8 Donation Page Tips for Nonprofits

Donation website designWe partner with quite a few nonprofit organizations here at Ironpaper, and we know firsthand that your donation page has the power to make or break your fundraising efforts. Unfortunately for many nonprofits, donation websites and pages are often neglected, poorly optimized and suffer from bad design.

For example, if your page is unbranded, poorly designed, and frustrating to navigate, you run the risk of turning off prospective donors and causing visitors to question your credibility. However, if your donation page is impeccably designed and offers a seamless user experience, it has the potential to engage visitors, make people believe in your cause, and drive donations – thus allowing your organization to more effectively fulfill its mission.

To ensure your organization’s donation page supports your fundraising goals, we recommend implementing the following eight tips:

1. Optimize for mobile. Although global mobile users have already surpassed desktop users, 84% of donation pages still aren’t optimized for mobile.

If a visitor becomes frustrated when attempting to make a donation to your organization via mobile device, chances are good that they will leave your site without giving a gift. To prevent this from occurring, we strongly encourage you to optimize your donation form (and entire website) to appeal to and accommodate the ever-growing number of mobile users. To begin, speak to your web design company about implementing responsive design to ensure your website automatically provides an optimal viewing experience across a wide variety of devices.

2. Showcase your credibility. Potential donors need to know that they are engaging with a credible organization. To that end, we recommend including the following elements on your donation page: a security certificate; high-profile endorsements; testimonials; and a privacy policy. From there, establish your legitimacy with name recognition, and by showcasing the number of years you’ve been in operation. And finally, consider using endorsements from well-known watchdog organizations, like Charity Navigator and Independent Charities of America to further bolster your credibility.

3. Communicate your organization’s mission. This is a simple step that many nonprofits overlook. For visitors to feel inspired to contribute to your organization, they first need to understand and agree with your mission. Make it easy for them by clearly and concisely communicating your nonprofit’s overall objectives and mission statement.

4. Disclose how donations are used. 63% of donors want to know how their money will be used by nonprofit organizations. – Hope Consulting

The vast majority of donors want to know how their money will be spent. We recommend clearly defining what percentages of your organization’s donations go to research, treatment, education, administration, etc. Or, if you use giving levels, tie each donation amount to a tangible gift. For example, let donors know that their gift of $15 per month will provide food and clothing to an underprivileged family for the entire year. This transparency will make visitors feel secure enough to give a gift, knowing their money is being put to good use.

5. Brand your donation page. Custom-branded donation pages raise six times more money than generic giving pages. – Network For Good

A well-designed and branded donation page fosters trust and confidence – which increases the likelihood that your visitors will give a gift. Make sure the overall design of your donation page is in alignment with your brand and the rest of the website by showcasing your organization’s name and logo, as well as compelling, high-quality imagery.

6. Leverage a simple design. A donation page has a single purpose: to inspire donors to give a gift. As such, all elements that don’t directly support that specific goal should be removed – including the top navigation, search tools, email opt-in forms, sidebar navigations, promotions, and ads.

7. Use a clear call-to-action. The visitor’s entire donation experience should be quick and easy. To that end, we recommend using a straightforward call-to-action that says “Donate” or “Donate Now” to ensure visitors can very easily and efficiently find their way to the donation form.

8. Streamline the donation process. A streamlined and seamless donation process increases the likelihood that visitors give a gift. We recommend using giving levels to help donors identify an appropriate gift amount and only asking for personal information that is absolutely necessary – including name, billing address, and credit card number. Your organization can always implement progressive profiling to gather additional information at a later date, but a short and simple initial form will encourage visitors to complete that crucial first transaction.

See related: Fundraising website design


  • Dunham and Company, Online Fundraising Scorecard, https://www.dunhamandcompany.com/onlinefundraisingscorecard/#sthash.hteRZmG6.dpbs
  • Network for Good, The Digital Giving Index, https://www1.networkforgood.org/digitalgivingindex
  • Hope Consulting, Money for Good II, https://www.hopeconsulting.us/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/MoneyForGood_II_Full1.pdf

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Ironpaper is a B2B marketing agency and lead generation agency. Ironpaper integrates design, technology and marketing for the web to drive meaningful results for clients. We are based in New York City and Charlotte, NC.