If there is any page on your charity website to get right, the donation page is it. But it can be a challenging area because it’s not just about content but also about managing a transaction well.
How much do you talk about yourself? How much do you ask for and how often? Do you invest in a fully integrated process of push people out to a platform like Just Giving?
This guest blog post from partner White Fuse highlights a range of different techniques charities use to create an effective donation page. Have a look and feed the learning back into your charity’s website!
How to integrate?
1. Link to separate fundraising platforms
If in doubt then linking out to a fundraising platform, like JustGiving, is the most straightforward method. All it requires is a button or hyperlink on your website and a page setup on a fundraising platform.
Increasingly, CRM providers are providing functionality built into their systems that improves upon the functionality offered by these fundraising platforms while keeping the same simple approach to integration. Donorfy is a great example, providing this functionality across all tiers including their free plan.
If you currently have this functionality in your CRM and want to use a fundraising platform then check out White Fuse’s extensive guide on the standalone fundraising platforms on offer. Generally speaking, Just Giving came out as the top contender, and they really have continued to lead the way in the last few years.
Example website: Step Together
Step Together links straight out to their JustGiving page from the Donate button on their homepage.
Step Together donate page links directly through to Just Giving:
2. Try out embeddable widgets
Using a third party widget means you can place the giving decision within your own donation page. It allows users to select the amount they want to give before taking them through the donation process. This keeps them on your page a little longer but doesn’t allow brand customisation. This is also an approach that allows you to add the donate option within the context of another piece of content, such as a blog post or campaign page.
Several fundraising platforms offer embeddable widget, as do some CRM providers who offer built in fundraising capabilities like Donorfy.
Example website: Rain Rescue
Rain Rescue use a JustGiving widget on their donate page and pre-determined which amounts they think givers should give. It’s clearly branded a JustGiving widget and once an amount is selected and you press donate you’re taken off their website and onto the JustGiving site. This does allow them to present alternative ways to give on their page and validate your giving by emphasising where it ends up.
3. Keep the donation process on your website
Keeping the user on your site through the whole process can give you better control over the user’s experience. This has pros and cons because it also gives you more to think about and test!
This is a complex area with lots of different options, each with its own security and user experience complications. One simple compromise can be to use a fully branded embeddable checkout process which gives the impression of continuity without you taking responsibility for the security side of things.
Each of the examples in the next section take some variant of this approach.
How to make your donation pitch
1. Super simple, minimalist approach
At White Fuse we are a big fan of keeping things simple. The logic behind this approach is that once a user has clicked ‘donate’ they already know broadly what they want to do. This therefore is not the time to bombard them with info but rather you should do all you can to get out of the way and simplify the transaction process.
Example website: So World Wide
So World Wide have created a donation page that is simple and focused, drawing all attention to their donate form. With two form fields, a small checkbox and a very large donate button, they reduced donating to 3 quick decisions. (1) What do you what to give to, (2) How much and (3) How often, monthly or not.
2. Monetary options
It’s common to see charities bringing attention to different monetary values on donation pages. By suggesting a range of amounts, it highlights large or small, all donations are welcome. If you really understand your target audience and you are up for experimenting and measuring, this approach can help you eek more money out of your supporter base.
Website example: Great Ormond Street Hospital
Great Ormond Street Hospital emphasises this in it’s layout. There are several ways one can donate to, but by highlighting and placing the range of amounts at the top of the page they encourage all types of wallets to contribute.
3. Focus on where your money goes
Including stories about what donations ‘could’ or will be used for takes monetary options a step further. This provides proof and peace of mind. Including a breakdown on costs and where donations are spent adds further accountability.
Example website: War Child
War Child keeps it simple and clear. By providing rough estimates of what donations cover, they then allows the user to make their own decision about where in the story they want to contribute to.
4. Product based options
A few charities maximise the beneficiary story by packaging amounts into ‘donation products’. These focus giving on specific people or places and provide a level of accountability and return. Sponsoring a child is one such product used as a primary fundraising method for Plan UK and World Vision.
Examples website: PlanUK
Plan UK highlight ‘Sponsoring a Child’ in red, putting this before and above donations on their homepage.
5. Long term vs short term
Deciding whether to elicit one off donations or focussing on building longer term relationships, is a decision of priorities on your donate page. Encouraging a longer commitment takes planning and good convincing. One off donations require less buy in and can work well for shorter campaigns. Pencils of Promise have managed to do both effectively.
Example website: Pencils of Promise
Pencils of Promise have created a super simple donation page. Users are moved swiftly through donating with few decisions and distractions. Click ‘Donate’ in the nav and you go straight to the donation page with $35 pre-filled. Bright green buttons then encourage you to choose the payment method. Alternatively, the monthly “Passport” option, yellow aligned with their brand, creates a product eliciting a long term involvement.
More inspirational examples
There is normally no single ‘right’ approach so below we’ve pulled together a range of examples for you to look through. Grab ideas, try stuff out and experiment until you find something that works for your charity.
What they do...
- Focus on large banner targeting single or monthly donations
- Page breaks up into smaller and smaller chunks as you scroll
- Use imagery and text primarily
- Different areas and ways to donate (In memoriam, to a specific cancer, text, lottery)
- Proof/Where your money goes
What they do...
- Use the header to distinguish between once off and monthly
- “Donate” leads to exposed form ready to get going
- Q&A box, giving safety and security to users
- Amount, details and payment info all on one page
- “Give Monthly” leads to more of a journey/story
- “Give Monthly” giving appeals to bigger involvement; joining the community
- Greater level of commitment by becoming a ‘possibilist’
What they do...
- Very simple Donate page
- Using strong imagery
- Giving amount options
- Short descriptions explaining where your money goes on hover
- Bright attention grabbing colours, boxed area
- Showing the 3 step process ahead
Amy Reinecke is a designer at White Fuse who build affordable and powerful websites for charities. The White Fuse team runs a blog with tips & information on all things digital, tailored for charities and nonprofits.
Want to learn more? Read about our 2016 Civil Society win, where Donorfy was voted BEST Charity CRM for cost, functionality, integration and more.