Top Do’s and Don’ts in Using Online Donation Forms | npENGAGE

Top Do’s and Don’ts in Using Online Donation Forms

By on Oct 11, 2013


Always say thank you

By: Laura Iancu, 123ContactForm

In autumn conferences, projects and all kind of activities seem to flourish. In nonprofits, now, more than ever we need all our forces directed proactively to control the abundance of tasks. Volunteer recruitment, fundraising, campaigns, all are overwhelming nonprofits in this period. Hence, to ease work you have to find some tools to streamline your workflow, and since most of your future developments evolve around donations, you most powerful weapon would be a good donation form.

Online donations seem to be on the raise, according to The 2012 Charitable Giving Report made by Blackbaud, “online giving grew 10.7% in 2012 compared to 2011”. This is only one reason in plus to think about creating a handy donation form. If you choose to create yourself such a form, you will most probably need an online form builder, which is versatile and easy to use. With this tool you can create a form for scratch or use a donation request form template and adapt it to your own needs.  So what do you need to know in order to create a good form?

Top Do’s when creating a donation form

1.       Have a payment integration

To simplify the donation process, it is desirable to have a payment gateway connected to your form. This way donations occur directly, with minimum effort. Be careful to look for the right form builder that synchronizes with the payment processor you already use and it’s more convenient for your nonprofit. Keep in mind to look for discounts, nonprofits often benefit from special fees when using software like this.

2.       Use branding elements

Customize your form so that it will reflect your image. It is important to be perseverant and leave a visual mark to your potential donors. Being remembered and associated to certain images and colors can remarkably enhance the relation you have with your public. People are more likely to donate to a cause they already heard of and seen in certain situations. In this way your marketing can be fluent and efficient.

3.       Keep it simple

Short forms are more appealing. They reduce the amount of time and effort which your donor has to dedicate in order to complete the process. Discuss the fields you will introduce in the form and keep only the essential ones. Plan this on the long term and bear in mind the opportunities you will have to harvest such contact information. Don’t make the name and email fields required, maybe you will have donors who wish to remain anonymous.

4.       Use the database/ export them into a CRM

Look at the donation as an initial contact with a future supporter of your cause. One benefit of online donation forms is that you have a strong database with your donors which can be exported in certain CRMs. Ergo, they can be used to send them newsletters, emails and keep them involved in your cause. You can even offer them the possibility to volunteer for charity event or other activities. Research this database, it can be a good way to find new perspectives for your nonprofit.

Top Don’ts when creating your donation form

1.       Don’t ask personal or too much information

People like to keep certain things personal. That’s why having a form full of questions can scare your donors. Maybe some of this data can be helpful in your marketing strategy but it’s best to lose a bit in targeting your public than to lose many donors because you asked for their age, religious interests or other personal information. Moreover a long form will visually imply a complicated process. If you absolutely have to collect certain info, it is best practice to break the form in multiple pages.

2.       Stop spamming

Having access to donors’ contact information doesn’t mean you have to send them daily emails and weekly newsletters plus a few comments on social media. Be cautious and never let your donor feel you violated her privacy. A good alternative is to send an initial thank you email for the donation and after a couple of weeks send an informative newsletter so that the donor can see an actual purpose to its gift.

3.       End blind mailing  

Since donation forms can be easily send via emails and included in large campaigns, one of the important tips in this area is to verify your database. Don’t send donation forms to unreachable people, it is a use of bad data that can be unproductive both in matters of costs and time invested.

These are just a few basic tips and trick to get you started on the right foot with your online donations. Do you have any other good or bad use cases for an online donation form?



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