As we round out a hectic year and look ahead to new challenges and opportunities, it’s worth it to take some time to review the fundamentals and look for small, iterative changes that can yield big results over the next year.
While many nonprofits consider donor engagement and retention to be their biggest pain points, you also have to consider how you’re securing those supporters in the first place.
For a nonprofit, the foundation of all your fundraising strategies is your donation page.
Small issues with your organization’s online donation page can have major effects on your ability to convert visitors into donors, measured by your donation conversion rate. A poor conversion rate means that not many of the visitors who find their way to your donation page actually feel motivated to follow through with making a gift. That’s a serious issue, and it’s one that many nonprofits aren’t even aware is holding them back.
That’s why creating a stronger, high-converting donation page is especially important as we head into the year-end giving season and Giving Tuesday. You definitely don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to secure donations from the higher volume of visitors that organizations typically see around this time.
That being said, let’s walk through a few pro tips for strengthening your donation page and boosting conversions:
- Start with an integrated donation app.
- Keep your design simple and mobile-optimized.
- Create multiple donation pages and conduct A/B tests.
- Use suggested donation tiers to drive revenue.
- Create campaign-specific donation pages.
With online-only engagement the new norm for most organizations, your donation page shouldn’t stand between your nonprofit and increased support! These tips are great starting places to begin seeing improvements in your own conversion rate. Let’s dive in.
1 Start with an integrated donation app.
Software integrations are extremely valuable for nonprofits. Their benefits include saving your team’s time and generating data that you can use to improve your fundraising and marketing strategies.
Most importantly, integrations between your donation page, website, and database or CRM give you increased visibility into how your donation page is performing. Without a clear sense of the number of visitors landing on your donation page and completing transactions, you can’t gauge your conversion rate or begin making data-driven improvements.
Using donation software that integrates with your other tools will be your best bet. If you’re working with a cloud-based, modular-style CRM platform like Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics, use a donation app that’s specifically designed to integrate with those systems.
With data automatically flowing from your donation app to your database (and coupled with website data through Google Analytics), you’ll get a complete picture of your donation page’s performance over time. This gives you a solid foundation on which to begin making improvements.
2. Keep your design simple and mobile-optimized.
The design of your donation page can play a major role in how well it converts donors. Simple, intuitive design that doesn’t slow users down is key. Avoid elements like:
- Too many images or distracting multimedia
- Multiple pages a donor needs to click through in order to complete a donation
- Unnecessary fields or required account creation
Any of these elements will slow down your donors when they’re feeling most motivated to give. Make the process as fast and seamless as possible to avoid deterring any potential support.
As an added bonus, simpler designs typically work much better on mobile devices than complicated pages. Mobile-optimization is critical today with more and more web traffic occurring on mobile devices. If your donation page doesn’t work well (or at all!) on smaller screens, you’re almost certainly losing out on potential donations.
Additionally, the ability to customize and tweak the design of your donation page is a must. This is one reason why payment processing services like PayPal that serve very general needs often aren’t the best choice for nonprofit organizations. For a deeper dive into this topic, check out our Soapbox guide to Venmo and PayPal alternatives for nonprofits.
3. Create multiple donation pages and conduct A/B tests.
To fine-tune one or more elements of your donation page, we recommend creating multiple versions and conducting A/B tests. Let’s say you want to see which text appeal is more effective at converting donors. Here’s how you’d find out:
- Create two versions of your donation page, each with a different message encouraging visitors to make a transaction. One might emphasize how their support will directly impact your mission, and the other might emphasize why their support is so important for your nonprofit amid today’s challenges. Leading donation software should allow you to easily create and customize additional donation pages as needed.
- Promote both donation pages to your supporters online via email or social media. Try sending an email that links to one donation page, and then following up with a separate email linking to the other donation page after a week or two.
- Review how each page performed. Integrated donation software should make it easy to identify how many visitors and donations each page secured. Make note of these insights, and use them to make updates to your other donation pages over time.
This is a fairly simple example, but A/B testing is an invaluable tool for improving nearly every aspect of your donation page. By strengthening your text appeals, visual design, suggested donation tiers, and more, you can build a high-converting donation page one element at a time.
Even beyond your donation page, A/B testing is an important tactic to have in your arsenal. Use this technique to improve all the elements of your broader digital strategy, like your nonprofit’s marketing materials.
4. Use suggested donation tiers to drive revenue.
Peer pressure and the power of persuasion can be extremely effective for boosting donation conversions. Make sure your donation page includes pre-set suggested donation tiers for donors to consider (in addition to the option to set their own preferred amount).
Use your past donation data to find your average donation amount. Then, build tiers around it, encouraging donors to go just a bit higher. Suggesting an amount makes the donation process even simpler for donors, and highlighting your average donation amount can persuade some visitors to give more than they would have otherwise.
This is an easy way to drive more revenue with very little extra effort, so it’s important to have suggested donation tiers on your pages. This is especially true when you want to maximize revenue during time-bound campaigns and high-volume giving days.
Plus, suggesting donation amounts is a great opportunity to show donors the specific impacts of their gifts. For instance, a gift of a certain amount might buy X number of school supplies for a child or help feed an animal in need for X days. Visualizing the concrete impact of their support is a surefire way to motivate more donors to give.
5. Create campaign-specific donation pages.
By creating separate donation pages for your nonprofit’s various fundraising campaigns, you can put all of these tips and your insights from A/B tests into action.
Giving Tuesday is the perfect example. Create a dedicated donation page specifically for your Giving Tuesday campaign, and link supporters to it in all of your promotional emails, social media posts, and blog posts leading up to the big day. This allows you to target every element of your donation page, like its design, text, and follow-up messages, to that particular campaign.
Plus, creating campaign-specific donation pages drastically simplifies the process of tracking each campaign’s performance. When integrated with your database, transaction and engagement data from each page will be properly reported under the appropriate campaign.
As we round out a whirlwind of a year and look ahead to the year-end giving season, strengthening your nonprofit’s core fundraising foundation is a great use of your time.
As the anchor of all of your online fundraising efforts, your donation pages must pull their weight! There’s no reason why nonprofits should endure poor conversion rates when simple, iterative fixes like the ones in these tips can be easily implemented. Plus, incorporating best practices like software integrations and A/B testing into your regular fundraising approach will benefit your nonprofit well into the future. Best of luck!
As the founder of a software company serving the public sector, Ryan passionate about empowering organizations to “do good”. With a focus on effective and efficient technology solutions, he’s constantly looking for ways in which the Internet can better serve the greater good, and more specifically the non-profit sector. He leads up the Soapbox Engage team in our pursuit of affordable and accidental techie-friendly online engagement software, is a Salesforce MVP, and leads the NPSP Days around the world. Ryan has a bachelor’s degree in communications from UCLA, and a masters of public policy from UCLA’s School of Public Affairs.