We recently explored the concept of the micro-yes, and the series of micro-yeses necessary to achieve the Ultimate Yes (registration). The micro-yes breaks down the P2P registration process into a series of split-second decisions where the person can either say “yes” and continue through the process or say “no” and not sign up. Micro-yeses occur when one chooses to open an email, clicks on a link to a website, decides to register, and then continues through each step of the registration process.

Charity Dynamics just released a report that takes a deep dive into the registration form flow itself.

Their 2015 Walk Registration Benchmark Study evaluated seven organizations, 6,000 local walk events, and 700,000 potential participants over the summer of 2015. Using funnels set up in Google Analytics, they followed users through the six-step registration process that many of the top event fundraising organizations are currently using.

The data presented in this study suggests where some of the micro-yeses are happening, and where something is getting in the way of the yes and leading to registration form abandonment. According to the report, the Ultimate Yes of registration is achieved just 41% of the time. The website visitors who were studied already made several micro-yeses to make it to the registration form, such as clicking to visit the website or finding an event near them, but 59% of that group still did not feel the risk outweighed the reward and decided not to register for the walk.

Walk Registration Benchmark Funnel

The most significant drop off occurred after step one, with 19% of potential participants failing to login or identify themselves as a new participant. The second step, where the visitor determines how they will participate also saw a 14% abandonment rate.

Contrast these findings to Charity Dynamics’ 2013 Registration Benchmark Study, where it was found that the participation options step saw a whopping 39% drop-off, with another 9% abandonment after the login step. Despite these differences, the end result of each study was essentially the same with 40% and 41% going on to participate in a walk.

This may indicate that over the past few years walk registration form abandonment has become more spread out throughout the form steps, and varied aspects of our registration forms are losing more potential participants throughout the process.

I spoke with study author Jett Winders and he expressed a need to address registration form abandonment more fervently.

Most people who try to register don’t finish. We should be looking for strategies to get the 59% of people who start registration to come back and register, or take some other action for the organization. These folks are obviously interested, but for some reason they decided somewhere in the registration process that they don’t want to go forward. Investing in learning more about and remarketing to these folks should be high on our list. This is a key segment of people we are not talking to directly. — Jett Winders

Winders is also astounded by the loss of revenue caused by registration form abandonment.

The median program we studied had about 25,000 visitors in a 30 day period to the site. An improvement of just 1% in conversion would have resulted in 250 additional participants.”

If those participants achieved fundraising of $67 each, the average amount raised by walk participants according to the 2014 P2P Fundraising Study, that 1% improvement in just one month would have resulted in $16,750 in additional revenue.

In the study, Winders advises us to be more aware of our own data. After all, benchmarks are great, but your own data is even better! Utilize Google Analytics to track registration form funnels and find out where participants are dropping out of your process. Conduct A/B tests to determine if making changes to the form increases micro-yeses being made at that step of the process. If you start this tracking and testing right after registration becomes available to website visitors, your learnings will soon lead to more registrations. According to Winder’s math, for every 1% you increase conversion rate each month, you could raise tens of thousands more dollars.

To create easier conversion pathways and decrease abandonment, the study strongly suggests that our forms should be more participant-centric, not organization-centric. This means taking a hard look about what we ask and why we ask it.

Let’s forget about the fact this is a registration form, and remember this is actually an avenue a superhero takes when they want to change the world. Instead of paving that road with data collection, construct an experience that reminds your hero about the difference their participation will make around every turn!


Shana Masterson has been a fundraiser since 2001. In 2014, she joined Blackbaud as a senior consultant. Her unique skill set as both a peer to peer fundraiser and a technologist allows her to focus on maximizing peer to peer campaign revenue through success planning, road mapping, communication calendaring, configuration recommendations and more.

Prior to joining Blackbaud, Shana led the American Diabetes Association’s online fundraising and communication strategy for the national special events team. She also worked for the National Brain Tumor Society, the American Cancer Society and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Connect with Shana on Twitter or Linkedin.

Get nonprofit articles, best practice advice, fundraising ideas and invaluable industry reports and webinars delivered for free!