How is Zeffy free?
How is Zeffy free?
Zeffy relies entirely on optional contributions from donors. At the payment confirmation step - we ask donors to leave an optional contribution to Zeffy.
Learn more >
Fundraising Tips

How to Create a Donation Page That Actually Works: 14 Tips

December 26, 2023

You may wonder why taking any time on your donation page is important. After all, the donor has already clicked on your website, so you've got their gift, right? The fact is donation pages can encourage donors to give more or send them to another website.

In this article, we'll delve into creating an effective donation page, including choosing the right fundraising tool and which elements to add. We've also included a few examples to help you develop a successful donation page of your own.

  1. Choose the Right Tools for Your Donation Page
  2. Make Your Online Donation Page
  3. Make Your Donation Page Inspiring and Informative
  4. Keep Branding Consistent
  5. Focus on the Donation Page Design
  6. Add Calls to Action
  7. Add Donation Amounts that Fit Donor Segments
  8. Ask Custom Questions
  9. Offer Ways to Increase Donor Gifts
  10. Create a Sense of Urgency
  11. Develop a Confirmation Page
  12. Test Your Donation Process
  13. Share Your Donation Form
  14. Monitor and Evaluate

Bonus :

What is a Donation Page?

Nonprofits can use donation pages to promote their mission, solicit gifts, and collect donor details.

An online donation page typically supports a cause, individual, program, or project. These pages can be embedded in an organization's website, integrated into social media, and shared via emails.

Donation pages often include the following elements:

Create your donation page now for free

1. Choose the Right Tools for Your Donation Page

An effective online donation page requires quality online fundraising software. When choosing the right tool for your donation page, there are several items you'll need for a successful donation process, including:

Secured Giving Process

Online donations are the most secure form of giving, but some donors remain concerned about the safety of their personal information and finances.

Most online fundraising platforms use a secure token and fraud monitoring to ensure safe donations. Before purchasing fundraising software, ensure the online platform follows PCI-compliant standards and does not store, use, or sell your personal data.

Add these safety features to your donation pages to educate and address donors' concerns.

Mobile Friendly

51% of nonprofit website visitors use a mobile device. If your online donation page isn't mobile-friendly, you will lose out on collecting donations from over half of your website viewers. Luckily, most online platforms take care of this for you.

Many online donation platforms, like Zeffy, offer additional mobile-friendly tools to help with online and in-person campaigns. Visit our website to learn more about features like our Tap to Pay app that allows nonprofits to collect donations, sell event and raffle tickets, and sell products from an iPhone.

Customizable Online Donation Form

A customizable online donation form makes it easy for nonprofits to collect crucial information from potential donors. Fundraising software that lets you customize your donation form helps you ask unique questions that fit your organization's and donor's needs and interests.

Zeffy platform to customize online donation forms

Zeffy allows nonprofits to add a form title, select a language, and add descriptions about their campaign. Organizations can also add a campaign target and donation thermometer to inspire donors to give more.

After that, there are several ways to continue your donor form customization, including:

Compare the 11 best websites for collecting online donations →

Various Donor Payment Options

Giving cash and check payments is less common. Today's donors appreciate more payment options and are more likely to give when offered.

The online donation process has made giving directly from your bank account and with credit cards more secure. Many online platforms offer additional ways to give, like Apple Pay and Google Pay, to make the online donation process even more accessible.

Donor payment options

Zeffy accepts the following payment methods:

Watch Zeffy demo on fundraising

Affordable Platform Fees

There are many features that most online fundraising software provides, but the cost of these platforms can vary. Other fundraising platforms may say they're free but require donors to cover processing fees. Make sure to do your due diligence when researching these platforms. Zeffy is the only 100% free online fundraising tool!

Comparison of fundraising platform fees

Automated Donation Receipts

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires nonprofits to send tax receipts to donors who give $250 or more. Donation page best practices say to send acknowledgments for all donations within 48 hours.

Search for online donation tools that send automated tax receipts after each donation to help provide transparency and strengthen donor relationships. Make sure to set up your account correctly to enable this feature. After that, don't forget to send additional personalized acknowledgments to strengthen relationships with donors.

