5 Ways to Close the Donor Abandonment Gap

John Killoran December 7, 2016 Nonprofits

While most of your nonprofit’s resources go towards acquiring new donors, the hard part doesn’t end after donors reach the donation page. In fact, 60% of the donors that land on your donation page ready to make a gift won’t complete the process.

Why are over half of your potential donors leaving your donation page? The common cause of donor abandonment has to do with inconvenient or overcomplicated donation forms.

Luckily, there are ways you can lower your nonprofit’s donor abandonment rate. In this article, we’ll go over five ways you can improve your online donation forms:

  1. Give your donors multiple ways to donate.
  2. Keep your donation form simple.
  3. Provide donors with donation buttons.
  4. Show that your donation page is secure.
  5. Don’t ask too many questions.

If you’re still learning about online donation forms, check out @Pay’s actionable guide.


1. Give your donors multiple ways to donate.

Header that says, Give your donors multiple ways to donate.
If you only accept donations through one channel, your donation form won’t be convenient for every donor that wants to make a donation.

When you provide donors with more ways to give, they can pick the donation process that makes the most sense for them. They will be less likely to leave the donation form.

For example, imagine a donor that wants to make a donation on his phone. He lands on your donation page, but the form is too hard to fill out in his mobile device. He leaves the form intending to return when he can access the form on his computer.

Your nonprofit can keep this donor from giving up on your donation by providing donors with mobile ways to give. If your nonprofit wants to reduce donor abandonment, you need to use online donation software. Donation software can help you accept donations in different ways such as:

  • Online donation forms
  • Text-to-give
  • Email donation buttons
  • Mobile applications

Giving your donors more ways to donate also means making sure all your online donation forms are mobile-responsive. When a donation form is mobile-responsive, it will adjust to fit a smaller screen. Donors will have an easier time viewing and filling out the form.

Donors will have fewer obstacles when the form is easier to view, giving them fewer reasons to abandon the form.

When you provide donors with more ways to give, they can choose the donation process that fits their needs. If your donation process is convenient, then donors won’t need to abandon the page. Plus, more donation channels mean more potential donors, which could increase your nonprofit’s fundraising.

The key point: Choose the right software vendor, to give your donors more options. When they can pick a convenient way to give, your supporters won’t have a reason to abandon your donation form.


2. Keep your donation form simple.


Header 2 - Keep your donation form simple.

In your donors’ eyes, keeping a donation form simple means one thing: eliminating complications.

When donors make a gift, they’re expecting the donation process to be clear and easy to understand. If your donation process isn’t easy to understand, donors are more likely to abandon it.

If you want to create a donation form that has a simplicity that will appeal to your donors, here are a few things you should keep in mind.

Stick to one page.

Long donation forms are common in the nonprofit world, but they lead to donors abandoning the page. If a donation form takes a long time to complete, you can be sure that donors are not going to want to spend that much time making a donation.

When you keep your donation form to one page, donors can easily see what information they have to complete and gauge how long it will take them. Plus, a one-page donation form will keep your nonprofit from adding too many fields.

Feeding America Portal

In the image, you can see an example of a one-page donation form that has all the required fields but is still short and to the point.

Reduce the number of steps.

A donation form with a lot of steps gives the donor more opportunities to abandon the page. When a donor has fewer steps to complete, the donation process is quicker and requires less effort on the donor’s part.

In fact, when donors have fewer steps, they not only finish the donation but also come back to make repeat donations in the future.

If your nonprofit wants to reduce the steps in your donation form, start off by having some optional steps. Of course, information such as payment details is a must.

Unnecessary—but useful—information, like the donor’s birthday, should be part of the optional fields.

Additionally, a common step found in donation forms is account creation.

Setting up an account may seem beneficial to your nonprofit because it means that donors can complete future donations faster. However, when you make account creation a required step, some donors won’t want to remember another password and will find the step unnecessary.

Your nonprofit is better off making this step optional. That way, the donors who want to create an account and save their information for future use can, and the donors in a rush can skip it.

Additionally, if your nonprofit likes the idea of saving donors’ information to make future giving easier, consider going with a software provider that can save a donor’s information without an account.

Eliminate confusion.

Sometimes steps can be a little unclear, and confusion can make a donor abandon the page. If your donors are struggling to figure out how to complete a step, they will likely get frustrated and leave the donation form.

