Donation Pages: The Ultimate Guide and 30 Best Practices

This image shows someone making an online donation using a mobile device and a credit card.

A donation page is an online form on a nonprofit’s website that supporters can use to contribute funds to the organization’s mission.

Donation pages provide a convenient way to contribute that does not require travel, envelopes, or stamps. This low barrier to entry means that any supporter with a computer, mobile device, or access to the internet can give from the comfort of their home.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know to make your nonprofit’s donation form an effective fundraising tool. Here’s what we’ll cover:

According to the M+R Benchmarks study, the average donation page conversion rate for nonprofits in 2022 was 19%. The tips in this guide are intended to help raise your conversion rate higher than this number to drive greater revenue for your mission.

Bloomerang makes creating a branded donation page easy and convenient. Schedule a demo.

What is a donation page?

A donation page is a web page on a nonprofit’s website where donors can give online rather than by mail or in person.

Nonprofits typically create donation pages with the help of an online fundraising platform provider. These platforms offer tools for developing customized pages, including templates and best practices. Then, organizations can embed these pages into their websites and share the link to the page via other platforms like email and social media.

Why are donation pages important?

As we’ve already discussed, donation pages provide a level of convenience for supporters who want to contribute to your organization. However, they’ve also become an expectation for supporters. The increased popularity of donation pages and other online shopping experiences has set the precedent that all nonprofits should have an online presence and options to give digitally.

However, convenience and expectations are not the only reasons for nonprofits to invest in an effective online donation page. Donation pages also provide the following benefits for organizations:

Immediate engagement opportunities

When a new supporter visits your website, they get to learn more about your mission and your organization’s purpose. Usually, they visit after seeing your marketing materials or because they heard about your cause from a friend or family member.

An online donation page captures supporters’ attention at the peak of their engagement with your organization, providing an immediate way for them to get involved with your mission. 

The form is also a space for organizations to communicate the impact of donations on the mission. Sometimes organizations give concrete examples like, “A donation of $200 feeds a family of 6 for one month.” This gives individuals a specific ask and makes a connection between their donation and your mission. This initial immediate interaction with new supporters opens the door for a continuous, ever-growing relationship with them.

Increased security

Think about everything that can go wrong with traditional fundraising methods. If you send a check or cash to a nonprofit, you run the risk of it getting lost in the mail or even stolen along the way. We’ve all heard the stories of mailbox vulnerabilities during the holiday season or packages being stolen from front porches.

To avoid mailing issues, supporters could always contribute in person. However, that’s a hassle for many who don’t want to hop in their cars to contribute, especially for smaller donations.

Online donations can provide an increased level of security that your supporters need to feel comfortable with their decision to give. 

Adhere to nonprofit cybersecurity measures to maintain airtight security. Look for a PCI-compliant payment processor and ensure the platform provides encryption or other protections for donor data.

Access to donor data

When supporters contribute via an online donation platform, they’ll provide certain information to your organization, including their names, contact information, and other fields that you may require. This information is crucial for your organization to maintain connections with supporters and build relationships.

The majority of donation pages provide opportunities for nonprofits to capture this vital information and save it in a secure location. If your donation pages integrate seamlessly with your donor database software, you can streamline your data to save it automatically in individual donor profiles.

In addition to collecting information on your donation page itself, collect data about how your supporters reach your donation page. Track open and click-through rates from the links that you’ve included on your social media posts, campaign emails, and other marketing materials for insights into the flow of traffic to your donation page. This can help you understand how effective your various marketing efforts have been at capturing supporters’ attention.

30 donation page examples and best practices

Your donation page should capture your supporters’ attention. It’s the crucial step to begin a long-term relationship with a new supporter and a crucial engagement opportunity for your existing supporters. Follow these donation page best practices that will help you get more from your page.

1. Use a robust fundraising platform

Fundraising software simplifies the donation page creation process. It also allows you to easily integrate your donation page into your current fundraising strategies and website.

Search for a robust fundraising platform, like Bloomerang, that offers features such as:

  • The ability to create mobile-responsive, streamlined donation pages that are branded to your nonprofit
  • Donation analytics that help you understand where your efforts are succeeding and where they could be improved
  • Donor portals that allow donors to create an account with your nonprofit and view/adjust their donation amounts at any time
  • The ability to accept multiple payment types, from credit cards to Apple Pay and ACH
  • Additional fundraising tools, like peer-to-peer and crowdfunding capabilities, to expand your online fundraising efforts.

Bloomerang’s fundraising tools also seamlessly integrate with their nonprofit CRM, ensuring that all data collected through your online donation form automatically syncs with your donor profiles.

