Double your digital fundraising – by fixing donation forms

If I told you that you could double your digital fundraising quite easily, wouldn’t be stupid of you not to? I think everyone would agree. Yet the sorry state of affairs is this- donation forms suck, and people are not fixing them.

There is this stubborn belief in fundraising, that if someone has decided to support a charity, surely they will do so even if the donation form is a bit heavy. This is simply not true.

When you move someone with a clever piece of fundraising comms, your donation pages are a deciding factor in whether you get that gift. Making a donation is an emotional decision – not a rational one. If you are making people use the rational part of their brain to figure out your forms, chances are the donation won´t be made at all.

Since we don’t see the money we’re not getting, we don’t see the potential. I always believed that these little things were much more important than our instincts lead us to believe.

Finally, I have proof.

The Norwegian Cancer Society fixed its donation pages a little over a year ago. The old ones weren’t that bad, I have seen way worse. And still, putting a bit of effort into it, has led to some amazing results.

  • 200% increase in “regular” one-off donations
  • 150% increase in new members
  • 300% increase in new regular donors, who
  • pay 25% more, leading to
  • 400% increase in value from regular donors per year

Convinced yet?

The main components to succeeding:

Eliminate the paradox of choice – choose for the donor!

Presenting all donation options at once makes it hard for the donor to know what you need from them. What’s most important, one-offs? Regular donations? Memberships? Participation in a run? You have to decide! Put that option at the top.

Use good interaction design principles

It’s odd that it’s necessary to say this, but it is. Make your donation forms follow best practice! Field sizes, grouping related fields together, field lengths should suggest what to fill in (people don’t read help text), don’t ask for more data than you need, button design, labeling etc etc. All crucial elements, often overlooked. (Psst; if your form has been designed and labelled by your database guy, or a programmer – it’s probably not good. Spend some money, get a good user experience expert to do it.)

Fundraising technique

Fundraisers leave donation forms alone. Whereas every mail pack is subject to rigorous testing and analysis, donation pages are often not. Play around with defaults – what amount you are asking for, if you are asking for a one-off or a regular donation, what text you use in your labeling, etc. Imagine the amount of testing that has gone into the perfect mail pack. Do the same amount here.

Mobile!

Our Christmas appeal saw over 10% conversion from mobiles, and 17% from tablets. Do you really want to lose out on that money?

Go fix your donation pages!

Want to learn more? See Beates blog, where all of the above has been written about in way more detail: http://beateinenglish.wordpress.com.

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