The best charity donation pages: who's getting it right?

The best charity donation pages: who's getting it right?

If you're thinking about designing a new donation page for your charity website, you don't have to reinvent the wheel. It is now relatively simple to create a professional looking donation form that wouldn't look out of place alongside some of the most established charities.

The main challenge is to choose a page layout and form design that will appeal to donors and maximise your conversion rate. We have scoured the internet for some examples of charities that are clearly basing their donation pages on sound principles.

Here is our pick of the bunch:

Keeping distractions to a minimum

Your charity might have 101 exciting things going on at the same time but when it comes to soliciting donations, you need to make sure the visitor's mind is focused on the task in hand.

One way to do this is to remove every possible source of distraction from the donation page. As you can see, Water Aid have followed this principle by stripping out anything that might cause the visitor's attention to wander. They have even removed the menu bar to create what is known as a 'squeeze page.' Even if you try and leave via the home button, an alert pops up to ask if you really want to abandon the process.

Best charity donation pages - Water Aid

Linking donations to specific benefits

Another powerful tactic used by Water Aid is the linking of a donation value (£5 per month, over a year) to a specific benefit (a clean water tank for a school). When you click different donation amounts, the text changes accordingly.

The £5 donation option is initially highlighted when you visit the page. This subtle psychological cue makes this amount seem a very reasonable choice as it is in the middle of the two options. This is a good example of a situation where A/B testing could be used to determine the best pre-selected value and optimise donation conversion rate.

The specific benefit approach is also used by Save The Children in their bold donation page which also features striking red buttons and borders. The page adds a human touch by including a positive and emotive picture of the young people you could help by donating.

Best charity donation pages - Save The Children

It's all in the eyes

Research has shown that we respond especially to pictures of eyes (remember that famous Lord Kitchener poster?)

In the donations pages for the Samaritans and the Red Cross, we tend to subconsciously follow the direction of the person's gaze towards the donation form.

From our research and testing, we learned that some users found an image of someone staring out at them intimidating or aggressive. In more testing, we learned that people responded better to a visual where someone was looking at a key element of the page – it felt more friendly, but also served as that extra nudge to get people over the line and to convert that donation. Michael Keating, Head Of Digital at Samaritans

Best charity donation pages - Samaritans

Best charity donation pages - Red Cross

Drive home the message

Oxfam also use the power of human eye contact in their Coronavirus Emergency Appeal but in a very different way, appealing to a visitor's empathy. Rather than place the donation form directly under the image, they have enhanced the haunting photography with a few lines of persuasive text, highlighting words in bold for added impact. The charity makes a direct appeal to the reader by using the second person.

Best charity donation pages - Oxfam

The power of you

You has been called the most powerful word in copywriting for charities and with good reason. Used effectively, it instantly connects with the reader as with the Oxfam example previously. The RNLI also use this approach when persuading potential donors to support its lifesaving work. This donation page is also another example of a simple, distraction-free design.

Best charity donation pages - RNLI

Clear, simple messaging

Donation pages are not the place for encouraging deep, philosophical thinking. The RNLI page keeps it simple by stating that your donation will help them to save lives. What could be more straightforward than that?

Simple can still be subtle though.

Sometimes a single word can have a striking effect on the meaning of a seemingly simple sentence. Notice how Cancer Research UK asks the reader to 'Help continue life-saving research,' implying that a lack of donations could see research grind to a halt.

Any of these donations pages would make a great starting place for most charities. From there you can tweak the details to create a powerful donation page that drives donations and is unique to your charity.

Topics: Charity web design, Digital fundraising for charities

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