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ASU Lodestar Center Blog

Five Common Donation Form Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

The truth is, it's easy to attract people to a nonprofit fundraising campaign, however, ensuring that they're going donate a different story. This can be an issue, especially if they don't even know how to navigate your website. 

As a result, your nonprofit can put all your hard work to waste since interested donors are less likely to donate to your cause if your online donation process is inconvenient. That's the last thing you want, and to prevent that, you have to ensure that you'll avoid these common nonprofit donation mistakes.

Common Mistake #1: Asking for Too Much Information

Aside from making sure that your website is easy to use in a sense that your prospects would be able to find the donation form right away, it's also important that it's something that wouldn't make them have second thoughts, so your nonprofit needs to be sure that your online donation process follows the rule of keeping things simple

More often than not, donation pages ask people to create an account first and answer the form. Try to be in their shoes-- you wouldn't want to be welcomed by online forms where you are “required” to fill out a lot of information. 

This is one of the common reasons why donors end up abandoning the process of donating because aside from creating an account, other irrelevant questions are being asked.

How to Avoid: Instead of forcing your prospective donors to create an account just so they can donate, have an option where they can give as a 'guest.' Also, limit the number of required fields on the donation page to enjoy higher conversion rates.

Common Mistake #2: Failure to Consider Recurring Donations

You have to keep in mind that your donors are busy individuals, and donating to your organization is like taking a portion of their valued time. The least you can do is offer automatic donations right on the donation form. 

Many nonprofits rely on donors remembering to recommit to donation cycles, whether they be monthly or annual donations. However, many donors forget to manually recommit during this cycle, and this results in lost donations. 

How to Avoid: Always give the option of automatic, recurring gifts on the donation page-- this would encourage your donors to donate regularly, as they wouldn't have to answer a form during each donation.

Common Mistake #3: Failure to Research Their Audience

A lot of times, nonprofit organizations don't research their audience before they ask for a donation. Donating is a very personal act and the reasons behind each donation can vary among your donors. 

Assuming that all of your donors want to donate to your nonprofit is a common issue, and you should take time to create user personas on your donors to help understand the reasons behind each donation so you can customize your messaging for specific groups of donors. 

How to Avoid: Aside from making sure that you maintain a positive relationship with your donors, it's also imperative to do your task and research as much information about them as possible. 

  • That means you should pay attention to their demographic as this would give you an idea what their passions and hobbies might be. 
  • Are they fond of fundraising campaigns? 
  • How do they want their money spent?

Through research, you'll learn everything about them, and this would give you the opportunity to align your questions in a sense that they'd be influenced positively.

Common Mistake #4: Disorganized Donation Forms

A donation page should be built to secure a donation as quickly and easily as possible. Your donors should already know the history, mission, and leadership of your nonprofit. 

Your donation forms are not the place to distract your audience with any information other than the clear steps to donate to your nonprofit. There are several free online business marketing tools that your nonprofit can use to build effective donation forms to ensure more donations throughout the year. 

Your organization's website should be designed and optimized into something people would go to to know more about the organization, updates, and videos about the project. These contents should be on the website, but not on the donation page, as this would just distract your donors because you'll be overfilling them with information.

How to Avoid: See to it that your donation forms are crisp and clean-- make it as straightforward as possible. It's also highly advised to lead donors to the donation form and exclude additional pages that are nothing, but distractions. You don't want them to be clicking away from the donation page. 

On the form itself, try to make it simple. Cut down the number of fields that your donor should fill out. The critical information that should be part of it includes name, mailing address, credit card information, and that's about it.

Common Mistake #5: The Donation Process Is Too Complicated

One of the reasons donors lose interest is because the donation process is too long and difficult to understand. Just like what has been mentioned earlier, most donors are busy people, and they'd like everything to be simple and not time-consuming.

How to Avoid: Eliminate the unnecessary steps in donating. This includes requiring your donors to create an account, having a cart that they have to check out before donating, and so on. The key is, you should make the donation process less intimidating as possible.

Chris is a Digital Media Strategy Consultant in Orlando, FL where he helps national brands and nonprofits reach their goals. He focuses on helping organizations drive qualified traffic and build a strong online brand through Internet marketing and conversion optimization. 


ASU Lodestar Center Blog