7 Tips For Creating A Better Donation Form

Donation form

It might not pop out as "the most important" aspect in attracting donors, but your form is capable of scaring supporters away, believe it or not. Here are some great tips from The Nonprofit Times when it comes to updating or implementing a donation form on your nonprofit's website.

     1. Use a CRM

Constituent relationship management (CRM) systems are very powerful tools, and allow you to create forms on your nonprofit's website and collect data--adding to a database of donors and volunteers. Collecting this type of information and automatically storing it will help you identify stats about the average donation amount, donor demographics, isolate 'big' donors, and recognize returning donors, among many other stats--depending on the questions you ask with your forms.

The other benefits a CRM adds to your form, is that when a donor submits a contribution to your charity, you can personalize a thank you email with a custom, branded template either immediately or a bit later based on the data the donor supplied.

     2. Keep it simple

While you might be eager to collect more information on your donors via a donation form, suppress the urge to ask more than what is necessary to complete a donation transaction. Forms with 20 questions might actually turn away donors who are short on time or worry about sharing too much information on the web. However, a form with 3-5 basic questions (not including payment method/information), such as first name, last name, and email will seem like a breeze.

Also provide donors with the opportunity to connect to Facebook or Twitter, and automatically populate the form fields with the user's information. If you are using a CRM, this will also allow you to gain heaps of data on the donor's interests and follow them on social media.

     3. Proper form structure

Users are very visual and aligning fields and form labels appropriately is very important. If your form labels are awkwardly aligned, or even broken, users will be turned off.

Accessibility for the visually impaired and hearing impaired is also important--follow the W3C Accessibility guides. When it comes to reaching all audiences, don't forget about those who might need special devices, such as screen readers. Incorrect form labeling and coding could lead to the program overlooking vital sections on your form, preventing the donor from contributing.

     4. Validate fields instantly

Isn't it the worst when you're all done filling out a form and hit "Submit" only to have a bunch of red pop up, telling you that you missed something required on the page or typed something in wrong? Take what you can get.

     5. The answer is always yes.

Validate required fields instantly, and make sure they are marked as required with either "required" near the field or an asterisk. That way if a user inputs a phone number in the wrong format, the form will instantly tell them "use format nnn-nnn-nnnn", which saves everyone time.

     6. Mobile is a must

Today's donors want mobile access to your website, that also means mobile friendly donation forms that are secure. If this is the first you are hearing about donor's demand for mobile access, then you might want to research your target audience a little more--most of the world owns a smartphone, web-enabled phone, tablet, or a laptop (some smaller than the norm!).

     7. Keep the form distraction free

Do you have paid ads on your nonprofit's website? Maybe remove those ads from your donation page. Many ads, especially Google Ads, are adapted to the specific user based on the user's search and browsing history.

That means, if your donor was looking at a sweet pair of heels earlier this week and comes to your website with the full intention of donating, but suddenly sees an ad for those same heels on a banner ad at your website--charity might lose out to this shopper's wants.


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