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December 3, 2021
Tips for Improving Your Donation Page Conversion Rate
By Ryan Ozimek

Ryan Ozimek
Ryan Ozimek
Nonprofit organizations that are increasing their use of online fundraising spend a lot of effort driving potential supporters to their website, but if those visitors don't make a donation, they have a more foundational problem than their donation page.

Your donation conversion rate—the percentage of visitors to your donation page who ultimately complete a donation and become donors—is a key metric that your organization needs to be tracking for every online campaign you conduct. It essentially tells you what’s working and what’s not.

Without a well-designed form and a streamlined donation process, it becomes difficult to encourage donors to see their transactions through to the end, and your conversion rate (and online fundraising revenue) suffers as a result. Plus, without that initial conversion and strong donation experience, it becomes practically impossible to develop long-term relationships with those supporters.

To improve your donation page’s conversion rate, consider the following:

Frontend Design Elements

The design elements of your donation page will determine the quality of the user experience, or UX, that you offer potential donors. Strong UX generates more conversions, and poor UX will cause visitors to leave the page or otherwise never complete the donation. All of the elements of your donation page should work to improve UX or (at the very least) not hinder the donation process in any way.

These tips will help strengthen the design of your donation page to help boost your conversion rate:
  • Use clear and consistent branding. Your donation page should clearly reflect the visual identity of your organization. This includes elements like your logo, color scheme, and fonts. If users are inputting sensitive payment information, they’re going to look out for your brand in order to make sure they’re still engaging with your organization. Consistent branding also helps to build a distinct identity for your nonprofit in supporters’ minds, making it easier for them to remember you.

  • Include compelling visual media or a snippet of text. Your donation page shouldn’t just be a bare form asking for money. Include a striking image and short snippet of text that tells your nonprofit’s story in a compelling way. Creating campaign-specific donation pages and highlighting the human element of your mission are always smart moves, too.

  • Minimize the number of fields on your donation form. Never force your donors to fill out unnecessary fields that aren’t immediately relevant to the donation process. This will slow them down, greatly increasing the chance that they abandon the form without finishing. Instead, focus on the bare essentials, and then ask for additional information after the donation is complete.

  • Always prioritize mobile optimization. If your donation page doesn’t function or scale properly for smaller screens, you’re almost certainly losing out on potential donations. The majority of web traffic today comes through smartphones. Ensure your donation page (and your entire website) works well on mobile devices to safeguard your conversion rate.
These donor-facing elements of your donation page’s design play critical roles in determining the quality of the UX it offers. Even the smallest adjustments can have a significant impact on how visitors experience your donation page, which then affects your conversion rate.

Backend Technical Elements

Deeper technical elements of your donation process can have considerable impacts on your conversion rate, as well. Aside from the fact that your donation software simply needs to work, there are several other factors to keep in mind. Consider these tips:
  • Offer intuitive payment options. Nonprofit payment processing can be tricky to understand (read this explainer), but it’s important to understand the effect it can have on your donation process as a whole. Offering intuitive payment options, like PayPal, in addition to the typical credit card processing can be the deciding factor for some visitors to choose to make a quick donation rather than give up halfway through.

  • Focus on software integrations. If you haven’t already, integrating your donation software with your underlying database or CRM (customer relationship management) system can be a game-changer for your organization. With a steady flow of data reporting cleanly into your database, you can closely review the performance of your campaigns, tracking conversion rates in real-time and easily identifying areas for improvement. Looking for integrations whenever possible is actually a best practice whenever you’re adding new tools and nonprofit fundraising software to your arsenal.
Understanding your payment processing choices, offering intuitive options to donors, and considering dataflow are the most important backend elements to keep in mind when strengthening your donation page.

By optimizing your donor-facing design elements, you can strengthen the UX of the donation process, making it faster and easier to give. This streamlining is what lays the foundation for sustained relationships. Then, behind the scenes, make sure you’ve got the right payment and data infrastructures to back up your optimizations. You’ll be raising more in no time!

Ryan Ozimek, co-founder of Soapbox Engage, leads his team in developing affordable, user-friendly online engagement tools for nonprofit organizations.
March 2020
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