Donor Database

An online payment processor with donor management allows nonprofits to collect vital details to help build and strengthen donor relationships. Finding a tool that lets your organization add notes and segment donors based on demographics, program and project interest, and ability to pay is best.

Zeffy donor database

Search for fundraising software that allows you to import donor contacts and past transactions and automatically add new donor data. Zeffy will enable you to add notes to donor files and segment donors with tags.

Zeffy also makes it easy to record and track offline donations, view reports, and access receipts of all your donor and fundraising campaigns.

2. Make Your Online Donation Page Easy to Find

Donation pages are only effective if you can find them, so you must ensure they are easy to find. Donation pages embedded into your website can also build trust with supporters since they aren't sent to another website to donate.

Donors also give more when they don't have to search for your donation page. Donation page best practices suggest limiting the number of clicks to your donation page. Adding a donation button to the top of your website helps donors find it easily. A big and colorful donation button will also help limit donors' frustration.

Create your donation page now for free

3. Make Your Donation Page Inspiring and Informative

A successful donation page creation process takes more than the right tool. Donation page best practices advise you to create a donation page that uses storytelling and images to encourage donors to give more. You can do this by providing vital information like your organization's mission, program details, and impact.

An inspiring donation page

Inspiring Visuals

Many donors respond to visuals. Sharing program details and impact with pictures, videos, and infographics have a greater chance of inspiring donations. It's crucial to add these visuals to your donation page design and ensure you develop branded donation pages to help share your organization's story across platforms.

Compelling Storytelling

After visuals, compelling stories are the best way to inspire donors. Beneficiary stories that share your organization's impact have a greater response rate than those using facts and statistics. Compelling stories of children or animals touch donors' heartstrings.

When sharing these stories, don't forget to add a call to action at the end so donors know how they can help. Finally, ensure your stories match the visuals included in your donation page.

Make it Informative

Visuals and stories must give donors what they want. Donors are looking for transparency and trustworthiness in charities.

One of the best ways to do this is by adding suggested amounts with details and images about what their donation can provide. By sharing how donations have an impact, you'll have a better chance of building a solid foundation to form a long-term relationship.

Watch Zeffy demo on fundraising

4. Keep Branding Consistent

Consistent branding is crucial in keeping donors' trust. If you typically place your nonprofit's name, mission, and logo at the top of your donation form, keeping it that way is essential.

A branded donation page is a simple way to develop trust with donors. Here are some additional ways to ensure brand consistency:

Brand Guidelines

Your organization's brand guidelines cover your logo, color palette, typography, and imagery and can be a reference for donors and third-party fundraisers when creating their own donation page.

Consistent branding

Messaging and Tone

It's critical to define your brand's voice and tone. Whether that tone is formal, friendly, or informative, you must maintain this tone throughout donor communication.

Consolidate Your Branding Material

Keep all organization logos, images, infographics, and templates in the same location. Ensure everyone has access to the most up-to-date marketing materials.

Training and Guidelines

Provide training and brand guidelines to all staff, volunteers, and third-party partners. Monitor and evaluate fundraising pages and campaign materials to ensure everyone stays on brand.

Update branding when necessary and communicate changes to key stakeholders.

Remain Consistent

Make sure your organization's branding remains the same across all communication channels, including:

Feedback and Monitoring

Send surveys to donors and volunteers about your organization's branding. Update branding issues when necessary.

Create your donation page now for free

5. Focus on the Donation Page Design

Branding isn't the only critical part of your donation page design. Website banners, compelling images, and page layout will impact donor conversion.

Catch Donors' Attention Right Away

A website banner with your organization's logo, colors, and powerful headline can make a great first impression. Donors will want to read more if you can catch their attention immediately.

A unique banner for each campaign can help with your organization's and campaign's branding. It's also a simple way to share your organization's mission.

Use Visuals to Share Donor Impact

Compelling images, videos, and infographics should share donors' impact on your organization's mission and those who receive support.