Bloomerang helps nonprofits retain 10% more than the industry average of recurring donors. Schedule a demo.

2. Brand your donation page

Imagine that you’re a new supporter of an organization. You’ve explored their website, signed up for their regular newsletter, and decided today’s the day to donate. You’ve received an email from the organization discussing a new campaign opportunity, so you click on the “donate now!” button from that email.

However, when you reach the donation page, everything looks different. The page has orange elements when the brand colors for the organization are blue and green, there’s no logo in the upper left-hand corner of the page, and even the URL contains a string of random letters and numbers instead of the name of the nonprofit. What are the chances that you’ll trust that page enough to enter your payment information? Probably very slim.

Your nonprofit’s website and marketing materials probably have a certain “look” to them. These resources leverage specific colors, fonts, and even tones to convey your organization’s brand. Your donation page should also include these brand elements.

When you include your organization’s brand elements on your donation page, it creates a sense of consistency and trust among your supporters who navigate to that page.

3. Ensure mobile responsiveness

In 2022, the majority of nonprofit website traffic came from users on mobile devices — 57%, compared to 43% from users on desktops.

To capture your supporters’ online donations on mobile devices, you’ll need to make sure your online donation page is mobile-responsive. This means all of the text, images, and forms on your donation page adjust to fit the screen size of the smaller device. Look for a donation page platform that offers mobile responsiveness and double-check your own page before it goes live.

4. Keep your design simple

Your donation page should provide a simple user experience that quickly guides donors through the giving process. Keeping your donation page simple allows this guidance to be easy and keeps the page navigable. When you’re designing your donation page, keep the following tips in mind for simplicity:

  • Reduce the number of clicks. There should be just one “submit” button at the bottom of the page to make sure it’s easy and quick to submit the donation.
  • Limit images. Using just one emotion-evoking image that represents your organization’s mission prevents images from distracting your supporters from the task at hand.
  • Don’t make the form too lengthy. It’s tempting to ask a ton of questions on your donation page to collect as much information as possible about your supporters, but this can make the donation process take longer, causing supporters to abandon the page.

Simple donation pages encourage more conversions from your supporters, so be sure to only include the necessary elements.

5. Offer suggested giving amounts

Suggested giving amounts are buttons that provide optional gift amounts that your supporters can choose from to give to your organization. They provide some insight into the amount you’re expecting or that other supporters give.

This helps take the guesswork out of the donation process. For example, check out the suggested giving amounts on CARE’s online donation form:

This image shows the CARE online donation form, with the $300 donation suggestion highlighted and a message that says “most people are donating $300 right now.” 

The form not only offers suggested donation amounts but also highlights the most popular giving amount currently. This promotes the idea of social proof, or that most people will look to the actions of others to determine how they should act in a given situation.

Essentially, donors want to do the “right thing” — they want to conform with what others are doing. Suggested and highlighted donation amounts give donors more confidence when making their decisions.

6. Feature recurring giving options

Recurring gift options make it easy for supporters to opt into giving on a regular basis. Provide an option on your donation form for supporters to check a box that will allow them to donate monthly.

Here’s an example of a monthly donation option on the Freedom Service Dogs donation form:

This image shows the Freedom Service Dogs donation page with the monthly giving option checked. 

7. Maximize the use of your confirmation page

Once your supporters have filled out your donation page and submitted their gift to your organization, that doesn’t mean their interaction with your organization is over. You can continue their engagement with your organization by providing more value on the confirmation page.

Your confirmation page is primarily used to confirm that the donation was received. However, you can also help it do more by providing additional options, for example:

  • Link to your volunteer or event pages. Invite supporters to explore other interaction opportunities that allow them to give back in other ways. For instance, they may sign up to volunteer or to attend your next event.
  • Provide options to follow your nonprofit on social media. Ask your supporters to continue their involvement by maintaining this interaction on another platform, like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. This way they’ll be able to keep up with your organization on multiple platforms, which increases future involvement opportunities.
  • Invite supporters to sign up for your email newsletter. Subscribing to your email newsletter is another great way for supporters to remain engaged with your ongoing involvement opportunities. Be sure to send new subscribers a welcome series that thanks them for their donations and provides more background information on your mission.

When supporters contribute to your nonprofit, they’re at the height of their engagement with your organization. By providing options to continue interacting, you can take full advantage of that engagement.

8. Make it easy to submit matching gifts

Include a matching gift database on your organization’s confirmation page and invite donors to search to see if they’re eligible for a match from their employer. Matching gifts are a common corporate philanthropy program, but those who are eligible are often unaware of their eligibility. Provide them the opportunity to see if they can receive a match and take the next step to obtain that match.