To avoid complicated steps, it’s a good idea to test out your donation forms before they go live to see if any part of the process is confusing or unclear.

If you do find any complicated steps, they will probably confuse your donors as well. So, you’ll want to address and clarify those areas before rolling your form out to your donors.

The more donors struggle to figure out how to complete a step, the more likely they are to get frustrated and abandon the donation form.


The key point: Take time to really evaluate your donation process. Are there too many steps? What fields can I make optional? These questions will help you create a process that reduces the number of steps.


3. Provide donors with donation buttons.


Header 3 - Provide donors with donation buttons.

Sometimes donors need a little direction. Picking out a donation amount is something that donors aren’t always sure of. Without the right research, donors don’t know how much is enough to support your cause.

That’s why donation amount buttons are so important. A successful online donation form usually includes some preset donation amounts to give donors guidance. For example, here is a donation form with preset buttons:

Feeding America donation page.

When you place donation buttons on a donation form, they can benefit your nonprofit in more ways than one. For instance, donors are more likely to give more when amount buttons are present.

Donors will see the donation amounts and think that everyone is using them. In order to feel like they’re giving the right amount, they’ll want to use the donation buttons, too.

Plus, donation buttons can make the donation process go quicker. Donation amount buttons can be used in emails to speed up the process. Take a look at the image below:

Circle image of someone on a phone donating money.

Your nonprofit can include donation buttons right in your emails. When a supporter clicks on the button with the amount they want to give, they will be redirected to the donation form with one step in the process already completed.

The takeaway: Start incorporating donation buttons into your donation forms to make the giving process run smoothly.


4. Show that your donation page is secure.


Header 04 - Show that your donation page is secure.

When donors make a gift, security is a main concern. Donors want to be confident that their information is protected before they make a gift.

Having a donation form that isn’t secure will make donors apprehensive about giving to your nonprofit.

Donors are going to abandon your donation form if you don’t have a secure donation page.

The amount of security for your donation form will really depend on the software provider. Get familiar with your provider’s security measures, and make sure that donors clearly see that a form is secure.

To show that your form is secure, put the logo of your software vendor or the company that processes payments somewhere near the confirmation button on your form. In the image, you can see that just below the donation amount buttons, it shows the vendor that enables the payment.

Circle image Mobile Web Donate Chiropractor

If your nonprofit is still looking for online donation software, make sure you pick a provider that is PCI-compliant. PCI compliance means that your provider follows a strict set of guidelines created by the Payment Card Industry to ensure you and your donors’ information stays safe.

Software vendors also offer other levels of protection like 2-factor authentication and tokenization to keep your donors’ information secure while guarding from fraud.

The takeaway: Don’t let donors second-guess your donation form. Pick a secure software vendor and include their logo on your donation form.


5. Don’t ask too many questions.


Header 05 - Don't ask too many questions.

As a nonprofit, you probably want to collect as much donor data as possible. However, your nonprofit also needs to be considerate of your donor’s time. The more questions you include on your donation form, the more time it’s going to take for the donor to complete that form.

In addition, some donors won’t want to give you too much of their personal information. If you do want to ask your donor some questions, then consider what questions are most important.

While these questions may vary depending on your nonprofit, here a few questions that are appropriate to ask your donor:

  • How did you find out about our nonprofit? Knowing how a donor discovered your nonprofit will help you figure out what marketing strategies are working.
  • What is your age/birthday? A donor’s age can be helpful when segmenting your donor base into different categories.  
  • What is your email address/phone number? Sometimes this information may be necessary for payment processing. If it’s not, then this a good question to ask because it allows your nonprofit to stay in touch with the donor.

While asking questions gives you more information about your donors (which could lead to better fundraising campaigns), questions are only strictly beneficial in moderation.

If your nonprofit does decide to include additional questions, then make sure that those fields are optional. That way, a donor can fill them out if they want to, or they can skip to the required steps.

The takeaway: While questions can be used to collect more information on your donors, don’t make these field required because some donors may find the steps unnecessary.

If your nonprofit wants to make the most out of your online donations, start by tackling these common causes of donor abandonment. Once you’ve created a better online donation process, your nonprofit can begin to reach its full fundraising potential.



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