Improve conversions on donation pages

Business Benefits

Increase conversions, donations, and revenue for your organization.


Add multiple donation pages: a general page, campaign page, and an instant page, to appeal to different donors at different times.

One of the most common mistakes that new online fundraisers make is assuming that a single donation page is sufficient. In reality, donors come to your donation page with a huge variety of motivations. Using a dedicated donation page for every campaign lets you grow your capability to align with the motivations of your donors.

Write your general donation page to appeal to a wide audience. Broadly explain your work and why donors should give, use bold text and headers to make the page easily scannable, and include a call-to-action headline with a specific task.

Make sure to thoroughly explain why someone should give using the copy on your donation page. Keep your message clear and concise, using bullets. According to some tests, implementing the above-mentioned tactics can lead to a 150% increase in donations.

For example, the organization below tested a new version of their donation page that included a lot more copy. The updated page:

  • Explained what the organization did in broad terms.
  • Used bold text and headers to make it easily scannable.
  • Included a call-to-action headline with a specific donation ask.

The result? The new version of the donation page led to a 150% increase in donations.

Create a dedicated campaign donation page for specific donation appeals, using copy that’s specific to the campaign, and giving a visual indication of the campaign’s progress with a progress bar or countdown clock.

  • Write copy that’s specific to your campaign, not broad generalizations about your organization as a whole.
  • Add a progress bar to show how close you are to reaching your campaign goal.
  • Add a countdown clock to visualize your campaign deadline and create urgency.
  • Avoid using videos as it may negatively affect campaign success.

For example, if you’re raising money to build a new building and send potential donors an email about it, your campaign donation page copy needs to focus on that specific project.

Test your messaging to learn what appeals most to your donor, and leads to more donors. Even small edits can boost the success of your campaign page.

For example, an organization that provides websites to keep family and friends connected for people going through a health crisis, initially had a headline that broadly read You Make Kelly’s Website Possible. A subtle tweak in the headline to This Website Helps Kelly Stay Connected to Family and Friends, narrowed the impact the donation had on the individual goal, human connection, rather than the organizational goal, websites. The result was a 21.1% increase in donations.

Add an instant donation page to convert new subscribers into donors right away, by offering a gift and immediately requesting a donation on the confirmation page.

Use an instant donation page as a quick fix to acquire subscribers fast, instead of waiting months to convert them. Here’s how it works:

  • Use a free offer like an ebook, course, or petition, to acquire an email address.
  • Make a donation request right away on your confirmation page.
  • Make your donation ask in the context of the free offer they’ve just received.
  • Include a donation form right on the confirmation page.

For example, one organization running Facebook Ads targeted likely supporters with a call-to-action of Donate Now. They conducted an A/B test with a version of the ad that offered a free online course, and after enrolling in the course presented the student with an instant donation page. While the basic Donate Now ads had a poor 0.46% click-through rate, the instant donation page model increased clicks by 209% and converted right away, at a 1.18% conversion rate with a $58.33 average gift size. The conversion rate might be low, but it’s enough, in most cases, to cover advertising costs, plus some.

Remove unnecessary fields, make as many fields as possible optional, rather than required, and review pages for errors or confusing layouts.

A few common fields on many donation pages that are unnecessary to complete a donation:

  • Gift designations.
  • Make this gift in memory of….
  • Titles like Mr., Mrs., Ms., or Dr.

While it may not be possible to eliminate all friction elements on your webpage, you can always minimize where you identify friction issues. For instance, you can’t make an online donation without requiring payment info. Minimize the field number friction by avoiding asking for unnecessary information, or keep the same number of fields, but logically group them to make the page appear shorter and the donation process less work.

Include a default gift designation field, or entirely remove this field to minimize decision friction.

Decision friction occurs when you ask a donor a question that they’re not informed enough to answer, such as requiring a gift designation, the most common issue. While there are many reasons why an organization may want each donor to designate how to spend their gift, most donors aren’t informed enough to know how to answer this question. Alternatively, decision friction can be caused by simply giving too many options for someone to choose from.

Easy solutions are to:

  • Not require a gift designation.
  • Default the gift designation field to, Where most needed.
  • Remove the field on campaign donation pages.

Don’t require people to create an account or log in, just to make a donation.

This is called registration friction. Logging in might make things easier for the organization, in terms of data tracking and gift processing, but it makes the donation experience much more difficult and frustrating for the donor, and can lead them to abandon their donation.

Expand copy, if necessary, to more effectively communicate your value proposition or why you are unique.

Keep elements of your page that strengthen the reasons why someone should give to you, the elements that explain your unique value, when you make efforts to make the donation process more frictionless. The length of your copy isn’t nearly as important as how effectively your copy communicates your value proposition.

For example, an organization invested in more value-focused copy, explaining why someone should donate. It saw a 134% increase in donations, despite the new copy making the page significantly longer.

Position your donation button in a way that doesn’t encourage visitors to jump straight past the copy to the donation form.

The donation shortcut button usually sits in the header on your donation page, anchored to the donation form at the bottom of the page. Functionally, when you click the button, it jumps you past all the copy and right to form. Although the shortcut button makes it easier to get right to the transaction, it makes it harder for donors to understand the impact their donation would have.

For example, an experiment with one organization showed that positioning a donation shortcut button in the header on its donation page, which basically bypassed the copy to enable visitors to donate faster, led to a 28% decrease in donations.