Make the matching gift process even more straightforward by offering auto-submission. With auto-submission, donors can provide their employer’s name during the donation process. After they donate, they’ll automatically be sent to the confirmation page with information about their company’s matching gift guidelines. If their gift is eligible, their match request will be automatically processed.

For example, here’s what the matching gift process looks like on the Save the Children donation form:

This image shows the Save the Children donation page and its monthly gift database tool. Information about The Coca-Cola Company’s matching gift program is shown (the company matches donations over $25). 

Auto-submission speeds up the matching gift process and allows more match-eligible donors to submit matching gifts, bringing greater support to your mission.

9. Choose compelling images

The human brain can process visuals in as little as 13 milliseconds. That makes images a compelling way to convey the emotional impact of donations very quickly.

Choosing just one central image for your donation page can be a compelling way to show donors who their gifts support. For the greatest impact, select images that:

  • Show faces. Research has found that images with human faces are more engaging for users than those without.
  • Be branded to your nonprofit, if applicable. Infographics should be branded with your nonprofit’s logo, fonts, and colors.
  • Not distract from your giving form. Your image shouldn’t be overly complex or distracting — choose a straightforward visual, such as a photo of one or two people looking into the camera.

Here’s an example of a compelling image from the Habitat for Humanity donation page:

This image shows the Habitat for Humanity donation form. It shows a compelling image of a woman holding a young boy. Both are smiling and looking into the camera. 

This image works well because it shows two people smiling and doesn’t distract from the text or the rest of the giving form.

10. Provide a powerful “why”

Not all users who arrive on your donation page fully intend to donate. Give potential supporters that extra push by offering a short written statement that motivates them to give.

Some page visitors may not be familiar with your mission, so this written statement is a good opportunity to reinforce your mission and vision.

Take a look at the compelling reason to give at the top of the Climate Reality Project donation page:

This image shows the Climate Reality Project’s donation page. It includes a compelling reason to give, saying “Together, we can take bold climate action to address this crisis… Make a gift today to support our work.” 

The form urges visitors to act now to address the climate change crisis and slow its negative impacts.

11. Connect donations to impact

Part of your compelling “why” can involve showing potential donors the specific, tangible impact they can make on your mission. An effective way to do this is by connecting donation amounts to specific positive actions.

For example, the ASPCA donation page features a carousel of images of animals along with specific donation amounts and the positive impact that those donations can achieve.

This image shows the ASPCA donation page with a suggested donation amount of $35 dollars highlighted. There is a photo of a cat in a crate along with the words “Your gift can help give enrichment toys to an animal in our care.” 

12. Accept multiple payment methods

These days, donors expect to be able to give using the payment method that’s most convenient for them. Fundraising statistics show that when it comes to online giving, 63% of donors prefer to give online with a credit or debit card, 10% like PayPal, 5% would use a wire transfer, and 1% prefer a digital wallet like Apple Pay or Google Pay.

Adhere to these expectations by offering a variety of payment options, such as:

  • Credit/credit cards
  • PayPal
  • Google/Apple Pay
  • ACH direct deposit

You can develop a smoother payment process by giving donors a variety of options, ensuring they can use whatever payment method they have on hand.

13. Improve page load speed

According to research from Google, the likelihood that a visitor will bounce increases by 32% as page load time lengthens from one second to three seconds. It’s essential to maintain a low bounce rate for your donation page to keep donors on the page and drive more conversions.

Decrease your donation page’s load speed by taking steps to:

  • Compress images to reduce image file sizes while maintaining image quality
  • Reduce unused code to streamline your code base, making it easier for servers to load the page.
  • Deploy lazy loading to improve page speed by loading images only when they are needed/shown on the page.

Test your donation page using a tool like PageSpeed Insights to ensure that it’s loading quickly and efficiently.

14. Use a secure payment processor

There are plenty of ways to process donations, but you should ensure the payment processor you use keeps donors’ information secure.

Your payment processor should offer the following features:

  • PCI-compliance: Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance means that the tool aligns with industry standards for data protection and security.
  • Data encryption: This makes sensitive information undecipherable by cybercriminals.
  • Fraud detection: These tools screen for potential fraud and flag suspicious activities.

A secure payment system increases donors’ trust, encouraging them to give again in the future.

15. Ask donors for permission to save their information

Incorporate a button into your donation form that lets donors save their information for future transactions. You can also use this information to automatically create a new account for donors in your donor portal.

Saving donors’ information will speed up the payment process next time they want to donate, reducing barriers to recurring giving.

