Common donation form mistakes (and how to avoid them)
Adding a donation form to a charity website is now quicker and easier than ever. However, just because you have a donation form on your website, it doesn't follow that you're doing all you can to get your website visitors to use it.
We've highlighted the most common mistakes charities and nonprofits make when embedding donation forms. Run through them and see if you can make any improvements.
Passive promotion and hidden forms
If fewer donors than expected are finding their way to your donation form, it could be because you are either not actively promoting your website or you are not making your donation form prominent enough on your web pages.
Whenever you carry out any marketing activity, make sure you are including links to your donations page or website. This includes your social media posts, email newsletters and blog posts as well as offline activities (use QR codes on fliers and posters to give donors with mobile devices an easy way to give).
Rather than hiding your donation form on your donations page, consider placing it in a sidebar that appears on all pages and posts (your web developer can help you with that if you don't know how).
Alternatively, a 'sticky' form is a convenient yet subtle alternative to the intrusive pop-up form.
If you really don't want a form that's always visible, at least make sure that there is a clear link to your donations page on your menu bar (if you can highlight it in a different colour, even better).
Asking for too much information
Another common mistake when designing donation forms is to try and extract every piece of data you can from your donor. While it might be handy to add a telephone number and address to your CRM, every extra field on an online form has been proven to reduce conversion rate.
As long as your donation form includes fields for name and email address, you have a way to reach out to your donor in the future. It is also a good idea to enable the donor to opt in to email marketing.
Another version of the 'TMI' mistake is putting too much text on your donation form. If a form looks complicated it is likely to scare donors away, even if filling it out is actually quite easy.
Not saying thank you
Treating your donation form as just another contact form is a mistake. When asking for a donation, you are tapping into people's generosity. Even if they don't consciously want acknowledgement, receiving the standard, 'Your details were submitted successfully' message is likely to leave them feeling a little bit taken for granted. It could reduce the likelihood they will donate again in the future.
In addition to ensuring the donor receives an instant 'thank you' as part of the form submission process, you might want to properly thank them by setting up an automated email or even reaching out via social media. This will ensure your donor feels respected for their generosity.
More common donation form mistakes
There are many other ways you can unintentionally turn donors away. Here are some more mistakes to look out for:
- Not asking for the donation. Does your donation form just say, 'Submit'? Edit it to say, 'Donate now!' instead.
- Omitting images. Consider putting a compelling image on your donation form to tap into the popularity of visual content.
- Not including donation options. Not only does suggesting different donation amounts cater for the budgets of more donors, it can also be combined with behavioural economics to boost donations.
- Forms which don't work with mobile devices. Does your donation form look messy or provide a poor user experience on mobile? Speak to your web designer about ensuring your website and forms are responsive. You could even consider investing in a dedicated donations app!
- Not testing your form. Read our article on A/B testing to see how this simple technique can help you to optimise your whole website, including your donation form.
- Being reckless with data. If your charity website doesn't have encryption (i.e. the padlock icon and https:// address), you have no business asking visitors to part with their data. You should also make sure your donor data handling process is compliant with GDPR and PCI DSS. Making this clear on the form itself will help to put donors' minds at ease.
- Excluding donors with sensory problems. Take care with the choice of colours when designing your donation form. Black text on a white or light background is best for people with visual impairments. Use dropdown menus, radio buttons and checkboxes in place of plain text fields where possible. Look into other ways to make your donation form accessible to everyone.
Are you making any of the mistakes above? Let us know if fixing them leads to an uptick in donations.