In order for your nonprofit to get the money needed to make a difference in the world, it is a good idea to sharpen your donation form skills. With todays online tools just about anyone can create a donation form; it’s crafting it into a “money-maker” that is the tricky part.
So how can you make donation forms that make a significant financial impact for your nonprofit? Here are a few tips to make your forms shine.
1) Remove Barriers
The shortest distance between you and your donors’ money is an uncomplicated form. Resist the desire to ask for information you don’t need and focus on what really matters. Do you really need anything more than a donor’s name and email address? As nice as it might be to know their age, industry, region and favorite color, it also takes them more time to fill in, which could be off putting. Saving them time will pay off.
Most form building tools have payment processing integrations, like Stripe, PayPal, Authorize.net, etc. Being able to build a form and thoughtlessly set up payment for donations makes the removal of barriers possible.
2) Asking Amounts Are Relative
Some people have a lot to give, some people don’t. So consider your audience when creating and sending a donation form.
There are two primary thought processes: to offer set donation option boxes (one for $5, $25, $100, etc.), or open-ended donation requests where they pick the custom amount. Like a tip-amount selection after a taxi ride, it’s often best to include both. But to avoid confusion, make a box for “other amount” so no one gets confused about having to donate twice.
Also, don’t underestimate the power of subscriptions (AKA recurring donations). Someone donating $5 a month is a better gift at the end of your fiscal year than a one-time donation of $50.
3) Don’t Forget About Mobile
This is an important one. Many form building tools will allow you to make mobile forms by default. Transactions through mobile phones are on the rise.
The same rules above apply to mobile devises, but in an amplified way. Of course you need a simple form, because not only are you fighting for a donor’s attention with mobile, but you’re fighting for their time. Concise, compelling calls to action are the way to go, with pre-selected payment amounts to reduce the thinking or effort involved.
4) Leverage Social Media
You can keep a donation form on your website and hope that traffic will trickle its way to the page, or you can actively engage your social followers and turn to them for donations.
Crafting any donation form allows for two options: embedding the form on your web page, or creating a standalone link featuring only your donation form. The latter makes for ideal social sharing, as it’s a direct call-to-action for donations with no other page distractions.
Make sure your form – whether standalone or embedded on your site – matches your nonprofit’s look and feel. Branding is important, and gives your donors the added comfort that they’re donating to an official campaign.
5) Customize Your “Thank You” Submission Page
By default, most respondents to a form will see something like this once they submit a response:
While that’s all well and good, there’s a lot more you can do to actually say “thank you” for generously donating to your nonprofit’s cause. Take the extra time to craft a custom thank you message that reinforces why they made a good decision to fund your organization. Include your organization’s mission, where their money will be most helpful, and a genuine line or two about how much it means to have received their support.
Have any thoughts on creating effective donation forms? Have you considered everything mentioned above? Let us know in the comments!
About the Author
Chad Reid is Director of Communications for JotForm, a popular online form building tool and has previously worked in nonprofits. He currently lives in Oakland, California with his girlfriend and three cats.