Increase your fundraising ROI with the help of a comprehensive strategy. Download Bloomerang’s free fundraising plan guide.

16. Make your donation page accessible

Accessibility is the process of designing your website in a way that is usable and understandable by everyone. Accessibility isn’t just a nice-to-have perk — in many cases, it’s required by law for nonprofits to have accessible websites. For example, nonprofits that receive federal funding are required to comply with ADA-accessible website requirements.

Make your nonprofit’s donation page more accessible by following these guidelines:

  • Use sufficient color contrast between the foreground text and the background. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) recommend a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1. WebAIM offers a free contrast checker to verify whether your color combinations are accessible.
  • Incorporate alternative text for images. Alt text should fully describe what each image depicts. This is useful for those with visual impairments or people who are facing slow page load speeds.
  • Include descriptions for form fields. Make sure each form field has a written description that appears outside of the field itself. This makes it easier for screen readers to read the text.

Making your donation page more accessible should be an ongoing, collaborative process. Provide opportunities for website visitors to give feedback on your accessibility efforts, whether through a survey or email address they can contact.

17. Use A/B testing

A/B testing is the process of creating two slightly different versions of your online donation page and comparing which version performs the best with your audience. The trick is to just change one page element at a time so you can narrow down which changes have the most significant impact.

For example, you can test out different versions of your donation page by changing elements like the:

  • Primary image
  • Suggested giving amounts
  • Compelling reason to give
  • Font and background colors

Continue the testing process until you’re left with a version of your donation page that drives the greatest engagement and conversions.

18. Try different “submit” button text

The donate button at the end of your donation page is the most important call to action (CTA) on your giving form. This is the button that enables donors to actually submit their gifts.

Make your donation button stand out using vibrant colors, a bold font, and strong color contrast. The button doesn’t have to just say “Donate” either. Use A/B testing to try out different phrases, such as:

  • Donate Now
  • Submit Donation
  • Give Now
  • Donate $100 (make this personalized to the individual’s gift amount)

Assess the conversion rates for different button versions to see if one phrase drives greater giving than the others.

19. Give donors the option to give in honor or memory of someone

Memorial donations can be incredibly meaningful in the wake of loss. A memorial donation is a contribution made in memory of someone who has passed away.

If your nonprofit’s mission focuses on fighting a terminal illness or condition, it can be comforting to offer donors the option to give to honor or memorialize a loved one. Be sure to also provide an option for donors to notify their loved ones that they made a gift in their honor.

For example, take a look at how The Michael J. Fox Foundation donation form allows donors to give in honor or memory of someone:

This image shows The Michael J. Fox Foundation donation page, displaying the option to give in honor or memory of someone. 

20. Promote your donation page via Google Ads

Google Ads are the sponsored ads that appear at the top of search results. For example, here is a sponsored ad from the ASPCA that appears after searching the term “donate to animal shelter”:

This image shows a paid Google ad for the ASPCA and the different components that make up the ad, such as the title and sitelink extensions.

These ads are an effective opportunity to promote your donation page to an audience of potential new supporters browsing for terms relevant to your nonprofit.

Plus, as a nonprofit, you could be eligible for the Google Ad Grant. The Google Ad Grant Program offers nonprofits $10,000 per month in Google Ad spending.

You can also promote other fundraising opportunities, like matching gifts or fundraising events, using Google Ads. Optimize your ads by using compelling ad copy and including a relevant image to drive more clicks.

21. Allow donors to share their donations

Word-of-mouth marketing is a powerful way to spread awareness of your nonprofit to new audiences. Incorporate social sharing buttons into your donation confirmation page or email so supporters can share their donations and encourage others to give.

Provide social sharing buttons for platforms like:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • X (formerly Twitter)
  • Email

Interact with supporters’ social media posts to thank them for their gifts and encourage continued involvement.

22. Empower donors to choose a specific campaign to give to

Giving donors the flexibility to support the campaign that means the most to them creates a more fulfilling giving experience.

For example, the Memphis Zoo donation page allows donors to choose from several different campaigns to support:

This image shows the Memphis Zoo’s donation page with different options for campaigns to support (listed in the bulleted list below). 

  • Eco Express Train Fund: Replace the zoo’s outdated train with a more dependable and eco-friendly version
  • Animal Support Fund: Support daily operations.
  • Capital Fund: Support the maintenance of current structures and create a foundation for the growth of future exhibits and building projects.
  • Endowment Fund: Contribute to the zoo’s legacy fund.

With a variety of options, donors can choose the giving channel that best fits their goals and motivations.

