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Your Donation Page Needs An Update – Here’s Why

Donation Page

As a non-profit organization (NPO), you live and breathe donations. Without these recurring contributions, you can’t continue making a difference in the world.

But during the time you successfully spread the word and marketed your organization, there was one thing that fell through the cracks.

Your donation page.

And no matter how fantastic your NPO’s concept is or how well your brand ambassadors know their stuff or even how well your message wows people when you talk to them in person, that’s just half the battle.

The other half remains on that one page.

In other words, you need a spot-on donation page to take potential donors from interested to sold.

So how do you get there? Let’s jump right into it.

Get an Unbiased Opinion on Your Donation Page

Improving your donation page doesn’t start with a list. It starts with your page as it stands today.

So find a couple of people who aren’t familiar with your NPO’s website to give you input on what your donation page could improve upon.

A great tool to connect you with unbiased reviewers is UserTesting, which provides you with user experience feedback within two hours. When you set up your account, be sure to ask the reviewers specific questions about their experience on your donation page, such as

  1. What are you first drawn to when you see this donation page?
  2. In one sentence, what is this page about?

The results will show you how well your donation page’s intended message gets across to potential donors, if the page layout or options are confusing and what part of the page is drawing attention that maybe shouldn’t.

No matter the result, unbiased feedback is incredibly valuable to getting a feel as to what is deterring people from donating and provides you with a baseline comparison as you finesse the page.

Compare Your Donation Page to the Competition / Similar NPOs

Now that you have a baseline, find a couple of competitor sites and ask yourself and your third-party reviewers the same questions you did for your own NPO’s donation page.

Set aside the competitor sites where you all had the same positive conclusion. These will be your inspiration donation pages.

Go Through a Page Layout Checklist

The next step to refreshing your donation page is to review your donation page piece by piece to see what’s there and what’s missing.

As you take a look at your site (and your inspiration pages), check if you have the following elements:

  • Strong, eye-catching headline: Capture site visitors’ attention immediately with text that stands out against the rest of the content on the page. This can be done by making the headline larger than any other copy on the page and in a contrasting color.
  • Compelling, clear call-to-action (CTA): Long gone are the days of the “submit” button. Motivate users by letting them know exactly what they are contributing. Some examples include “Transform X lives today”, “Join the fight”, “Donate here”, “Impact the life of X today” and “Get involved.”
  • Impact statement(s): Describe to potential donors how their donation makes an impact. Use statements like “Your $20 donation helps feed a family of four for a month.”
  • Financial transparency: Let sponsors know where their money is going. By being transparent and sharing where each cent is allocated, you’ll give potential donors a peace of mind knowing that their hard-earned dollars are going toward making an impact, not an executive’s pocket.
  • Secure processing methods: Add an SSL certificate to your website so users’ credit card or other financial data is safely sent from your website. Without it, donor information could be compromised.
  • Mobile friendly: With more and more people using mobile devices to purchase online, it only makes sense that your website should be responsive. Mobile users want the same effortless experience that their desktop counterparts experience every time.
  • Images that help, not distract: The images that you put on your donation page shouldn’t be drawing all your site visitors’ attention unless that is your NPO’s intended purpose. Instead include subtle imagery that helps push site visitors to take the action you want them to do. This can be done by including an image of a person or elements that look/point toward your donation form.
  • A compelling story: Even if your NPO was created for an amazing cause, you need to refine the organization’s story to inspire potential donors to contribute. According to everyaction.com, “the best stories combine evocative imagery, personalization, heroism and impact.”

On top of those elements, here are a few optional features that leading donation pages include:

  • A separate thank you page: Adding a “thank you” page provides not only users but also your organization many benefits. This extra page helps with social sharing, adding more details about your organization and tracking form submissions with your analytics tool, such as Google Analytics.
  • Multi-step forms: Breaking up your forms into bite-sized pieces helps users complete donation forms at a higher rate. Users can get overwhelmed by a long form and abandon before submitting their donation.
  • Widgets that show who else has donated (and how much): According to Robly, “When we see that other people have tipped, we’re more likely to tip ourselves.”
  • Minimized social media icons: Social sharing icons can be seen as a distraction on donation pages. While you don’t have to remove these icons from the donation page, it’s best to minimize their presence by making them smaller and strategically placed, such as at the bottom of the page.

Put Together Must-Haves for Your Donation Page

Now that you have a list of all the items that successful donation pages include, it’s time to prioritize which should be on yours. Whether you’re redesigning the page yourself or sending it off to a designer, make sure you put together a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves. That way, your donation page is built with all essential elements in mind.

Keep it Simple

As you go on your way rebuilding your donation page, the best advice anyone can give you is to keep it simple. To help maintain a simple layout, ask yourself the following as you build out your donation page:

  • What distractions are on the page that don’t add to your message (main navigation, fluff content, etc.)?
  • How many words are emphasized with italics, bolded font or different colors? Remember that when too many items are emphasized, nothing is.
  • How many choices in your donation amounts do you have on your form? Too many options can overwhelm potential donors.
  • How consistent is your message, colors, fonts, logos, etc. across your site (including your donation page)?


Now that your donation page has been rebuilt with all its essential elements, it’s time to test which pictures, headlines and CTAs drive the highest donation rates. A free tool to help you do this is Google Optimize, which allows you to conduct A/B tests to see which elements on your donation page resonates with your audience. Remember, every NPO’s audience is different, so testing will allow you to customize your donation page to your audience.

Let us know in the comments what changes you have made to your donation page to drive more contributions.

Bay Leaf Digital is a marketing agency with a combined experience of more than 30 years working with large brands like Travelocity, Angie’s List, and & Citigroup. We believe there is gold in your analytics data. Bay Leaf Digital analysts geek out on finding insights that will help you grow your monthly recurring revenue (MRR). Our expertise spans web analytics, SEO, PPC/Display, and content marketing that delivers results (and often costs less than a single full-time resource).

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Gabe Lowe
Gabe Lowe
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