On Wednesday, I helped to facilitate the DC Luminate Online User’s Group.  This month’s theme was an “Online Form Slam” and it was a very useful (and fun) morning of online form best practices. We invited organizations in the room to nominate their forms to be evaluated by the other clients along with a few folks from the Blackbaud strategy department.  We projected the forms onto the wall of our conference room, dined on bagels, and had a great time. The resulting information was so juicy, I pulled together five of my favorite tips from the slam in this post.

Short.

The shorter the form, the better.  This means you should remove all those unnecessary fields (the usual culprits are credit card type and country) and keep things as neat and streamlined as possible.

Be a star.

That Charity Navigator rating is important!  And donors look for it. If you’re a four star rated organization, proudly display that icon on your donation page where folks can see it.  You may even consider putting it right next to the fields that donors will complete to give them an extra reassuring dose of how effectively you will use their donation.  Check out FirstBook’s website for a nice example of this.

Buttoned up.

Use the “submit” button to make a statement.  Consider changing the default text to something that really sums up what the donations will go toward.  The team at Share Our Strength does this well with their button which reads “Donate to End Hunger.”

Be concrete.

Consider putting some text next to each suggested donation amount which corresponds to what a donation of a given size will produce (such as $10 will feed two hungry kids breakfast).  This helps donors get a very concrete idea of exactly the impact their dollars will make!

Sustain.

Don’t forget about sustaining donors. The Project On Government Oversight prioritized monthly donors on their donation forms and saw a 300% increase in folks joining the program in its first year.  Make sure the opportunity to become a sustaining donor is prominently featured in the donate area of your website, and consider customizing a form just for these donors.

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