Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 32 seconds

formsEvery nonprofit has its tried-and-true tactics for bringing donations in the door, such as an annual charity dinner, corporate matching programs, or maybe even a holiday 5K. But you might be missing out on some of the best-kept secrets for getting more donations this year. Below is a list of five form design tips that can help you improve your users’ online donation experience.



  1. Provide context on how donations will be used.
Much of what makes a nonprofit successful is the feeling of community. As such, many donors want to know how their gifts will be used at your organization. Consider using a small sidebar next to the donation form that includes a breakdown of how funds are distributed. This verifies funds are used responsibly and shows the direct impact a donor is having on your organization. These little touches, such as assurance all gifts are valued, give donors extra motivation to complete the form.


idebar online donation form
  1. Shorten a long form.
According to the 2015 Form Conversion Report, donation forms have an average of nine fields per form. But adding too many form fields can stop donors in their tracks. Some of the most-used fields (text, name and email) are also the leading causes of bottlenecks. Don’t require first and last names if an email will suffice. Also consider building a smart form that condenses fields, or use a horizontal layout for checkboxes and buttons to create the illusion of a shorter form.
  1. Maintain brand consistency throughout the donation experience.
Imagine clicking a link to give a gift and being directed to a stark donation form that looks like it was coded in 1995—it would be pretty jarring. Take extra care to ensure your embedded form matches the rest of your brand. Apply your brand guidelines to your online form as you would any other landing page on your site.
  1. Include proof of security.
In the wake of hackers, cyber security threats and compromised data, be sure your donor knows your forms are safe and secure. No donor wants to give a gift to a nonprofit just to find out the credit card info was breached. The donation form should display that security precautions are in place. You can use a badge or provide other proof of protection. This will provide ease of mind as your donors’ gift money and share important personal information.
  1. Include a strong call-to-action.

One of the easiest ways to motivate people to donate is by including strong, directional statements above and on the submit button of your form. One example of a donation form applying strong CTAs is the form used by Youth for Christ Metro Pittsburgh. This donation form reminds donors that their gifts directly help the organization’s cause and thanks them for joining the effort before they even enter credit card information. Incorporate strong language in your CTAs, such as “donate now” or “join the cause.” Forms with specific calls-to-action average a conversion rate of 44%, compared to just 10% for forms with buttons that simply say “Submit.”


nline donation form call-to-action





Ashley Walsh, director of marketing, Formstack

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