A compelling story has a better chance of catching readers' attention if it comes with a picture. Images of beneficiaries receiving services, 360-degree videos of your location, and pictures of donors and volunteers at an event help create a sense of community. This feeling of community excites more people to act.

Add Testimonials

Testimonials help educate prospective donors about your organization's mission and cause. They can also help develop trust.

After reading a review, most people are more willing to try a new service or product. Nonprofits can ask donors and beneficiaries to leave testimonials on their website to offer similar feedback.

Beneficiary testimonials also help share the impact of your organization on real individuals. Your nonprofit can highlight this impact with testimonials sprinkled throughout your donation page.

Donation page design

Leave White Space

White space does not always mean white. It's actually a term designers use to describe the open spaces on your website. White space can be a powerful design choice.

Whitespace can help with the balance of your webpage. It can also help highlight specific design elements and direct website visitors where you want them to look.

Take a second look at your current donation page and see if you're using white space effectively.

6. Add Calls to Action

Calls to action are clear and compelling and create a sense of urgency. They are meant to persuade supporters to give donations or take other steps.

Your call to action should be written with action verbs and words that provoke emotion, like:

You must add a call-to-action to online donation pages, ads, social media, emails, and other campaigns. You should also add a call-to-action to your organization's confirmation page.

7. Add Donation Amounts that Fit Donor Segments

Customizable donation forms allow nonprofits to add suggested donation amounts to fit their donors' interests and ability to pay. Visit your donor database to research past campaigns and see how much donors' gave.

Best practices recommend starting with a suggested amount that was received most during your last campaign and adding increasing amounts to your form to encourage donors. At the end of your campaign, evaluate donor data to see if they increased their gift amounts.

You may notice various groups of donors based on these amounts. Take time to segment these donors and send each group a separate donation form.

New Donors

It's crucial to match suggested donations to specific fundraising events and campaigns. At the same time, new donors may be more likely to give when offered lower donation amounts. Include suggested donation amounts as low as $5, $10, or $20.

Annual Donors

Annual donors have given to your nonprofit for more than two years. These donors have a greater chance of giving more significant amounts in the long run. Create a donation report of these annual donors and segment them by donation amounts. Once segmented, you can consider higher ranges like $250, $500, and $1,000.

Recurring Donors

Recurring donors may give lower amounts monthly that add up to significant amounts. If you're struggling to find suggested donation amounts for these donors, you can start with $1 a day or $30 a month.

Watch Zeffy demo on fundraising

8. Ask Custom Questions

Customizable donation forms allow nonprofits to ask their supporters questions. You must use your donation form to collect donor contact information, but other questions can help inspire action and develop solid relationships.

Be sure to keep these questions to a minimum. The trick is getting information from your donors but not discouraging them. Ask enough questions to get the necessary details, but make sure it doesn't take too long to answer.

How Did They Hear About You?

First, you should ask your donors how they heard about you. The answer to this question can help you learn more about their interest in events and specific programs. This question can also help you collect vital connections between donors that can be built upon in the future.

Volunteering

Many of your donors will be willing to volunteer for events or program activities. You should have a separate page on your website listing volunteer opportunities. Your donation form should also include a space for donors to add a checkmark or state what volunteer opportunities they want to learn about. This gives you a better idea of which donors you can contact regarding these opportunities.

Newsletters

Monthly or quarterly newsletters are excellent communication tools for sharing updates on programs, events, and other critical information with donors. You can simplify your communication process by allowing donors to check their interest in receiving your newsletters and creating automated workflows to send them out.

9. Offer Ways to Increase Donor Gifts

A call to action on your donation page should encourage donors to take the next step, but a few additions to your donation form can double their gifts and inspire long-term donor relationships.

Increase donations

Corporate Giving Programs

Many corporations offer matching donations as perks for their employees. Many people with these employee benefits are unaware of them.

Your nonprofit can help educate donors and increase donations with tools like Double the Donation. Platforms like this provide an updated list of companies that match their employees' donations.

