While there is no such thing as a 100% conversion rate, a few simple Do’s and Don’ts can help boost performance and improve donor experience.

Robin Fostel, Senior Director Strategic Fundraising

DO Default to Monthly Gifts


Retention rates for monthly donors are over 80% (1 year) and close to 100% after 5 years. Compared to a 23% retention for one-time gifts, sustainer giving represents powerful LTV and long-term growth for your giving program. Monthly donation forms should include language to enforce this giving program and establish donor prestige.

 

DO Track Donation & Confirmation Pages

Metrics matter! In addition to tracking acquisition sources and campaign traffic, be sure to send donors to a separate thank you page as an easy measure of conversion. Don’t find yourself in a situation where you need to outsource every time a code needs to be added or updated, Next Generation can provide training and out of the box solutions to streamline this process.

 

DO Optimize for Mobile Devices

It’s 2021, there’s no excuse to not be using responsive design for mobile-friendly display. According to the most recent M+R Benchmarks:

  • Half of all nonprofit website visits came from mobile devices, a year-over-year increase of 9%.

  • Mobile devices represented 35% of transactions, a year-over-year increase of 9%. A quarter of all revenue came through mobile donations.

  • Nonprofit mobile audiences grew by 26% in 2020, compared to a 3% average increase in email list size.

Keep in mind, another important part of optimizing for mobile is including alternative payment methods (like PayPal). By allowing donors (especially a younger generation) to connect their other secure accounts, you’re more likely to get that donation the moment they see your email, ad, or social post.

 

DO Try to Read Donors’ Minds

If digital fundraising is as much an art as it is a science—donor psychology is a mix of both—and gift arrays are the math equation. Anchoring a pre-selected gift amount reduces decision making, donors feel they are expected to select the suggested amount. The anchored amount should be the second lowest (not lowest) option and establish a slight nudge. If your average gift is $30, your “nudge” should be: $10 / $35 / $50 since donors are more likely to increase by $5 than reduce by $20.

 

DON’T Believe One-Size Fits All.

In addition to the obvious—optimizing donation forms to display best on all screen sizes—it’s also a good idea create unique forms and cater your gift array to different audiences:

  • Donor Acquisition: a lower ask range provides a less of a barrier, encourages people to give and lets them enjoy the good feeling of being a donor, at a low cost.

  • Donor Retention: higher ranges results in an increased average donation size, offsetting the lower participation.

Also consider a reinforcing statement customized for prospect and retention audiences “Many of our donors are giving $dollar amounts. Please give what you can.”

 

DON’T Forget the Footer

This real-estate tends to be an afterthought on most web pages but plays a unique role on donation forms. Closest to the donation button, this is a critical opportunity to reinforce donor confidence and organizational authenticity. Include your mission statement and third-party rating badges like Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, BB Wise Giving, and GuideStar. Avoid using your site-wide footer on donation forms.

 

DON’T Get Too Personal

We’re all looking for more detailed information about constituents—but you don’t want to overload prospective donors with too many questions. The donation form should be streamlined for one goal: giving. Unnecessary form fields increase friction and impact conversion. Program interest and other survey questions should be removed from the donation form and sent as a link in the acknowledgement and in a donor welcome series. (Bonus: DON’T forget to craft a unique donor welcome series!)

 

DON’T Go It Alone

The mantra of digital fundraising is test-test-test but donation forms can be tricky. For many organizations donation forms do not receive statistically significant numbers of visits outside of key fundraising periods. During high-traffic campaigns, testing introduces unknown variables and—let’s be honest—anxiety! Let Next Generation guide your donation form optimization with best practices and tested strategy to help your organization reach top donor conversion.