20+ Effective Donation Form Best Practices for Nonprofits in 2024

Profile picture for user Firas Ghunaim
Firas Ghunaim

The growth of virtual nonprofit fundraising has been undeniable in recent years. Pandemic restrictions and the rise of online fundraising software have led more nonprofits to explore digital fundraising opportunities.

When it comes to assessing the popularity of online giving among donors, the statistics speak for themselves. Online gift revenue grew by 19% over the past year. Plus, about 39% of donors who donated online to a nonprofit in a given year made a repeat gift online to that same nonprofit the next year.

What does this mean for your nonprofit? If your organization doesn’t have a streamlined way to collect online donations, you could be missing out on a major recurring revenue boost.

Your organization’s donation form is the foundation of your online fundraising efforts. As such, it should be optimized for driving donations, with a streamlined user experience and intuitive design. Let’s take a look at the basics of donation forms and how you can use yours to grow support for your cause.


What is a Donation Form?

A donation form is a digital tool that allows nonprofits and other fundraising organizations like schools and churches to accept donations online 24/7. It provides a convenient way for donors to fill in their contact and payment information using a secure payment processor that keeps their information safe.

When your organization has a well-designed donation form, you can gain access to benefits for both your nonprofit’s team and its donors. Your donation form:

  • Gives donors a way to give anytime and anywhere: When your supporters feel inspired to give, you should offer them a way to contribute no matter where they are, what time of day it is, or what device they’re using.
  • Enhances your nonprofit’s branding: When you brand your giving form with your nonprofit’s logo and color palette, you associate your giving process with professionalism and unity. Donors will feel assured that their gifts are going to the right place.
  • Expands your audience: Online donation forms are easily shareable. You can incorporate your giving page into your social media posts, email newsletters, and website blog posts.
  • Provides access to donor data: Using a robust online fundraising platform, you can track donor data as supporters complete their online donation pages. This includes information about your average donation amount and the highest volume donation day of the week.


Example of Donation Form


You must ensure that your form is optimized from every angle to help you see the best fundraising results. Read on to explore how you can implement design best practices to ensure your donation page is as effective as possible.


Donation Form Best Practices for Your Nonprofit

These tips cover a wide range of donation form aspects, from the technology you use to build the form to how you construct the journey donors take while filling out the form.


1. Use a Quality Online Fundraising Platform

First, choose the right digital fundraising platform to create your online donation form. If you don’t have a web designer on staff, find a platform that’s user-friendly, even for beginners.

Your online fundraising platform should offer features like:

  • Customizable templates: Platforms like Donately offer customizable donation form templates built to drive donations.
  • Integrations with other software: Integrations allow your team to transfer data from your online giving form to other platforms like your constituent relationship management (CRM) system and email marketing platform.
  • Additional fundraising functionality: Your online fundraising platform should offer functionality for launching unique fundraising initiatives such as peer-to-peer fundraising and text-to-give.


Example of a fundraising platform dashboard showing donation metrics and options for customization.


2. Embed Your Donation Page into Your Website

When supporters visit your website, your online donation page should be immediately accessible. Embed your donation form into your website to allow donors to contribute without visiting a third-party giving platform.

Place prominent buttons and links to the donation page on your homepage, website menu, about page, and other relevant pages. Making your donation button stand out on your website can result in a 190% increase in donations.


3. Simplify Your Donation Form

Keep your donation form simple to maximize supporter engagement. Streamline your form by:

  • Only asking for necessary details, such as donors’ names and payment information.
  • Minimizing the number of images or distracting design elements.
  • Eliminating your website’s navigation bar on your giving page to keep supporters focused on the donation form.


Example of a simplified donation form with minimal fields and a clean design.


4. Use A/B Testing

A/B testing is the process of creating two different versions of your online giving form and assessing which version drives more donations. Test different elements such as images, taglines, color schemes, and suggested giving amounts to determine which is most effective.

Conduct A/B tests by sending different versions of your giving page to different groups and analyze the results.


Diagram showing the process of A/B testing for a donation form.

Related: The Ultimate Usability Testing Guide (Free Download)


5. Reduce Load Speed

Ensure your online donation form loads quickly to keep visitors engaged. Reduce load speed by:

  • Compressing and optimizing images.
  • Optimizing website code by removing unnecessary characters.
  • Caching your donation form page.
  • Minimizing the number of videos, GIFs, and complex elements.


Example of a fast-loading donation form on a nonprofit website.


Learn more about how INP and Core Web Vitals impact your search ranking and website performance.


6. Make Your “Submit” Button Unique

Use a unique and compelling “submit” button such as “Give Now,” “Donate Now,” or “Make a Donation” to keep donors in a charitable mindset.


7. Collect and Assess Donor Data

Using a robust online fundraising platform, you can access a comprehensive dashboard of donor data and insights. Identify trends such as:

  • Who your most active donors are.
  • The most popular day and time for donations.
  • Popular and average donation amounts.
  • The effectiveness of certain campaigns.


Example of a donor data dashboard showing various metrics and insights.


