Skip to main content

5 Strategies for Optimizing your Donation Form

Practical tips to increase accessibility and enhance giving opportunities

by mangrove team
published on June 17, 2024
A computer screen displaying a nonprofit’s donation form

It’s no secret that a cornerstone page on many nonprofit websites is the donation form. In many cases, donation forms are the primary channel for potential donors, making them a significant giving resource. Ensuring your form is optimized and accessible is one action that could enhance your fundraising efforts.

Engaging copy, storytelling, and a thoughtful design can inspire visitors to give, but true optimization extends beyond this. Considerations include the number of giving options available, whether the form recognizes returning donors, and whether all viewers can see and use it. Forms that are easy to use and designed with accessibility in mind can help ensure all visitors are able to engage with this important part of your site and follow through on their giving wishes. 

Here we’ll explore five ways to optimize your donation form to increase giving potential and make it usable by as many visitors as possible: 

1. Make it mobile-friendly

As a nonprofit, your organization may depend on Donations to fulfill your mission. Doing what you can to simplify the donation process can be a beneficial action for both your organization and your supporters. Considering how many hours are spent on mobile devices, one of the first steps to take is ensuring your form is responsive. 

Mobile-friendly donation forms render perfectly on phones and tablets. This means that if a donor clicks on the form from their phone, it should be as easy (or easier!) to give as if they were sitting in front of a computer.

Mobile-friendly forms also allow giving on the go. This way, your nonprofit avoids the risk of intended donations being forgotten if they’re not acted upon quickly. Donors can take immediate action when something triggers them to give, such as a friend talking about a nonprofit, a social media post they see, or news of a cause they are passionate about. 

A few ways you can make your donation form mobile-friendly include:

  • Using responsive design. This ensures the form adapts to different screen sizes and resolutions. Whether someone is viewing it on a small smartphone or a larger tablet, the form looks as it would on a desktop or laptop computer.
  • Streamlining the form’s layout. This refers to your donation form’s visual appearance. For example, prominent buttons, concise text, and clear calls to action on a small mobile screen can help your donors quickly complete the form.
  • Incorporating touch-friendly controls. Any interactive elements, or places on your donation form that a user should tap, must be appropriately sized. If form fields and buttons are too small, users may become frustrated and abandon the form.

As the popularity of mobile devices increases, your website should continually adapt by staying mobile-friendly and relevant. Double the Donation’s fundraising statistics point out that 57% of nonprofit website traffic comes from mobile devices and the number of transactions completed through mobile devices is on the rise. Regularly test your donation form on a mobile device to ensure it continues to be easy to use.

2. Enable recurring donations

Did you know that CRM data can inform your web design? Your website should have a clear target audience and guide visitors through the donor journey by encouraging them to convert from website visitors into committed supporters.

One way to do this is by offering recurring donations on your donation form. Here are three ways you can encourage one-time donors to become monthly donors:

  • Simplify the option. At the top of the donation form, provide a toggle button that allows the donor to select a one-time gift or make it a recurring donation.
  • Offer various increments. Not all recurring donations are monthly. Offer options to give in other increments, such as biweekly or quarterly. Additionally, donors may be interested in giving annual pledges, in which a larger donation is split into 12 payments.
  • Show appreciation for monthly givers. Run a campaign where everyone who chooses monthly giving receives a branded gift, such as a water bottle or shopping bag.

A strong sustainer, or monthly giving, program can help encourage the sustainability and long-term success of your nonprofit. Offering options that suit different donors’ needs can be one way to nurture this type of giving.

3. Follow WCAG Accessibility standards to include your audiences 

Making all elements of your website accessible is the right thing to do. Beyond that, it’s a crucial element of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) practices. Building an accessible website means following the standards set by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). These standards and success criteria are organized around the principles that everyone who wants to use the Web must have content that is: 

  • Perceivable: Visitors must be able to be aware of the content on your website and they must be able to understand it. 
  • Operable: When a website is operable, any user can use a keyboard to navigate through it. The tab key can be moved from section to section, which also allows users to exit any page or return to a previous page.
  • Understandable: This guideline means that everything on your website—written content, graphic design elements, and even navigation—must be easy to follow. Use menus and dropdown lists to keep a screen uncluttered. The goal is to make it easy for text-to-speech devices to “read” your site.
  • Robust: Content can be interpreted and consumed by all visitors, including those using screen readers. This means your HTML code should be structured logically.

In addition to being the right thing to do, the legal implications of inaccessible websites are another reality that should be considered.

4. Incorporate clear calls to action

A call to action can encourage users to convert on your site, or take an action you want them to take. The most common place for a call to action on a nonprofit donation form is the button viewers click to complete their donation.

Be creative with the language you use on your call-to-action button and incorporate language that compels people to give. Here are a few examples to help you get started:

  • Join us in the fight against [cause]
  • Can we count on your support?
  • We need people like you
  • Urgent help needed!
  • Act now to save [beneficiary]!
  • Together we can make a difference!
  • Thank you for considering a donation

According to CharityEngine, fundraising software may offer an online form feature that empowers nonprofits to create engaging forms. If design isn’t your strong suit, consider investing in a tool that helps you design mobile-friendly donation forms. This way, you can create prominent and compelling calls to action that encourage donors to complete the form.

5. Test the donation form regularly

The last thing you want is an ineffective or broken donation form. Once you publish the page, plan to test the form on a regular basis. This means accessing it on both a desktop or laptop computer and a mobile device. Start with the home page and see if it’s clear how to donate. Once you get there, make sure all colors and images look correct and that the text is still appropriate.

Finally, make a small donation yourself. This action walks you through the steps your donors will take and will allow you to identify anything that needs tweaking or fixing. When you’re sure it’s a smooth and seamless user experience, you can be confident your donors will have a similar experience.

If you need more guidance for developing your donation form or tools to streamline the process, consider researching some top fundraising platforms to see if there’s a system that meets your needs. The right software can not only help you build an effective form but also launch other fundraising campaigns and events to help your nonprofit reach its revenue goals.

For more website inspiration, browse other past branding and website projects.

This article includes tips from a CRM consultant that advises nonprofits. 

Thinking about a project?