23. Answer donors’ questions

Some donors may want a little more information about how the giving process works and the steps your nonprofit is taking to use donations wisely and keep donor information safe. Consider adding a sidebar to your donation form with a short list of frequently asked questions. These FAQs could include:

  • Is my gift tax deductible?
  • What will happen to my donation?
  • Who can I reach out to for more information?
  • How will [organization name] keep my information safe?

These questions and answers can reassure donors who may have been on the fence about giving.

24. Consider making the donation form a multi-step process

Making your donation form multiple pages can actually make the form feel faster to complete. That’s because donors can complete the form in smaller, manageable steps rather than being overwhelmed by the full page all at once.

Test out whether a multi-page form will work for your audience using an A/B test.

25. Offer donors the option to send an eCard

An eCard is a digital greeting card sent via email. Offer donors the option to access free eCards after donating or send an eCard to notify a loved one that they donated in their honor.

For example, Habitat for Humanity South Africa created a Christmas campaign with the option for donors to give a tribute gift and send an eCard.

This image shows an example of a Habitat for Humanity eCard. 

eCards are a versatile, cost-effective way to spread awareness about your nonprofit while offering donors something in return for their generosity.

26. Include your donation page link in fundraising campaigns

After going through the steps to optimize your donation page, you’ll be ready to show it off to the world. Give supporters a convenient way to donate during any campaign by sharing a link to your giving form in your:

  • Social media posts
  • Emails
  • QR code links on flyers or direct mail

Your online donation page can centralize your donation process to make it more straightforward for those looking to show their support.

27. Ensure your donation page is easy to find

Make sure your donation page is easily accessible at any time so that those who feel inspired to give can do so in just a few clicks.

Include a donation button at any place where donors might be feeling the highest level of motivation to contribute. For example, you can include a donation CTA in the following places:

  • The top-level website menu. This should be an eye-catching button that says something like “DONATE” or “GIVE NOW.”
  • Blog posts. Inspiring blog posts with emotional stories tend to be effective in influencing supporters to give. Include a link or CTA to your donation page at the bottom of your blog post and throughout the post, when applicable.
  • Social media bios and posts. Adding a donation page link to your social media bios and posts allows supporters to give directly from social media without having to type your website into their browsers.

Keep your donation page top-of-mind for supporters so they can give whenever they feel inspired.

28. Ask donors if they would like to be featured on your donor wall

A donor recognition wall helps show donors your appreciation by publicly recognizing them for their gratitude. Include an option on your donation page or in your follow-up email that allows donors to opt-in to being featured on your physical or virtual donor recognition wall.

You should also give donors the option to remain anonymous. Not all donors want public recognition, so respect their preferences.

29. Allow donors to give feedback post-donation

Donor feedback allows you to enhance your giving experience based on their preferences. It also shows donors that you prioritize listening to and implementing their input.

Send a survey in your donation confirmation email. Ask questions such as:

  • How did you hear about our organization?
  • Why did you decide to donate to our cause?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied were you with the donation process?
  • What could we do to improve the giving experience?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to give again?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend our organization to a friend or family member?

Compile donors’ responses after a few weeks of information gathering. Identify any trends or patterns and make a plan to address their input. Let donors know exactly what you plan to do to address the overarching trends present in their feedback.

30. Connect your donation page to your CRM

Your CRM or donor management system is your nonprofit’s central hub for storing donor information. If you’re looking to invest in new fundraising software, look for a tool that integrates with your CRM to ensure seamless data transfers between the platforms.

When donors give via your online donation page, their information will automatically flow to your CRM. You can update your CRM with donor information like their:

  • Names
  • Email addresses
  • Gift amounts
  • Giving frequency
  • Connections with existing supporters in your database
  • Employers (if donors used a work email to give or submitted a matching gift)

Then, you can use this information to personalize your follow up thank you messages. For example, you can include donors’ names and gift amounts in your message to show gratitude for their specific contributions.

In addition, with a robust tool like Bloomerang’s donor database, you can also use donor information to conduct wealth screening. This helps you identify donors in your database who have the potential to become major contributors.

The bottom line

Donation pages are important tools in the nonprofit world, allowing organizations like yours to collect gifts online and providing supporters with an easy way to get involved with your mission.

Don’t forget: When supporters submit their contributions on your well-designed donation page, that’s only the beginning. Continue reaching out, stewarding them, and building an impactful relationship.

For more information to help optimize your online fundraising campaigns, check out these additional resources:

Your online giving tools should help cultivate connections. Bloomerang’s fundraising platform turns one-time donations into long-term relationships. Request a demo.