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10 Effective (and Easy) Online Donation Form Strategies

Find out our favorite online donation form strategies for nonprofits.

Online giving is the fastest, easiest, and most convenient way for your donors to give. Whether it’s contributing to your latest fundraising appeal, making a gift to your annual fund, or sending a donation via mobile device, your donors are opting more and more to make digital gifts.

Since this is true, why not take the time to improve your online donation form? With the right online fundraising software, your team can get started designing intuitive and inspiring giving forms your supporters will love.

Check out some of our favorite online donation form strategies to boost online giving:

  1. Customize your online donation forms to your brand.
  2. Add recurring gift sign up and suggested gift buttons to your donation form.
  3. Include custom fields in your online donation form to capture data.
  4. Leverage visual elements in your donation form.
  5. Accept multiple online donation payment methods.
  6. Make your online donation form mobile-optimized.
  7. Embed your online donation form on your website.
  8. Place “Donate” buttons in emails and on your website.
  9. Create unique online donation forms for appeals and campaigns.
  10. Call on supporters to share your online donation form.

Think your team is ready to revitalize your online donation form strategy? Let’s dive into these expert ideas!

Customize your online donation forms to your brand.

1. Customize your online donation forms to your brand.

One of the best ways for your nonprofit to start collecting more online donations is to brand your donation form to your organization. However, this is also the strategy most nonprofits overlook!

A bland, generic online donation form can have detrimental effects on your online fundraising strategy. When a supporter lands on an unbranded donation page, they’re less likely to give and less likely to give generously.

Did you know donations made on branded online giving forms are on average 30% higher than those made on generic forms? That’s a big giving boost!

Luckily, with the right online fundraising software your team can build beautiful, intuitive online giving forms that are branded to your nonprofit’s identity. Simply customize the color scheme, logos, messaging, and otherwise make the form your own.

Bonus! Looking to find the right fundraising software for your nonprofit? Check out our Nonprofit Software Buyer's Guide for some actionable advice!

Add recurring gift sign up and suggested gift buttons to your donation form.

2. Add recurring gift sign up and suggested gift buttons to your donation form.

Another great way to make better use of your online donation form also has to do with customization. In this case, it’s customizing how your supporters make their gifts.

When your team adds intuitive gift suggestion buttons and recurring gift opt-in sign up boxes, you boost the chances of your supporters completing your form and making an impactful gift.

Take a look at how Organization for International Change uses Salsa’s online donation form publisher to add these helpful buttons to their giving page.

Add recurring gift and suggested donation buttons to your online fundraising form.

When making a gift (or committing to future gifts) is as easy as clicking a few boxes, that reduces the time it takes for supporters to finish your online giving form and increases their chances of completing the donation process

The bottom line? When you make giving more convenient for supporters, they’re more likely to contribute to your organization!

Include custom fields in your online donation form to capture data.

3. Include custom fields in your online donation form to capture data.

Sensing a theme here? The more your nonprofit is able to tailor the giving experience to your supporters and your organization, the more effective your online donation form will be.

This is doubly true for including custom fields on your giving form to capture meaningful data. When you’re able to learn everything you need to know about your community, you can build a better giving experience and hone your online fundraising strategy.

Your nonprofit might include fields asking donors about their:

  • Contact information.
  • Preferred channels of communication.
  • Reason for giving to your cause.
  • Profession and affiliations.
  • Usage of social media platforms.

After this data is collected, it can be seamlessly integrated into your nonprofit’s donor database. With this data on hand, you’ll be able to better know your donors and make more effective solicitations!

Leverage visual elements in your donation form.

4. Leverage visual elements in your donation form.

If your nonprofit truly wants to stand out, be sure to include visual elements on your online donation form to capture the interest of your supporters.

Not only does adding visual elements to an online donation form make it more attractive to givers, but it also does the work of sharing your story without wasting valuable space. Since your form will be read online, making the most of your digital real estate is more important than ever!

You can include powerful images of the community you serve, pictures of your staff or volunteers hard at work, or photos of your most recent fundraising event. Whatever subjects your team chooses, be sure to select high-quality, professional photography to tell your story best.

Bonus! Optimizing your online fundraising form is just one aspect of improving your solicitation process. Learn more about asking for donations the right way with our top rules to follow.

Accept multiple online donation payment methods.

5. Accept multiple online donation payment methods.

For an effective way to substantially increase the number of online gifts your nonprofit receives, your online giving form should always accept multiple forms of payment.

