[GUEST POST] Online Fundraising Made Easy: Donation Form Best Practices

Giving donors the option to give online with a donation form can provide a significant boost to giving. But if your donors aren’t delighted with your online donation form, chances are you won’t receive many gifts online. Luckily, we’ve got some donation form best practices that make fundraising easy for your nonprofit while making it easier for your donors to give.

Add your branding to your donation form

A simple way to get visitors to your online donation form to start giving is to make sure they’re in the right place. That means that your branding should be highly visible on your donation form or the form’s landing page. We’ve found that donors who gave to a nonprofit on a branded form were 70% more likely to make a second gift. That can seriously boost your donor retention!

So how can you effectively include branding on your online donation form?

Start by adding your logo. Your logo should be prominently displayed and, if it doesn’t contain your business name, include that too. Beyond the logo and business name, you can further brand the donation form by using your nonprofit’s unique color palette and design elements.

The logo and design elements should help the donation form blend seamlessly into your website.

If the online donation form corresponds with a specific campaign or appeal, it also is important to match the elements of that fundraising campaign. That’s where adding images and text to support the campaign’s branding comes into play.

Optimize your form for mobile devices

The great thing about an online donation form is that supporters can give from wherever they are in the world as long as they have an internet connection. That said, not all donors are accessing your forms from a laptop.

According to Statista, in the first quarter of 2021, 54.8% of all web traffic came from mobile devices. That means more than half your donors could be trying to access your online donation form from a smartphone or tablet.

If your form isn’t mobile-optimized, donors aren’t going to have a good experience. A bad donation experience leads to fewer donations down the line. That’s why mobile-optimized donation forms raise 34% more donations than non-optimized forms and why it’s so important to make sure your online donation form is accessible from anywhere on any device.

So, how do you optimize your form for mobile users?

First, make your page responsive. That means that the content should adjust to the size of the screen automatically. Qgiv’s donation forms are already optimized for a mobile experience so Qgiv users don’t have to worry as much about this step.

However, you can take mobile optimization a couple of steps further by focusing on speed and simplicity.

When you’re accessing a website on a mobile device without the assistance of WIFI, it can be frustrating waiting for a slow page to load. This has the potential to turn donors away. But, donation abandonment can be mitigated if your page loads quickly.

You can develop a lightning-fast donation form by making sure the pictures you use are a small file size. Just be careful not to reduce the quality too much by compressing your pictures, because then they’ll look blurry.

Use images and other non-essential elements sparingly to reduce the number of elements that need to be rendered before your form can be fully displayed. After making changes to increase the page load speed, determine if your form is fast enough using Uptrends’ free website speed test.

The last step in getting your donation page ready for mobile users is to simplify the layout and design. A long-winded donation form with tons of extra fields can quickly become difficult for mobile users. A more efficient donation form asks for only what’s needed to complete the gift. You can collect more donor information later.

Not only that, but pay attention to your buttons and links. Use a larger font that’s easy to click on mobile and ensure clickable links are placed far enough apart so that site visitors don’t click the wrong links when navigating through the steps of the donation process.

By taking these responsiveness items into account you’ll make your form more attractive to donors and can even boost your website’s SEO rankings!

Keep it short and simple

We mentioned that a simpler donation form is best for mobile responsiveness. It can also reduce the rate of donation abandonment. A long, complicated form can leave many busy donors frustrated. Instead, design your form with your donors in mind.

When designing your donation form, avoid extra fields or adding too much exposition. Your form should communicate your story in one or two key images with a caption.

Extra fields can also cause a lot of would-be donors to leave before completing their gifts. You can prevent this by asking only the questions you need.

Decreasing the number of clicks to complete the transaction is also helpful. A one-step donation form can work wonders if you don’t need to collect a lot of information. If you have extra fields that are required, consider breaking the donation process down into a series of three to four steps maximum so donors can easily complete it without feeling overwhelmed.

Make it easy to upgrade donor gifts

The tips so far were designed to make it easy for you to attract more individual donations from your supporters on your online donation form. However, a couple of small tweaks can also make it easy for your donors to upgrade their gifts and have an even larger impact.

Recurring giving prompts

The easiest way for donors to show more support is through recurring gifts. However, not all donors will know that’s an option. You can make this clear by mentioning recurring gifts on the donation form.

Qgiv users have two different recurring upgrade prompts they can use — the recurring gift nudge and the recurring gift modal — to ask one-time donors to upgrade their gifts. This can inspire donors to give a little more and make a lasting impact on your nonprofit.

Matching gifts integrations

If your organization has a subscription to a matching gift service like Double the Donation, HEPdata, or CyberGrants, you’ve got the option to use Qgiv’s matching gifts integration to embed a matching gift search bar directly to your online donation form.

This search bar makes seeking a matching gift easy for donors. They simply search for their employer and determine if their gift can be matched. If their employer offers a matching gift program, they’ll be prompted to apply for the matching gift immediately upon completing their donation. They can apply from the match on the donation confirmation page, or from the handy reminder email they receive.

If your online donation form supports embedding a matching gifts search, this can easily help donors double the impact of their gifts while keeping the donation process simple for your supporters.

If you’re new to matching gifts and want to make sure you make the most of your nonprofit’s matching gifts program, check out this blog post for Qgiv’s matching gifts best practices.


Ready to take your online donation form to the next level? By branding your forms, optimizing them for mobile users, and making it easy for donors to upgrade their giving you’re able to receive more donations and do more good.

Need an online donation form, or looking to upgrade your existing form for free? Request a donation form demo from Qgiv!

Shay Lessman is a writer and editor with a passion for helping nonprofit organizations succeed. He has experience in fundraising communications and has written several successful grants. He is also a proud
pet parent of two very naughty dogs. When he’s not working at Qgiv, he can usually be found writing poetry, playing games, or listening to podcasts.

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