Online Donation Forms: 2 Things To Increase Your Gifts

July 23, 2013       The NonProfit Times      

With the ever-increasing importance of online fundraising and the significance of your online presence, it is important to simplify and optimize the online (and mobile) giving experience. Invest time in these two aspects of your organization’s online giving program and you will see great rewards.

According to Michael Gastaldo, senior Internet strategy consultant at Blackbaud in Charleston, S.C., there are many studies that show the less a person has to fill out on a form, the higher the conversion rate. There are also studies that show a visual design and layout will incite confidence and positive emotional responses.

For example, the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund increased its giving by optimizing its online donation form. The original online donation form captured about $51.30 in donations per page view. So, the organization adjusted the form.

First, the layout was adjusted, and then an image was added above the form.

Gastaldo said this resulted in an 8 percent per page view increase. The giving button text was changed from “Submit” to “Support Haiti,” which increased dollars per page view to $59.38. Finally, when the title and phone number fields were hidden (making the form shorter and requiring less information), donations increased nearly 11 percent per page view.

Conversely, when the organization removed the “verified” icon on the page, giving dropped around 5 percent per page view.

The easier and more visually appealing your online donation form is, the more donations your organization will receive. What is the absolute minimum information you need to have in order to collect an online donation and count that donor as a constituent? Knowing that a few fields can be the difference between receiving a gift should make the choice easy for most organizations.

In December 2008, mobile browsing was 0.6 percent of all Internet browsing. December 2012 saw this number increase to 14.5 percent, according to Gastaldo. What’s more interesting is that growth looks more exponential than constant; meaning that as smartphones and tablets continue their meteoric penetration of their respective markets, this number will grow higher and quicker.

This means as your emails are being sent out, constituents are clicking on links and seeing your website on their mobile devices. A recent review of the organizations I work with showed 17.5 percent of their monthly visits were from mobile devices (including tablets), and another with 14.62 percent. As your constituents are hitting your site on a mobile device, there can be a large disparity between the user experience on a desktop browser and on a mobile browser.

A donation form that looks good and makes sense on a desktop browser is most likely very difficult to complete on a mobile device. Think small text-entry fields, wide form layouts, and small “click here” buttons.

As you drive your constituents from an email to an online conversion form, you want to make this process as easy and intuitive for them to complete. If this experience is anything but, you will lose more conversions than you will gain.