Recurring donations

Many donors would love to give more to their favorite charity but can't afford a single large sum. Recurring donations let donors give every month to increase the size of their gifts.

Zeffy allows recurring donors to change the amount of their monthly gifts, update their credit cards, or cancel their monthly donations on donor dashboards.

Nonprofits must find ways to strengthen relationships with recurring donors, like acknowledging each donation and finding ways to communicate with them via emails, phone calls, and in person.

Create your donation page now for free

10. Create a Sense of Urgency

The best way to increase donations is to create a sense of urgency on your online donation form. You can do this with compelling stories, visuals, and other donation page elements.

Highlight Urgent Needs

Communicating urgent needs is critical for an effective donation page. In cases of environmental disasters or emergency relief needs, this urgency is organic and evident to most donors.

During these occasions, use storytelling, videos, and images to explain the situation and share how donations can directly address it.

Matching Gifts

Corporate matching gifts are an excellent way to double donors' gifts. Nonprofits can also connect with major donors and sponsors to request a significant gift to start a matching campaign. The purpose is to encourage donors to give more to meet a financial goal.

Fenimore Chamber Orchestra found a donor willing to match up to $25,000. Donors who gave to this campaign doubled the impact of their gifts if they donated by October 15, 2023.

Fenimore chamber orchestra matching gift

Event-Driven Urgency

Combining your fundraising campaign and donation page with an upcoming event, holiday, or giving day can help encourage urgency. Events and holidays have specific days, so combining your campaign with those activities drives people to donate before or during the event.

Donation Thermometers

Another way to create a sense of urgency on your donation page is with a donation thermometer. Zeffy adds a donation thermometer to every donation campaign. Donors who see the impact of their gift in real life have a stronger connection to the organization and campaign and will likely give again.

Queen Anne Elementary donation page with a donation thermometer

11. Develop a Confirmation Page

After supporters make online donations, they expect a confirmation page and tax receipt. Online donors are well-informed and expect more from organizations than they used to. A confirmation page is a crucial step in donor communications.

While creating your organization's or campaign's donation page, you must create a donation confirmation page or email that thanks and encourages them to take additional steps to support your nonprofit. Zeffy lets you customize confirmation pages for multiple forms.

There are several elements you should add to your confirmation page, including:

Thank You Message

An honest thank you message will emphasize donors' impact and show your appreciation. If your organization can personalize this message, you can strengthen relationships with donors and have a greater chance of receiving more gifts in the future.

Donation Details

When developing your confirmation page, make sure to include the donors' gift amounts, dates, and other relevant transaction information.

Impact Statement

Donor impact is the primary reason your supporters give. Highlighting their donation's immediate and future impacts will ensure their connection to your organization and increase their donation amounts or regularity.

Social Sharing and Engagement

Your donors' impact doesn't stop with their gift. Encouraging donors to share their gifts via social media will help spread the word about your organization's mission and inspire others to give.

Provide easy-to-use buttons and links to share donor gifts with their online community.

Tax Information

While donors may not primarily give because of tax deductions, they appreciate when organizations provide information they can use for tax purposes. Include your organization's Employer Identification Number (EIN) and other tax details on your confirmation page.

Additional Ways to Engage

Confirmation emails have high open rates, so don't waste this opportunity to inform donors about upcoming events, matching campaigns, newsletters, or volunteer opportunities! Use your confirmation page to create a sense of urgency and offer them more chances to support their favorite charity.

Watch Zeffy demo on fundraising

12. Test Your Donation Process

Before making your donation page public, you must test your online donation page and form to ensure there are no mistakes. Double-check text and links by running through the donation process as donors would.

You should also perform A/B testing to compare various marketing techniques. Take time to create different versions for the following:

13. Share Your Donation Form

Fundraising events and campaigns each have their own donation pages. Nonprofits can embed these pages into their websites and share them via social media, email, ads, and peer-to-peer campaigns.

Social Media

Social media gives nonprofits a free marketing tool to connect with current and prospective donors. Sharing donation form links on social media posts helps increase nonprofit website traffic and online fundraising efforts.