8. Use Compelling Images

Feature one or two compelling images on your donation form that showcase the people you serve and the impact of your work. Use original images rather than stock photos to create a genuine connection with your audience.


9. Use Emotion to Tell Your Nonprofit’s Story

Use a paragraph or two on your donation form to explain your organization’s mission, the audience you serve, and the purpose of your fundraising efforts. Emphasize the crucial role that donors play in achieving your goal.


Text on a donation form explaining a nonprofit's mission and impact.


10. Describe How You’ll Use Donors’ Contributions

Tell donors how their contributions will be used. Whether funding your mission in general or a specific project, be specific and accurate in your description. Follow up with donors after they contribute to keep them updated on your progress.


11. Highlight Matching Gift Options

Raise awareness of matching gifts by integrating tools like Double the Donation. Use your giving form, confirmation page, or thank-you emails to encourage donors to get their gifts matched.


Example of a donation form highlighting matching gift options.


12. Promote Recurring Donations

Promote recurring giving options on your donation form to provide reliable, steady support for your organization. Offer an option for donors to turn their one-time gift into a recurring donation.


13. Offer Suggested Donation Amounts

Include suggested donation amounts on your giving form to guide donors and rely on social proof. Review your average donation amounts to create practical suggested giving amounts.


Example of a secure payment processing tool for nonprofit donations.


14. Use Secure Payment Processing Tools

Use a secure donation processor to reassure supporters and keep their financial information safe. Look for tools that are PCI-compliant, built with nonprofits in mind, and easy to set up.


15. Allow Multiple Payment Options

Offer a variety of payment methods such as credit card, debit card, ACH direct deposit, Stripe, and PayPal to accommodate different donor preferences.


List of multiple payment options available on a donation form.


16. Ensure Your Donation Form is Mobile-Friendly

Optimize your donation form for mobile devices by using a mobile-responsive template, ensuring images load properly, using a readable font, eliminating pop-ups, and keeping the design simple.


17. Make Your Donation Page Accessible

Ensure your donation form is accessible to all visitors by using clear page structures, including alt text with images, ensuring sufficient contrast, and using a straightforward design.


Example of a mobile-friendly donation form that adjusts to fit different screen sizes.


18. Brand Your Donation Form

Boost brand recognition by including your nonprofit’s logo, color palette, and imagery on your online donation page. Ensure consistency in visual elements throughout the form.


19. Promote Your Giving Form

Promote your donation page using social media, email newsletters, website blog posts, and direct mail to reach a wider audience and reinforce your message.


Example of a nonprofit promoting their donation form on social media.


20. Incorporate Your Donation Form into Fundraising Initiatives

Use your donation form in text-to-give fundraisers, peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns, and in-person or virtual events to encourage instant donations.


21. Follow Up with Donors

Express gratitude to donors by rerouting them to a confirmation page, sending automated receipts, and following up with personalized thank-you letters or emails.


Example of a thank-you email sent to donors after a contribution.



Top Donation Form Examples

Case Studies of Successful Donation Form Optimization

To illustrate how effective donation form optimization can drive results, let’s explore some real-world examples of nonprofits that have significantly improved their online donations.

Case Study 1: World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

Challenge: WWF needed to increase online donations and streamline the donor experience.


  • Simplified form fields.
  • Prominently featured recurring donation options.
  • Ensured mobile optimization.
  • Used compelling imagery.


  • 20% increase in recurring donations within six months.
  • 15% improvement in overall conversion rates.
  • Mobile donations rose to 40% of total online donations.


WWF's optimized donation form featuring a simplified layout and recurring donation options.


Case Study 2: Save the Children

Challenge: Save the Children aimed to boost online donations and improve donor engagement during critical campaigns.


  • Personalized donation form with dynamic content.
  • Conducted A/B testing.
  • Displayed real-time donation counters and donor testimonials.
  • Enabled one-click donations for returning donors.


  • Average donation amounts increased by 12%.
  • Donor retention rates improved by 18%.
  • Campaign-specific donation pages had a 25% higher conversion rate.


Save the Children's personalized donation form with dynamic content and social proof elements.


Case Study 3: American Red Cross

Challenge: The American Red Cross needed to optimize their donation form for emergency response situations.


  • Added urgency messaging and progress bars.
  • Included multiple payment options.
  • Incorporated a matching gift lookup tool.
  • Highlighted transparency and security.


  • 30% increase in donations during emergency appeals.
  • Matching gift revenue increased by 25%.
  • Enhanced donor trust and loyalty.



As you can see, there are plenty of ways you can optimize your nonprofit’s online donation form to ensure it’s an effective fundraising tool. Any time you want to make a change to the form, be sure to do so in a way that improves the experience for donors and encourages them to revisit your form or become recurring supporters.

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can improve additional aspects of your online fundraising strategy, check out these additional articles:

By following these best practices, you can create a donation form that not only attracts but also retains donors, ensuring sustained support for your nonprofit's mission.

Get in touch with our team of experts today to optimize your nonprofit's donation form and maximize your online fundraising efforts.