you’ve explained what the fundraising appeal or campaign may be, include a visual that more tangibly shows the visitor why they should support you and how it will impact your cause.


Focus on one or two main tenets of your campaign, how those feed into your broader mission and, most importantly, how important the donors support is to changing the world. When you remind a site visitor of why they chose to donate in the first place, they become their own best motivator to complete the process.

While there are lots of ways to present the main value proposition of your campaign and encourage people to follow through with a donation, one thing is clear: simplicity trumps all on the donation page.


Daniel Melbye is a digital communications expert who works with nonprofits to deliver change through new media. He shares his experiences and thoughts on his popular nonprofit blog. Follow him on Twitter: @DanielMelbye

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