Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 40 seconds

Formstack recently released its Form Conversion Report, a first-of-its kind analysis of over 400,000 online forms. The report provides insight into how various industries use online forms and offers best practices for maximizing form conversions. Nonprofit organizations such as religious administration, philanthropies and more, have one of the highest form conversion rates at 15 percent. In comparison, the average conversion rate for all industries is 11 percent.

In a 2012 study, Marketing Sherpa reported that nonprofit websites average only a 2 percent conversion rate. So why is there such a dramatic increase when looking at form conversions? 

The data seems to indicate that nonprofits using online forms are have more conversions than those that don’t. If more nonprofits leveraged online forms across their website, it's safe to predict that the overall website conversion rate will rise significantly. So how can your nonprofit spike engagement with online forms? Here are 4 tips to convert more donor traffic: 

Leverage the Highest-Converting Types of Forms
For many nonprofits, collecting contact information is critical to building a strong database. Contact forms, however, only have a 3 percent conversion rate. In order to capture more information, organizations should consider using contests and surveys, which convert at 28 percent and 21 percent, respectively. Another way to increase leads is to use event registrations. Not only do registrations convert at 11 percent, participants are likely to be qualified leads. 

Forty percent of nonprofit organizations use “smart” or responsive forms, which show or hide questions based on how a user responds. This results in shorter, customized forms that are easier for people to fill out. These factors help lead to higher-than-average conversion rates. 

Pay Attention to the Submit Button
When creating an online form, many people give a lot of thought to the information they need to collect. The submit button doesn’t get as much attention. According to the Formstack Form Conversion Report, the most popular submit buttons are “Register” and “Submit.” The submit button is the last chance to convince a donor or potential contact to give you their personal information. Consider using more specific language to clearly describe the user’s action. 

A submit button can also communicate the value proposition. When a user hovers over the submit button, the button can communicate what they will receive when they click. In the case of donations, for example, you could use text like, “Help children now” or “Give to find a cure.” Test the impact of a small change in wording and see how it impacts conversions. 

Maximize the Most Popular Time to Donate
Ever wish you could present your organization’s donation form at the best possible moment? The Formstack Form Conversion Report states that the peak time for donation form submissions is from noon to 3:00 p.m. Even though people are making donations at other times of the day (and night), the popularity of the early afternoon is worth noting. 

To maximize contributions, coordinate social media and email campaigns with the best time of day for donations. Being conscious of timing means that your marketing materials reach donors at the time they are most likely to make a contribution. 

Nonprofits and Online Forms
It’s clear that small but strategic decisions can impact online conversion rates for nonprofits. Form choice, timing, and button text can increase submission rates. Nonprofits that use online forms are likely to see a positive impact on their overall conversion rate. 

The mission of a nonprofit organization can only be fulfilled through people. Online forms offer an opportunity to increase the ways in which people can interact with an organization. Forms exist to convert users and capture their information. By taking advantage of online forms, nonprofits have an opportunity to engage advocates and donors in a new way.

Chris Lucas is the vice president of business development at Formstack. He is passionate about setting the vision for Formstack’s marketing and sales departments, as well as discovering new ways to drive web traffic and leads. Since starting at Formstack nearly seven years ago, Chris has worked to grow Formstack’s pay-per-click, SEO, public relations and social media efforts. He now focuses his time interweaving smart web marketing with overall product vision to build an ever-growing user base. Prior to joining Formstack, Chris marketed to a wide variety of industries, including sporting goods, bio/pharmaceutical marketing, and high tech PR. Last modified on Friday, 25 July 2014
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