In Little Green Light, you can build an online form to collect anything from event registrations to donations and everything in between. But creating a perfect form takes advance planning and execution.
In this article, we share 6 tips to help you create a perfect online form, one that meets the goals you are trying to reach, and results in the best possible donor experience, too.
It takes time to design, plan, build, map, and test an LGL form. Here’s how to gauge how much time to schedule:
The main way to keep your form as simple as possible is to include only the fields you really need to capture the basic data that you want to collect.
This can be a challenge when you realize there is a lot of information you could ask for in your form, or multiple offerings you could make. An online form may seem like a great opportunity to do these things, but this can actually make it much more difficult than it needs to be to both build your form and for your submitters to fill it out. This leads us to our next tip for creating your perfect form.
We strongly recommend that you narrow your focus to one type of form submitter. Who is the core constituency for the form? What are they trying to do for your organization when they fill out this form? Are they trying to help you with their volunteer skills, donate to your organization, buy something from you, join your organization as a member, or register for your event?
Your online form should be designed to capture data from this one type of submitter.
If you have a recurring gift form, for example, build your form for those who want to make recurring gifts only. This is the easiest and most successful way to provide a good experience for your staff and for your constituents.
You can think of this as similar to preparing for a data migration. The list you create can then become your checklist.
Draw a gigantic “T” on a piece of paper to make two columns. In the left column, list each field in your online form. In the right column, list the corresponding LGL field for each. You may find, when your list of fields is complete, that you don’t know what the corresponding LGL field is for some of the fields you want to use. This is a good opportunity to see if you can remove some fields that you’re not able to match to LGL fields. And you can always email Support if you are not able to determine which LGL field to map your form field/s to.
NOTE: This step is crucial and will simplify and expedite your form-building process. It is important to follow this recommendation for each LGL form you build.
For events, this is key. Make sure you provide the event date in your registration form introductory text. I recently was invited to an event, and because the form didn’t have a date I didn’t know if I could attend or not. This sounds simple, but it’s a detail to make sure you account for.
Also be sure you embed the form on a page that shares the reason and relevance for the form and what benefit filling it out has. What’s on offer to the attendee, for example? If you will be asking submitters to subscribe to your newsletter, you can share why they would want to do so, whether it’s to receive important updates about the work they are supporting, to view monthly photos showing the land they are helping to preserve, or whatever the case may be.
We can’t emphasize this strongly enough: Be sure you test your form thoroughly.
If you are trying to accomplish more than one task using your form, test every task. If you have 5 meal choices, test each one. Filling out the form yourself when testing will show you what your constituents will experience when they fill it out. Making changes and tweaks resulting from the testing will yield the most perfect form possible.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Please do not collect via an LGL online form or use Little Green Light to track health-related information or health conditions or data that in any way would record health conditions. LGL is not HIPAA compliant. If you need to store health-related data, you will need to use a system that is designed for that purpose.
Now that you’re equipped with these tips, you can build whatever LGL form you need to accomplish your organization’s goals. These instructions lead you through the details:
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