Optimize Your Online Donation Pages for Giving Season

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Top Tips to Improve Your Donor’s Online Experience

Editor’s Note: We’re excited to welcome Mckenna Bailey, a writer for Virtuous CRM, to the Abeja Solutions blog.

Giving Season might be a few months away, but the time to prepare is now. Everything from your online donation pages to your donation letter messaging should be audited and optimized to create a personalized experience for your donors.

With so much to do, it’s hard to know how to prioritize your efforts. We think your donation page should be near the top of the list.

Why? Your donation page helps donors decide whether they want to give or not and by how much. If you don’t change anything else from last year, simply optimizing your donation page will help increase generosity and help your nonprofit reach its goals.

What We Know About Donation Pages

Donation pages are one of the few things that donors agree on, across generations. 55% of Millennials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers worldwide prefer to give online.

While the numbers might look a bit different for your specific nonprofit, it’s clear that your donation page is a critical part of the donor journey and should get a lot of attention before launching your Giving Season campaigns.

The good news is, this process is relatively easy. With a thoughtful strategy, you can transform your donation pages from a generic form donors might notice into a personalized experience that makes them feel excited about the work you do.

How to Audit Your Donation Pages Before Giving Season

We know that auditing and updating all of your donation pages sounds like a huge task, but it really boils down to four key components.

Make Smart Asks

If you don’t have time for any other efforts, spend your time understanding how to make the best asks of your donors. Software like Virtuous Giving uses historical data from your donors to dynamically populate donation suggestions, so that your nonprofit constantly increases revenue.

If you don’t have Giving or a similar tool, you can obtain the data manually. Pull a report that segments all of your donors into specific giving levels. If you can find information on their donation increases over time, even better!

Then, determine what ask fits each audience segment and create fundraising campaigns that send each group to a specific donation page designed for their giving level.

Of course, this is a more manual process that requires strategy and collaboration across your team. But when Giving Season comes around, you want to trust that you’re inspiring as much generosity as you possibly can.

Test Your Form Fields

The fields you ask donors to complete are an important tool your nonprofit uses to learn details about your donors. Unfortunately, what is a tool for you can be a major hurdle for your donors.

Consider the experience of a donor who is scrolling social media or clearing their email inbox. Your message was strong enough, not only to attract their attention, but to spur them into action. That’s an incredible feat.

However, it also means they are at risk of going back to their original task if your donation form takes too long to complete.

To ensure the highest conversion rate for each of your donation pages, make the form simple to complete. Don’t ask for more than the bare minimum you need to complete a donation.

Instead, follow up with an email survey to keep them engaged and learn more about them. Schedule a call to thank each new donor and use that time to learn the details you want to include in their profile.

Whatever you do, just make sure that the point of conversion is the quickest and easiest part of the entire journey.

Provide Different Ways to Grow Generosity

Sometimes your messaging will resonate with someone on your mailing list at a time when they cannot afford to donate money. They are just as motivated, committed and interested in giving as other people, but money isn’t their preferred method of generosity in that moment. Most donation pages ignore this group of donors entirely.

During the Giving Season, when everyone is primed to do a little more good, you want to make sure everyone feels welcome and needed by your nonprofit.

The simplest way to do that, and in turn grow your donor base, is to test different options for generosity. List your needs beyond money. Do you need volunteers? Consultants? Advocates? Give people a way to help you.

A good testing opportunity is to include these options on your existing donation pages, or provide a link to a brand new donation page that excludes monetary donations. You can start to see which version encourages more generosity and use that information to help you strategize for next year’s Giving Season.

Segment Your Audience to Test Messaging

Speaking of testing, you should also be testing your messaging on different audience segments. Just as you can’t assume a general message will resonate with all your different kinds of donors, you also can’t assume that one audience segment will respond to a single message.

In order to guarantee the strongest Giving Season, you need to A/B test your different pages early on. The more you learn, the more success you can expect.

Structure your testing schedule based on what makes the most sense for your donor base and the resources you have available to you. Some popular testing categories include:

  • Messaging: Does generosity increase with an urgent message or a joyful message

  • Donation Page Elements: Does generosity increase if your page has a video?

  • Time of Day: What time of day are people most ready to donate to your nonprofit?

  • Social Proof: Does giving increase if donors are recognized publicly, through social media, for example?

Brainstorm a few questions you have about the motivations of donors in each audience segment and then strategize ways to use testing to answer those questions.

Learn More About Optimized Donation Pages

If you want to learn more about how to use nonprofit resources to optimize your donation pages, check out this webinar that will teach you all the possibilities.


Mckenna Bailey is a writer for Virtuous CRM. She is dedicated to providing nonprofits with the practical steps they need to build authentic relationships with their donors and grow their success.

Photo by Gerd Altmann from Pexels

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