April 23, 2020 Amy Sewell

When a potential donor lands on a donation form, organizations often make a critical assumption: the user has already decided to donate. In reality, people on the donation form are still very much in the decision-making process.

Helping to reduce ‘friction’ is essential to making sure each donor decides to give and completes the giving process. Friction refers to anything on a form that increases the likelihood a donor will leave without giving. It’s impossible to avoid entirely. But for the average organization, only 21% of people make it through the donation process*—that’s far too low!

Optimizing donation forms is something we do all the time here at Douglas Shaw & Associates, and the truth is—it’s different for every organization. But there are some things that can consistently hurt performance:

    • Taking donations through another website

      Many nonprofit organizations use a donation form that’s hosted on a third-party site. It doesn’t have the same header, navigation, or domain as their main website. This is a huge source of friction for donors. It introduces questions like: Am I in the right place? Is my money going where I think it will?

    • Lack of value proposition

      This basically means there’s nothing on the donation form telling potential donors why they should give—and give now. Value proposition content needs to be closely tied to the message that led the donors to the form—same images, similar copy, same ask levels—to firmly reinforce that they are in the right place.

  • Extremely long donation forms

    Donors are busy, and attention spans are low. You need your form to feel short and simple in order to eliminate the fear of a long, time-consuming process. Even forms with a lot of fields can look simplified if you adjust the layout or limit the number of fields visible when the page loads.

If you find yourself in any of these situations, it’s time to change! Make the investment now for the long-term benefit for your organization while immediately generating more online revenue.

*According to the M+R Benchmark Report


Our team is happy to help advise you on what strategy may work best for your organization. Please contact us today to get the conversation started.

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