The 2016 M+R Benchmarks study reveals something surprising: there is no correlation between email solicitation response rates and email open rates or click-through rates. There is, however, a significant correlation between response rates and donate page conversion rates. That is to say: your donate page is an important factor in response rates to online campaigns.

What, then, makes for a good donate page?

  1. Visibility. Ensure that a link or button to your donate page is highly visible from your homepage and from every page on your website. Donate buttons should graphically stand out from the rest of your website’s text—by color, size, font, positioning—and should employ a simple call to action such as “join,” “support,” or “donate.”
  2. Attractiveness. The donate page itself should employ a simple, attractive, and professional design that harmonizes with your organization’s branding and with the design motifs of your website. Use effective—and if possible, emotional—graphics and images. Many CRMs and online donation services host landing pages on their own servers. Ensure that you customize these sites to look like your own. Test multi-step versus single-step donation forms and ensure that you follow the form design best practices enumerated here.
  3. Security. Use visual security indicators on your donate page to instill confidence in the donor’s mind. NextAfter has shown that this is a significant factor affecting conversion rates. Similarly, display your Charity Navigator rating on your donate page, if applicable.
  4. Integration. Integrate information on your donor club and planned giving program, but not at cost of…
  5. Simplicity. Do not overwhelm the donor with too much text. Employ your most compelling, mission-centric, 2-3 line elevator pitch and nothing more. Don’t forget to remind the donor that his donation is tax-deductible. Similarly, don’t overwhelm the donor with too many requests for information. Balance your need for information capture (address, email, and possibly phone) with the need to reduce friction. Don’t ask the donor to opt into or out of 12 email newsletters, to decide if he wants to volunteer or not, or do anything other than donate.
  6. Boldness. Be bold in your ask. Don’t list small pre-set donation amounts or your donors will choose them. Consider starting donation levels at $100. Do not go below $50 and don’t offer more than 3 or 4 choices. Always, of course, enable the donor to input a custom amount.

Taken together, these elements of a good donation page have one aim: to drive donations.

Simplicity is king because it means the donor doesn’t have to think too much. Removing friction in online donations makes it easy for donors to give and it means increased revenue for your organization.