Social media is a visual tool, so be sure to use compelling images, videos, and infographics to show the impact of donors' gifts. Facebook and other social media platforms also allow nonprofits to add a donate button and link their donation form.

Email

Email is one of the best ways to connect with current and prospective donors online. A powerful subject headline can increase email open rates, and supporters can read a compelling story and learn more about your organization's mission and campaign. Nonprofits can also embed an online donation form into their email, making it easy for donors to give immediately.

Google Ads

Google Ads lets nonprofits promote their mission and cause to more people, increase website traffic, and track their marketing efforts. You can create images, videos, and content to share your organization's mission and fundraising needs and link to various donation forms.

Before you begin, ensure you understand your organization's potential donors and use keywords that match their interests. You must also create exciting headlines and campaign descriptions to grab readers' attention.

501c3 nonprofit organizations can apply for Google Ad Grants and receive $10,000 of in-kind advertising each month.

Peer-to-Peer Campaigns

Fundraising is all about relationships; more people give to nonprofits when a friend or family member recommends it. Nonprofits that use peer-to-peer campaigns to share their donation page have a greater chance of converting people into donors and have the opportunity to build long-lasting relationships.

Nonprofits can create a donation page for peer-to-peer campaigns and ask supporters to create their own donation pages. Organizations can then send program updates, images, and beneficiary stories for supporters to use.

Donors can also personalize their donation page with a story about how they learned about the organization and pictures of them at the nonprofit facility or fundraising event. Donors can share their online donation page and collect donations from their community.

14. Monitor and Evaluate

Your donation form is a simple way to collect crucial donor information, like gift amounts, interests in events and programs, and personal connections. At the end of each campaign, you must create reports to help evaluate the success of your campaign and determine how best to communicate with various donor segments.

Create your donation page now for free

4 Real-Life Donation Page Examples That Work

Donor Questions Hospice Society of the Columbia Valley

The Hospice Society of the Columbia Valley assists individuals and families by helping them work through the death and grieving process. Hospice is vital for the patient, their families, and caregivers.

This organization relies on volunteers to help with many programs and activities. To ensure they receive enough support from their donors, they've included a list of volunteer opportunities on their donation page, including:

Hospice society of the columbia valley donation page with custom questions

Hudson County Complete Streets

Giving Tuesay donation page for Hudson County complete streets

Hudson County Complete Streets makes communities safer, more accessible, and better connected. The organization's Giving Tuesday donation page uses imagery to share its mission.

Giving Tuesday is an important giving day for many nonprofits. The Hudson County Complete Streets created images that drew attention to their donation page and educated donors about their mission.

Global Albanians Foundation

The Global Albanians Foundation helps reconnect young Albanians to their roots and others in the diaspora. The foundation's Find Your Roots campaign helps:

Adding a peer-to-peer campaign to its donation page allows donors and volunteers to create their own donation page, share the foundation's mission with their community, and raise more funds.

Belknap Mill Society - Powerhouse Theatre Collaborative

Powerhouse theatre collaborative donation page

The Powerhouse Theatre Collaborative provides theatrical programming to the Lakes Region. Event tickets don't pay for everything the organization needs, so donors can give to help pay for the following:

The Theatre Collaborative has included suggested donations ranging from $25 to $250, along with one-time and monthly donations to encourage donors to help provide these items.

Wrapping Up

Creating an effective donation page can take more time than you think. Developing a deeper understanding of your donor groups, understanding how marketing techniques can drive donations, and choosing the right fundraising tool are all crucial steps in this process.

As you research fundraising tools to find the right one for your organization, remember to look beyond their list of features. Donors give to make actionable change. High platform and processing fees can discourage your donors from giving. Zeffy is the only 100% free fundraising platform. Visit our website to learn how to create a free donation page in minutes. 

Call to Action: Sign up and start fundraising for free today

Keep reading about donation pages and fundraising:

5 online donation form best practices

How to turn your website visitors into donors

11 Best Donation Websites (free & paid) for fundraising

Peer-to-Peer fundraising: The Definitive guide