When your goal is to collect online gifts, your tool is the donation form you publish on your webpage or send in an email. But a donation form can come in different shapes and sizes, just like tools. It is best to use the right one because, to employ the metaphor of a knife in the kitchen, you wouldn’t want to dice a tomato with a butter knife. But it can be challenging to figure out which kind to use.
You could also be thinking about the needs your organization has that might be met using the form. It may feel imperative to get everything in there, to take advantage of this opportunity to gather as much data as you can about the donor and their gift. If you’re working with a Little Green Light form, you have a lot of flexibility in how you can structure the form’s data fields, allowing for many different data types to be gathered. But going for broke in this case can be counter-productive. And it may cost you donations in ways you are not aware of.
The faster and easier a form is to use, the more likely a donor is to make a gift through it. As with any large-scale task, when you’re planning how you’re going to accomplish your online giving goals, breaking everything down into smaller pieces actually speeds up the whole process compared with trying to accomplish many tasks with one form. Targeting your form to achieve one task—whether it’s giving a one-time gift, giving a recurring gift, or giving to a specific appeal or event (or even segments of each)—removes confusion and eliminates complexity for donors, making it that much easier for them to make a gift.
When looking around the web for ideas, you may notice that the bigger the nonprofit and the more successful they are, the shorter and simpler their donation forms tend to be. They don’t typically offer one form that tries to accomplish more than one thing. They know that making it easier and simpler to give means there is no barrier to donors taking the next step of completing the form and paying.
But there are some additional details to consider too.
When someone has chosen to donate, make it easy for them to select the amount they want to give at the top of the form. You don’t want to ask for lots of information and feedback before your donor gets to the donation decision. This might even turn some people away.
Don’t present too many different levels of giving. Donors may feel unsure about which amount to choose and end up not choosing any.
Look at your donor community and their giving levels, and design and arrange your choices to encourage the donation amount upward. For example, if the majority of your donors typically give between $50 and $200, offer them a few choices within that range and one that’s a little higher. Always offer an “Other amount” option as well, for anyone who wants to give at a different level.
This is off the topic of form building, but it’s crucial: Combining a simple statement of donor impact, paired with imagery showing that impact on your website’s giving page or home page, can create a powerful visual reinforcement of the important work donors are funding with their giving, especially if the image and words are tied directly to your mission. This can do so much more than language alone to remind your donors of how important it is to support your organization.
Shorter forms with specific uses allow for more ability to isolate financial data, which makes reconciliation easier and more accurate.
You can create and publish a very simple GivingTuesday LGL form by using the built-in GivingTuesday form template in your LGL forms account. You can easily activate it from the top of your “Active Forms” page by clicking the “+Add GivingTuesday Form” button, as shown here.
The form will automatically load on your page in Edit mode, where you can makes changes to it or publish as is.
When you reduce your donors’ efforts to make a gift to your organization by keeping your online donation forms very simple, you’ll likely see the benefit in how many more end up clicking your “Donate” button. Your staff and accountant will spend less time spinning their wheels too, allowing more brainpower to be focused on your mission.
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