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Your nonprofit spends a huge chunk of resources trying to get donors to your donation forms, and it’s good to see a lot of donors landing on your giving page.

But don’t start celebrating just yet.

Just because donors reach your donation form doesn’t mean they’re going to stay and make a gift.

Research done by @Pay shows that on average, 60% of potential donors abandon the donation page before confirming their gift. That’s why getting your donors to stay on your donation form is crucial.

If your nonprofit is seeking ways to reduce this problem of donor abandonment, we’re here to help!


donor abandonment


Take a look at these five ways you can keep supporters on your giving forms long enough to donate:

1. Shorten your donation form

Your supporters are giving during their spare time and seeking a quick, simple process. And yet, many donation forms feel like surveys. On average, a third of nonprofits have donation forms with 20 questions. That’s far too many questions!

While it’s tempting for your nonprofit to use the donation form as a place to collect more information on your supporters, you risk losing those very same donors with every additional step.

The solution? Not every step on your donation form needs to be required. If you want to include questions that aren’t necessary to the donation process, you should make those fields optional. (Read about Donor Segmentation.)

Optional questions can make the process of filling out your donation form shorter, which will make giving quicker and less intimidating for your donors.

When you make steps optional, you can still collect information from willing donors. Plus, you won’t loose the donors who prefer not to answer all of your questions.

Another trick you can use to make your donation forms shorter is to have them fit entirely on one page. Sticking to one page will help your nonprofit:

  • Limit the amount of questions you include. Since you have a small space to work with, you’ll be more particular about what questions you ask.
  • Give donors a better idea of how long the process will take. Your donors can see every step they need to complete when everything is on a single page.
  • Make your forms more mobile friendly. Shorter donation forms translate better on mobile devices. That way, donors can give on the go.

The takeaway: Donors don’t want to spend a lot of time on your donation page. Reduce the information you try to capture so donors don’t feel overwhelmed with questions.

2. Make sure your donors’ information is secure

One concern about online donations is security. Your donors want their information to be protected when they give, and your donors will be quick to abandon your form if they don’t find it secure.

How do you make sure your form is secure? The level of security depends on your online donation software. In other words, it’s time to get a little more familiar with your software’s security.

Hopefully, you’ve chosen a software vendor that is PCI-compliant. To be PCI-compliant, a software vendor has to follow a strict set of rules created by the Payment Card Industry.

As a donor’s credit card information goes through the payment process, these PCI guidelines help protect that donor’s information.

In addition to PCI-compliance, your software provider might offer other levels of security, such as:

  • 2-Factor authentication, which requires an additional verification step before donors can confirm their gift. Donors use their phone number or email account to confirm that they are the person they say they are.
  • Tokenization takes sensitive information and transforms it into a unique group of symbols also know as a token. The token can only be translated by the payment processor.

A secure donation form keeps both you and your donors safe. Plus, a secure form encourages donors to give again. If your donors have no security issues during their previous giving experiences, they will be more comfortable giving to you in the future.

The takeaway: Don’t neglect your forms’ security. Get familiar with your software’s precautions so that you can easily convey these safety measures to your donors.

3. Create donation forms that are mobile-responsive

With the rise of mobile fundraising, donors are giving on the go more often. If your donation forms are hard to view on mobile devices, your donors won’t stick around. (Also read How to get Millenials to Donate)

Imagine trying to fill out a form on your phone that is designed to be viewed on a computer. Not all the fields are going to translate well on a smaller screen. The images, if not sized correctly, will be obtrusive and distracting.

When donors try to fill out a form that wasn’t made for mobile devices, the complex layout or confusing navigation can frustrate them and cause them to abandon your page.

Mobile-responsive donation forms make sure that every donor who uses your form can give without experiencing any confusing layouts. That way, donors won’t face a difficult process just because they’re using a different device.

The takeaway: You’ve put a lot of work into creating a donation form that isn’t complicated or confusing, so use mobile-responsive designs to make sure your donors get that great experience.

4. Use preset donation amounts

Sometimes your donors need a little direction, especially when it comes to picking a donation amount. When you leave the donation amount open, you’re actually lowering your online fundraising potential.

Why is this? Well, donors don’t always know how much support is enough. When they see an open spot for the donation amount, they might do research to figure out how much to give. However, research takes time and can distract your donors from the end goal: making a donation.

By giving your donor some direction, you keep them on track to reach the finish line.

That’s why preset donation buttons are so handy. On your donation form, you can list out a few recommended gift amounts while also including a spot for donors to enter in their own amount if they want to. Just be sure to include a variation of high and low amounts so that every donor has an option they can pick.

Having a set of options for your supporters to select from also speeds up the process. For example, you can include buttons in your email fundraising letters, and supporters can click on the amount they want to give. That way, they’ve started the donation with one step already finished!

Another advantage is that donors often give more when forms have preset donation amounts. Your donors will think everyone is using the preset donation amounts and come to the conclusion that the buttons are the right amount to give.

The takeaway: Give your donors some direction with suggested giving amounts. Preset donation buttons can help speed up the process and may even encourage donors to give more.

5. Keep your branding consistent

Your brand helps make your organization stand out, and it needs to be present on your donation forms.

What you include on your donation form doesn’t have to be complicated. For example, your donation form can include elements, such as:

  • Your logo
  • A description of your cause
  • A matching color scheme

When done successfully, consistent branding is likely to go unnoticed by the donor. However, if your donation form doesn’t match with your nonprofit’s brand, it can quickly cause some confusion.

For instance, imagine a supporter clicking on your “Donate Now” button and landing on a page that doesn’t match your brand. The donor starts to question if he’s on the right page, and he might spend time trying to figure out the answer or just abandon the page.

If donors start to question the ownership of your donation form, they won’t be comfortable giving.

The goal is to create a process that is easy and uncomplicated, and a part of reaching that goal is to make sure all the smaller details add up.

The takeaway: Even the smaller details like consistent branding on your donation forms can impact your supporters’ giving experience and potentially cause them to leave.

Hopefully, these tips help you improve your online donation forms and effectively reduce your donor abandonment rates. And remember, if you want to keep donors on your form, be conscious of their time and make the process as convenient as possible.


About the author: John Killoran is CEO of @Pay, an exciting new fundraising technology that makes it easy for people to donate in two clicks from text, email, web, and social media sites. John pioneered SMTP payments and has been a major innovator in the mobile payments space for the past 5 years. When he is not running a company, he is cooking food for his family and telling his dogs to stop barking.

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