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How to Create a Personalized Nonprofit Donation Form

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Published April 1, 2015 Reading Time: 7 minutes

There is more than one kind of donor, so it makes sense to have more than one donation form. A key part of appealing to a potential donor, and marketing in general, is personalizing the experience to cater to individual interests. For-profit corporations often run multiple marketing campaigns to reach different segments of their audience. With modern fundraising software, nonprofits can adopt the same multi-pronged approach to converting donors.

When it comes to how to get donations, branded donation sites raise six times the amount generic pages raise, but you can do much more than send all donors to an online donation form with your logo. Segmented donation forms with language tailored to a specific audience can create a better donor experience and help a nonprofit organization maximize its average donation amount.

The power to create multiple tailored donation pages allows you to bring a personal touch to a large number of supporters. Donation pages for specific programs allow donors to support the work they are most interested in. And by segmenting your donor base, you can vary your suggested gift sizes by past donations. Finally, you can create a seamless donation process for events and holiday campaigns by customizing the online donation page to match your brand. All these options can personalize the donation experience without drastically increasing your development staff’s workload.

In essence, donation forms give you endless possibilities to boost your incoming contributions. We’ll touch on some of these exciting opportunities in a moment, but first, let’s go over some donation form fundamentals to ensure we’re all on the same page.

What is a Nonprofit Donation Form?

The donation form is a nonprofit’s bread and butter. It’s the portal through which your organization amasses the funds and leads that help further your cause.

In many ways, a donation form is nothing more than an online checkout page—similar to what a shopper might see when they place an eCommerce order. These specialized pages collect payment details and donor information to help you run your campaigns and create donation receipts

That said, the best donation forms are much more than a place for your organization to collect money from donors. For first-time donors and curious humanitarians, your donation form is their first—and potentially only—impression of your nonprofit. 

With that in mind, it’s wise to think of your donation form as a landing page for your website, a quick elevator pitch for your cause, and a place to accept contributions.

What Should Be Included in a Donation Form?

Ultimately, what you include on a donation form depends on its intended audience. As we’ve mentioned, you can easily create forms for different campaigns and even different donors.

However, every donation form should at least contain your nonprofit’s name, logo, and 501(c) status, as well as these essential fields:

  • Donor full name
  • Donor phone number
  • Donor email address
  • Donor billing information
  • Donation amount

From there, you can start to express your creativity and try out different tactics to encourage larger or recurring donations. For example, you may want to add:

  • A short blurb about your organization or the particular cause
  • A “Create Account” option
  • A dropdown menu or checklist with suggested donation amounts
  • A “Make this a recurring donation” checkbox
  • Questions about how the donor found your campaign 
  • An option to subscribe to (or opt out of) your newsletter
  • A way for those interested in volunteering to find out more
  • A checkbox that lets donors pay for the processing fee (if applicable)

Playing with the above options can help you maximize contributions and collect vital contact information. As you customize your campaign, remember to keep donor experience at the forefront of everything you do. While each donation form should provide a reasonable number of details about your nonprofit and the cause, you’ll want to avoid overloading donors with information. When forms become long and overwhelming, potential donors are less likely to follow through with their gift.

So, start by sprinkling in a few of these optional fields, and see what results they yield. You can always reassess if the analytics show a high bounce rate. When you use an online giving platform, it’s easy to edit your donation form in response to new data acquired through your campaign.

Nonprofit Donation Form Best Practices

Aside from including must-have fields and keeping your copy short and sweet, how else can you ensure your donation form is as effective as possible? 

Great question. These best practices will help you incentivize donations and improve the overall donor experience.

Cater Your Forms to Specific Programs or Projects

Many nonprofits operate several programs at once. This strategy can help you create appeals because donors may connect with an individual program or project and feel compelled to give. Hold onto this enthusiasm and assure donors that their money is going toward the intended project by creating a donation page custom-branded to the program.

For example, donors are known to give heavily to disaster relief organizations following a hurricane or earthquake because the public feels they can make an impact on a very immediate problem. To tap into that passion, Team Rubicon creates donation forms for each mission.

Team Rubicon

Not only do they call out the donation’s purpose in the page’s message, but they also added an image of the typhoon to the background. Donors are given a powerful reminder of the devastation this nonprofit organization will be responding to.

You can use a specially branded donation page for ongoing programs, as well. By analyzing the contributions from each page, you can quickly gauge your community’s interest in different parts of your mission.


If you’re looking at the webpage on UNICEF’s immunization programs, for example, a CTA takes you directly to a donation form supporting these programs.

Segmenting Your Audience

Another option is to create separate donation forms for various audiences. Segmented donation forms can be used to appeal to donors with very different finances. Let’s say you want to send an appeal to past donors to your cause. You have lots of donors who gave $25 to $50 in the past year and some others who gave less. But you also have some donors who have given anywhere from $200 to $1,000.

Typically, they might all receive an appeal with these suggested donations.

custom donation forms

This is great for many donors because it includes a range of gifts. You have an option for them to make a larger gift of $100, but the $10 option makes sure you aren’t leaving out small donors.

But what about those donors who gave over $200 in the past? Even if they chose the largest suggested donation amount, you still might be leaving money on the table. If you segment your donors by simple criteria (perhaps those who gave $100 or less and those who gave more), you can make sure every donor has suggested gifts that make sense for their budget.

custom donation forms

Set Up Special Events and Campaigns

You can also enhance a specific fundraising campaign or event with a customized donation page. A custom donor page provides the potential donor with a streamlined donation process and adds a little extra encouragement by reminding people why they’re giving.

Holiday campaigns can include season greetings and related colors.

Holiday campaigns

Meanwhile, a themed fundraising campaign can carry over the design used on the campaign page.

project dance project dance

You can even design a donation request form specifically for your recurring giving program. Possible, for example, calls their monthly supporters “Possibilists” and their gift goes toward building a hospital in Nepal. Their recurring donation form is tailored to speak directly to that audience.

thank you donation

Development professionals are put in the difficult position of constantly recruiting more donors while trying to create a satisfying and personal experience for them. You may not be able to speak to each donor individually, but creating multiple donation forms for different audiences and campaigns can help you make sure your supporters are receiving relevant appeals that interest them.

Keep Your Branding Front and Center

No matter how many donation forms you make, you should still integrate your organization’s brand into each one. While the individual program or campaign will be the main focus, donors should always be able to tell which nonprofit they are supporting.

Your donation pages don’t even need to be drastically different from one another, but adding more personalized copy can forge a stronger connection with the audience.

Nonprofit Donation Form Examples

Now that we’ve covered the donation form basics and best practices, let’s put it all together with some examples. Feel free to take inspiration from these (100% made-up) donation forms and tailor them to your needs.

Example 1: The Basic Donation Form

Hi there! Thanks for supporting our Canine Rehabilitation program. Your contribution goes a long way to helping pups in need. Fill out the fields below to complete your donation.

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Phone Number
  • Email Address
  • Donation Amount
  • Billing Details
  • Credit Card Information

Example 2: The Variable Amount Donation Form

Thank you for your interest in Helping Hands for the Holidays. We know that funds can be tight during this time of year-end giving, so we encourage you to give as little or as much as you can. Every dollar helps!

  • First and Last Name
  • Email Address
  • Phone Number
  • Billing Information
  • Credit Card Details or PayPal Information
  • Suggested Donation Amounts ($10, $25, $100, $500, Other)
  • Make This a Monthly Donation? (Yes/No)
  • Create an Account? (Yes/No)

Helping Hands for the Holidays is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, so your contribution is tax-deductible! Thanks again for your gift.

Win the Minds of Donors


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