After all, you wouldn’t want to turn away a possible donor because their preferred payment method isn’t accepted. During the online donation form design stage, make sure your form is accessible to as many people as possible by offering various payment methods for gifts.

Your online giving form should accept:

  • Credit cards.
  • Debit cards.
  • eChecks.

Additionally, by offering all of these major online payment methods, you ensure that supporters feel safe making a gift. When their preferred method is offered, they’ll be more likely to trust your team and be confident that their information is secure.

 

Digital Fundraising Checklist

 

Make your online donation form mobile-optimized.

6. Make your online donation form mobile-optimized.

What’s the easiest way to lose out on possible online gifts? Failing to make your online donation form optimized for mobile users!

Every day, more and more of your supporters will interact with your nonprofit on their smartphone or tablet. If they’re unable to easily navigate your form on their mobile device, that will spell disaster for your fundraising goals.

Check out this mobile-optimized online donation form to see what yours could look like:

Optimize your online fundraising form for mobile users.

Be sure to choose an online fundraising software that puts mobile optimization first by allowing your team to preview your form as a desktop, tablet, or smartphone viewer. Show all of your supporters you care by making the giving experience intuitive for everyone.

Embed your online donation form on your website.

7. Embed your online donation form on your website.

The fewer times your supporters need to click to reach your online fundraising form, the more likely it is that they’ll decide to make a gift.

This is why your nonprofit should always embed your online donation form in your website as well as share the link with your community. This way, you’ll have your form front and center when inspired givers arrive on your website.

With Salsa’s online fundraising tools, your team can easily cut and paste the code to embed your online donation form directly on your website:

Add your online fundraising form to web pages and emails with special code.

The fact of the matter is that not everyone behind the scenes at your nonprofit will be tech savvy, so having an easy way to embed your online donation form is crucial. You’ll never have to worry about correctly coding your form or finding a workaround: the solution is as simple as just a few clicks!

Bonus! Looking for even more fundraising ideas? Visit Bonfire to learn their favorite 51 fundraising ideas that your nonprofit can put into practice.

Place “Donate” buttons in emails and on your website.

8. Place “Donate” buttons in emails and on your website.

On a similar note, did you know that it’s possible to add fundraising buttons to everything from your website to your nonprofit's email streams?

Just like adding your embedded online fundraising form code, you can also add “Donate” buttons to emails and web pages. Simply customize your message, copy the code, and add it whenever you feel is most effective.

You can include the button:

  • On your “Ways to Give Page”.
  • In emails announcing new campaigns.
  • In newsletters recapping fundraising and volunteer events.
  • On your homepage.
  • On your mission statement page.

Buttons like these are an excellent strategy for securing gifts from supporters who are inspired in that very moment to contribute to your cause. Once they click the button, they’ll be directly sent to your online fundraising form and can make their gift in no time.

Create unique online donation forms for appeals and campaigns.

9. Create unique online donation forms for appeals and campaigns.

If your nonprofit truly wants to stand out to supporters, consider designing unique online fundraising forms for each of your different campaigns.

While it’s always smart to have a central fundraising form on hand to collect general gifts or contributions to your annual fund, online giving forms for individual campaigns can help boost giving and motivate supporters who are inspired by specific aspects of your nonprofit.

For example, your nonprofit might choose to design a form for:

  • Your upcoming fundraising event.
  • Ongoing, long-term campaigns like your capital campaign.
  • Date-specific fundraising initiatives like #GivingTuesday.

Even if your nonprofit doesn’t choose to publish a new online fundraising form for each of your campaigns, it’s always helpful to have software on hand that makes publishing multiple forms easy. This way, there’s no risk in trying out different online donation form strategies or designs and it’s easier to see which efforts pay off.

Call on supporters to share your online donation form.

10. Call on supporters to share your online donation form.

Finally, our favorite way to make your online donation form more effective: include actionable tools to help supporters share your form when they give.

No matter what, the more eyes that land on your online fundraising form, the quicker it will be to reach your goals. This is why it’s so important to include social sharing tools with your form when supporters donate.

Once a gift is made, they’ll see a call to action that enables them to share the form on social sites like Twitter, Facebook, and more.

You can even include a message thanking the individual for their gift and emphasizing the importance of spreading the word about your cause. However your team chooses to customize this experience, be sure to underscore how vital donor support is to reaching your goals!


Your online donation form is one of the most important tools you have in reaching your fundraising goals. Now that you’ve reviewed our top 10 strategies, you’re ready to start strengthening your form!

If you want to unlock more strategic fundraising tips, check out these additional resources:

Salsa Fundraising Software Demo
Topics: Fundraising