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5 Tips for Designing an Online Donation Form

Aaron White
April 25, 2016
Min Read

Collecting donations online requires a lot more than putting a credit card form on your website and hoping the gifts flow in. To maximize your digital donor base, you need to make sure you create a seamless giving experience, starting with your online donation form. And one way to instantly amp up your donation form is to add a few key design elements to make it more user-friendly. With Formstack’s Theme Editor, it’s easy to create and brand professional, seamless online forms without CSS. With a strong foundation for a great-looking donation form, use a few of these design tips and examples to make your online giving experience even more compelling:

#1: Include a strong call to action at the top (and bottom!) of the page.

One of the easiest ways to motivate giving is by incorporating strong, directional statements above and on the submit button for your online donation form. Including calls to action throughout the giving experience helps users feel like they are a part of a larger community that cares about your efforts. One of Formstack’s customers, Youth for Christ Metro Pittsburgh, reminds donors that their gift directly helps the organization’s cause and thanks them for joining the effort before they even enter their credit card. Seal the deal with a solid submit button, including phrases like “Give” or “Join Us."

Online donation form call-to-action

#2: Give context to a donor's giving.

Along the lines of building community, lots of donors want to know how their gifts are going to be used at your organization. Communitas Supportive Care Society, another Formstack customer, includes a small sidebar next to its donation form that includes a breakdown of how funds are used at the nonprofit to promise donors that their donations are utilized responsibly. When visitors hit an online donation form, they already have a strong consideration to become involved in your organization. Little touches, such as assurance that their gifts will be valued, will help make it even easier for them to complete the form.

Sidebar online donation form

#3: Include proof of security.

With all the news around data being compromised at multiple businesses, one major hesitation around online giving is payment security. After all, no donor wants to make a gift to a nonprofit only to find out his credit card info was compromised. Formstack requires multiple security measures to ensure that all donations are protected within your account. Make that known on your online donation form by including a security badge or other proof of protection.

Online donation form security is critical

#4: Maintain your brand throughout the donation experience.

Nothing is more jarring than clicking on a link to give and being directed to a stark donation form that looks like it was coded in 1995. If you’re using an online form builder to capture donations, take extra care to make sure your embedded form matches your brand. If your website uses certain colors or fonts, make sure those are also included on the donation form. Matthew’s House does a great job of seamlessly integrating its form with its overall branding standards:

Branded donation form by Formstack.

#5: Break your form into multiple steps.

One key way to secure recurring donations is to collect key information about donors and segment their information into an email list for later marketing. However, the only way to do that is to make sure you get that key information in the first place, and a lot of visitors might be intimidated by a long donation form with a bunch of personal questions. Cushion this experience by breaking your donation form into multiple pages. Use one page to gather information about donation frequency, one to capture personal information, and one to finalize credit card information.

Create beautiful online donation forms in minutes.

With Formstack, you can add many of these design tips without any coding knowledge. Our Theme Editor allows you to quickly and easily modify colors, fonts, sizes and many other elements on your form in an intuitive interface.

Learn more about our Themes and design capabilities (and sign up for a trial to build online donation forms) by clicking the link here!


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Aaron White
Aaron is the Product Design Manager at Formstack, leading the talented group of product designers, front end developers, and UX researchers. Working remotely from Bloomington, Indiana, Aaron can most often be found at the coworking space he cofounded, Cowork Btown.
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