5 Ways to Solve Your Donor Abandonment Woes

Steven ShattuckDecember 15, 2016

5 Ways to Solve Your Donor Abandonment Woes header image

When a donor leaves a donation page, even if they plan on returning, it’s called donor abandonment. Donor abandonment is a problem every organization faces. In fact, on average, a nonprofit loses 60% of their potential donors.

Why are donor abandonment rates so high? The main reason donors leave a donation form is because of complications on the pages themselves that require donors to spend too much time completing the process.

We’ll cover five solutions to help you reduce your donor abandonment rates:

  1. Make it easy for donors to give.
  2. Show that your donation form is secure.
  3. Don’t make every step mandatory.
  4. Provide donors with suggested donation amounts.
  5. Create a donation form that fits on one page.

Let’s get started!

1. Make it easy for donors to give.

Before you look into ways to avoid donor abandonment, you need to consider different giving channels. Donors are less likely to leave the donation process without making a gift if the process fits into their lifestyle.

Giving channels such as text-to-give, mobile applications, and email buttons make donating accessible to your donors no matter the situation.

So how do you offer your donors more ways to give? It starts with finding the right online donation software. If you’re still looking for the right online donation software, @Pay has a useful guide that can help.

Once your nonprofit has software that allows you to accept donations through multiple channels, your organization will see less supporters abandoning your forms.

Why are more giving channels the solution?

Think about it this way: When a form isn’t agreeable with your donors’ busy schedule, donors have to set aside time to donate using the process you provide. For example, if you only accept donations through an online form, your supporters only have couple different ways they can access it.

Your supporters can either wait until they’re in front of a computer or try and navigate the form using a phone, which will be difficult if the form isn’t mobile-responsive. When a donor decides to give, they’re not always in a place where they can access your website and donate. However, most supporters always have their phones handy.

Your nonprofit should have a few mobile giving channels to make it easy for donors to give whenever they want.

With more options, donors can choose the most convenient way to donate in that moment.

Churches are a great example, of how successful fundraising can be when you provide supporters with additional giving channels. When churches give their congregations more ways to tithe, they can accept donations whenever, not just during a sermon.

The bottom line: When you give donors more opportunities to donate, you’re letting them pick the solution that suits their needs, decreasing the risk that they’ll leave the donation page halfway through the process. It’s just a great idea to boost your fundraising results!

2. Show that your donation form is secure

When supporters land on your donation page, they want to know that their information is protected before they give.

To help your donors feel at ease, your nonprofit should get familiar with your donation software’s security measures.

Always go with a software vendor that is PCI-compliant.

If your online donation software is PCI-compliant, it follows a strict set of guidelines created by the Payment Card Industry to make sure that your donors’ information stays secure.

In addition to PCI compliance, there are other security layers you can look for from your software vendor. For example, your donation software might also include:

  • 2-Factor authentication. If you’ve ever made an online purchase and had to validate it with an email address or phone number, you completed 2-factor authentication. It confirms that the supporters making the donations are who they say they are.
  • Tokenization. Tokenization is a process that takes delicate information and substitutes it with a unique combination of symbols, known as a token. The token can only be translated by the payment processor, so your donors’ information is protected.

Why are secure donation forms the solution?

While a secure donation page might go unnoticed, the opposite isn’t true. Your supporters can spot when a donation page isn’t safe.

If your donation form isn’t secure, your donors won’t be confident that their information will be protected. That hesitation could cause them to leave your form.

A secure donation form and payment processor can help reduce donor abandonment because you and your supporters’ information is protected and less susceptible to fraud.

After you’ve gotten more familiar with your donation software’s security, you should show your donors that your donation forms are secure. Show who powers your donation somewhere (preferably near where the donor enters their payment information) on your donation form.

That way, when a donor makes a gift, they can be confident that their payment information is protected.

The bottom line: When a donor goes to your donation page, make sure that they’re comfortable entering their personal details.

3. Don’t make every step mandatory

The more steps in your donation form, the more opportunities your supporters have to abandon the page midway through.

When your donation form has too many steps, it makes the process longer and some donors will find the extra steps unnecessary. Long donation forms take more time, which give your donors more opportunities to abandon the process.

It’s tempting for your nonprofit to use use donation forms as a way to collect more information on your supporters. The donation form is a good place to ask questions to collect and record in your nonprofit’s CRM, it can cost you potential donations if you don’t handle it properly.

Not every step in your donation process needs to be required. Your form can include optional fields so that supporters don’t have to fill in every question.

Why are optional steps the solution?

The steps that aren’t necessary to the payment process can be optional fields. Your nonprofit will still be able to collect information from willing supporters without losing the donors who want a quicker process.

Additionally, even some of the more common steps should be made optional. For example, a step often found in the donation process is account creation. When a supporter creates an account, their information is saved so that they can make future donations faster.

Although account creation has its benefits, it works better as an optional step. That way, donors can create an account if they want to. And the other donors can skip the step if they feel it’s unnecessary.

The bottom line: Your supporters want a donation process that is quick and doesn’t ask too much from them. After all, they are taking the time to donate and shouldn’t be bogged down with additional requests on top of their charitable gifts.

4. Provide donors with suggested donation amounts

Your supporters might not always know how much is enough to give to your nonprofit. Therefore, deciding on a donation amount can take those donors more time.

Your nonprofit can speed up the process by giving them suggested donation amounts. On your donation form or in an email requesting donations, include a few different donation amounts.

Why are suggested donation amounts the solution?

When a donor is ready to make a gift, that donor just has to click on the donation amount and continue on with the process. The step is quicker than having the donor type in a donation amount.

Make sure to have a few high and low options so that every donor feels like they can pick a preset donation amount.

Plus, donors usually give more when donation forms have donation buttons. How is that possible? Donors will see the buttons and think that every supporter is using them. They will automatically infer that the amounts are the appropriate donation amounts and want to pick one.

Donation buttons encourage donors to give more and can potentially increase your fundraising goals.

If your nonprofit doesn’t already, you should include donation buttons on your forms. They can help you reduce your donor abandonment rates and help you raise more funds.

The bottom line: Sometimes donors need a little direction on how much to give. Suggested donation buttons give donors a visual way to easily pick a donation amount.

5. Create a donation form that fits well on one page

Donors want a quick donation process. When your donation page is too long or expands across multiple pages, the process will be overwhelming for your donors.

Additionally, seeing a long donation page lets donors know that the process is going to take more than a couple of minutes. If the process does take long, your donors may leave, intent on returning when they have more time. However, few donors will remember to return.

Why are one-page donation forms the solution?

Your donation form should be something that donors can easily complete when they have a spare moment, not something they have to dedicate a lot of time to.

A way to solve the long donation form dilemma is to create donation forms that fit on a single page. One-page donation forms work better because:

  • Your nonprofit will be less tempted to add unnecessary fields. When you have limited space to work with, you’ll be more particular about what questions you ask donors.
  • Donors can easily see all the fields they have to fill out. A short donation form lets donors see all the fields in one glance. They can gauge how long it will take them, and the donation form won’t look so intimidating.
  • One-page donation forms translate better on mobile devices. Your donation form will be easier to view on smartphones, which means that your form will be more convenient for a larger group of donors.

The bottom line: One-page donation forms help make your donation process easier for your supporters so that they can complete your form in one sitting.

Now that you know the different areas that cause donor abandonment, you can create a donation page that gets your donors to the finish line: the confirmation.

And remember, creating a good donation form is about making the process convenient for your supporters. Hopefully, these tips will help your organization reach its full fundraising potential!

John Killoran

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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