How to optimize online donation forms and reduce abandonment

Many donors start to fill out an online donation form, but leave before completing it for one reason or another. Form abandonment is an unfortunate problem that many organizations face. However, there are several ways to optimize forms and design them to streamline the donating process and get more people to follow through with their intentions.

Looking at abandonment rates
NPEngage said there is a surprisingly high form abandonment rate for most nonprofits - approximately 50 to 70 percent. This means there are quite a few people who come to the site, research the nonprofit, start to fill out the form and then walk away before completing it. If organizations employ Google Analytics, they can see how the website is faring, particularly where and when people leave the site. 

Offering a solution
Whether potential donors are not following through because of outside conflicts or because the form is not easy to deal with, nonprofits need to make the online donation process much smoother and effortless. If they do, people can complete a form quickly and then go about their day. Take the time to invest in better online donation request strategies that will work for the organization. To start, consider a few form design ideas from Donor Digital:

  • Have multiple steps, but make them short and to the point.
  • Offer more engaging content - like visuals, graphics and video - to get people excited.
  • Eliminate alternative paths. Focus on the donation process and provide additional links to informative pages once the process is complete.

When nonprofit organizers optimize donation forms, they should think simple and short. NPEngage suggested having few fields so donors don't get overwhelmed, explaining how their information is being kept safe and getting rid of captchas. Remove review pages, use single page forms and think about mobile optimization as well. It can't hurt to include a short, yet meaningful message about the cause on the form to remind people what the donation means. Making the process quick and easy shows people their time is valued and that their support is going to have an impact.

While it may seem like a good idea to ask multiple questions on the form to get as much information as possible, it's better to be patient. This information will get collected over time if organizations are able to start off a solid relationship with the donor.

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