Reducing donation form abandonment | npENGAGE

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By on Feb 6, 2013


How are you currently trying to increase your online donations? Get more people to your site through SEO and advertisements? Send out newsletter appeals and donation solicitations? Adding a prominent call to action on your website? These are all great tactics, but chances are your nonprofit is losing a lot of people right on your donation form page.

Most nonprofit websites see a donation form abandonment rate of around 50% – 70%. Yes, that’s more than half of the people who have found your website, gotten interested enough to click the “donate now” button and looked at the donation form decide not to make that donation.  Probably more than half of the people who signed up for emails from you, read your appeal, clicked the link in the email to help out with a donation, but decided not to fill out the donation form.

Now consider this math:  If you have a 60% form abandonment rate, improving your donation form to have only a 56% abandonment rate would give you a 10% increase in online donations! Think about how much work it is to get 10% more donations by getting more people to your site. And likely there are some easy ways you can reduce form abandonment

Your numbers might be better (or worse). Hopefully by now you have Google Analytics installed on your site and are tracking basic goals like donations. (If not, here are some blog posts to help you with Google Analytics).

If you set up funnels with your goals, go to the funnel visualization report, and look at one of your donation forms. You can see how many people arrived at the form and what percentage completed the form. You might want to sit down for this. You’ll probably see a lot of hard-earned almost-donors leaking out of your funnel.

Google Analytics funnel report


If you have a 2 page donation form, you can see how many people dropped off at each step. (And if you’re using a 2 page form you might be seeing a 50-70% drop off at each step – ouch!)

If you don’t have funnels set up, just go to the content reports in Google Analytics and find your donation page (the page people fill out, not the “thank you” page). You can still see how many people exited (which means they did not make the donation).


Google Analytics exit rate


Once you know your benchmark, you can start trying to improve your forms.

7 Tips to Reduce Donation Form Abandonment

  • Include as few fields as possible – if the form looks long, more people will give up
  • Avoid a “review & confirm” step in the donation process – some people see these pages and think they are receipts and do not press the button to confirm
  • Include a prominent security badge – give a feeling of safety to reduce barriers to completion
  • Remove captchas – captchas have their place, but donation forms are rarely that place. Don’t make people jump through hoops when they are trying to give you their money
  • Include a short but compelling message on the form – remind them why they should complete this form and donate
  • Use single page forms – traditionally, single page forms have outperformed multiple page forms. However, this may change with more mobile users. Speaking of which . . .
  • Make sure your forms display well on mobile devices – more people are doing more actions on mobile phones. Make sure your forms are friendly for them

Every nonprofit website is unique with different design, different audience and different business rules, so not all of these may be possible or effective for every site. So look at the abandonment rate when you make any changes to see what the effect has been. Ideally, try to make one change at a time to a high traffic form and observe the result. If it is positive, implement the change in as many forms as possible, get a new baseline, and then try another factor.


Alissa Ruehl has been using Google Analytics since the first weeks it came out as a Google product. Through consulting, webinars, and conferences, she has helped hundreds of people at a variety of organizations and companies navigate Google Analytics and use it to refine their online marketing and website effectiveness. She currently uses her analysis skills as a senior user researcher on the Blackbaud products side, but she loves re-immersing herself the world of website analytics for her monthly Google Analytics blog posts. The only thing Alissa likes talking about more than data is food, but that’s a whole other blog.

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