With nonprofit donations shifting to the online space, it’s important to make sure your site is ready to accept charitable gifts. Implement these tips and you will provide a streamlined and secure experience for donors to contribute to your cause on your website.

Many people's hands, painted to shape a big heart together.

Five Practical Tips For Successful Online Fundraising

Now more than ever, online donations are essential for nonprofit organizations. If you’re new to the idea of online charitable giving or are looking to increase the number of donations you receive through your website, this article will help you provide a good user experience to foster your fundraising efforts.

Donor centric strategies put your website visitors first, and ensure they can easily make a gift while using a streamlined process. These online methods go beyond the idea of general gift-giving. According to 101fundraising:

“Being donor centric means paying attention to how your donors behave and making smart decisions based on those observations.”

Meet Your Donors Where They Are

Fundraising letters are quickly being replaced with fundraising emails. Emails are quicker and less expensive for your nonprofit organization when compared to snail mail appeals.

Digital approaches results in online donations. Your donors prefer to give online, and trends show that web-based giving is increasing.

These statistics from Nonprofits Source are powerful:

  • Overall revenue from online fundraising grew by 23%.
  • 54% of donors worldwide prefer to give online with a credit or debit card.
  • Custom-branded donation pages nested inside a nonprofit’s website raise 6X more money.
  • 51% of high-wealth donors ($200K+) prefer to give online.
  • In the past year, mobile giving donations have increased 205%.

It’s easy to see that having a good process for online donations is crucial. Here are some practical tips to make sure the experience is effortless for giving on your website.

Provide a Compelling Story About Your Mission

Donors give because they want to be a part of your story and your impact. An updated website is only part of the equation.

Compelling imagery and deliberate word choices will further engage your audience, especially if you implement donor segmentation and build specific journeys that will target different parts of your audience.

Most importantly: don’t forget to ask for a donation! In the nonprofit world, asking for a gift isn’t crude or ill-mannered. In fact, people benefit psychologically from philanthropic giving.

There are many reasons a person will donate, and according to Network For Good, the most important reason given is: “I know there is a need for the nonprofit’s mission in my community and I know it does good work.” This donor knowledge comes from you sharing consistent information about your organization’s impact and outcomes.

Monitor the Path of Your Website Visitors

Did you know that you can look at the flow of your website visitors to see how they find your site and then what links they click? This is called the user flow.

By analyzing the user flow, you can begin to see:

  • What pages on your site are attracting visitors
  • What action your visitors take next
  • If and how they get to your donation page
  • Where visitors exit or leave your website

If your ultimate goal is to get a website visitor to make a donation, does your website foster that path? Is it easy for your donors to go from Point A to Point B, or do they get lost easily?

Combine analyzing the user flow with a donor centric strategy and you will have a website that makes it clear and easy for people to give to your organization.

Prioritize the Donation Form Experience

Avoid Pop-ups

Pop-ups for newsletters get in the way for someone who wants to donate. Yes, you may want to grow your email list, but a pop-up will distract a donor from making a gift.

“Even if your site-wide pop-up is an email subscription form, it shouldn’t appear on your donation form page. In fact, you should have as few distractions as possible on that page. When someone is about to give, the last thing you want is to interrupt them or direct them to another page.”

Simplify the Donation Page

Because a donation page may be the main goal for your user flow, you can drastically simplify this experience so there are no interruptions. Here are some ideas for streamlining this page:

  • Disable the sidebar
  • Make sure there are no other buttons or calls-to-action
  • Hide distracting links in the header and footer (like social media buttons)

Keep Donation Forms Simple

If an online form is too long or overpowering, a visitor may not be compelled to finish the task. Here are several practical design tips to make sure your donors will fully complete their donation.

  • Try not to overwhelm your donors with too many form fields.
  • Arrange your fields from easiest to hardest.
  • Enable auto-fill to help donors save time.
  • If many form fields are necessary, split the form into multiple pages so donors can focus on one section at a time.
  • Provide a progress bar for longer forms so donors know what to expect.
  • Make sure your donation form runs seamlessly on mobile.

Make Your Online Fundraising Secure

Last, but certainly not least, you want to make sure you’re providing a secure financial transaction.

Use a trusted payment provider or third-party service that can integrate into your site. Without this, you risk credit card information of your donors getting into the wrong hands.

If you try to handle your online donations yourself, people may be less likely to give because it may seem like their information won’t be safe. Beyond that, you could be at risk for legal trouble and your site won’t be Payment Card Industry (PCI)-compliant.

Here at Lucid Fox, we can help integrate a donations platform directly into your site so it’s a seamless experience for your donors while also being safe and secure.

Also, your website needs an active SSL certificate (your URL will contain “https”). Without this certificate, your form will trigger a warning in the browser, which may cause donors to abandon a donation.

By adopting a donor centric strategy and paying attention to the overall user experience of your website, you can aid in the success of your charitable giving strategy for your website.


  1. Not relationships VS results - relationships FOR results, Rory Green, https://101fundraising.org/2014/04/relationships-vs-results-relationships-results/ Go back up: [1]
  2. The Ultimate List of Charitable Giving Statistics For 2018, Nonprofits Source, https://nonprofitssource.com/online-giving-statistics/ Go back up: [2]
  3. The Surprisingly Smartest, Donor-Centric Fundraising Strategy, Claire Axelrad, https://bloomerang.co/blog/the-surprisingly-smartest-donor-centric-fundraising-strategy/ Go back up: [3]
  4. The Secret to Getting People to Give, Carrie Saracini, https://www.networkforgood.com/nonprofitblog/how-to-get-donations-14-reasons-why-people-donate/ Go back up: [4]
  5. Why Should Donation Forms Never Have Pop-ups?, Taylor Waldon, https://givewp.com/why-should-donation-forms-never-have-pop-ups/ Go back up: [5]

You might also like...