An online donation form is basically an online form that allows one to receive donations/payments.
Ideally, it should not be a multi-step process; just a simple way to accept donations. For some, this process (the online form) is usually on their website, but without a payment integration. If you want to be able to collect payments on your website, you will need an online form with payment integrations.
There are numerous form software that can do this and in this article, we will discuss how the basics of an online donation form and an online donation form builder.
Customization is one feature that you should not be willing to compromise - you need to be able to leave a good first impression and for an online donation form, this can be done with customization.
While it is necessary to use a form builder that allows for form customization, it is more important to focus on the design of the donation form. A well-designed donation form keeps the spotlight on the primary focus - converting the form visitor to a repeat donor.
Elements like form colours, button placements, form width, etc. should all be taken into consideration.
According to Statista, as at February 2017, mobile accounts for 65.1 percent of all web traffic in Asia and for 59.5 percent of all web traffic in Africa. The smartphone market has also experienced a boom in recent years, since mobile internet is available in most regions.
With this in mind, in order to create a very effective donation form, one must create a form that works well on computers and mobile devices.
The form software (builder) should make it easy to create forms, preferably with most of the hard work already handled by the platform. Let’s say you decide to use a form builder like Formplus, we handle the ‘unpretty’ side of form building and let you easily create forms by dragging and dropping fields onto a blank page. The builder in itself is user-friendly as you don’t expend too much time and energy in creating simple forms.
Once the form has been created, there is also the part that has to do with how easy it is for donors to fill and make payments via the form. The form itself must be easy to use, beautiful to look at and responsive on every device, including mobile.
This is so important, probably the most important tip there is for a donation form. Why? Because donors may abandon your donation form if the form filling process takes too long.
A one-page donation form is quick and straight to the point; your respondents should be able to see all fields at a glance and even estimate how long it will take.
Some of the important fields include donor’s name, contact details and payment information. Any additional information should not be required.
Your donation form needs to maintain that connection with your brand, so that you don’t lose trust among the donors.
You will need to use an online form software that lets you create forms that match your branding and that includes colours, logo, and font.
An example of a branded donation form is seen in this photo, this Non-profit has incorporated their logo into the donation form and applied their color scheme.
Instead of going with traditional submission button text like “Submit”, try to be more unique and creative with the text and let it be in line with something related to donating.
By creating a donate button with a unique language, you are giving the donors another (final) reminder that their money is going to make a lot of difference to a cause they care about.
Examples of such texts are phrases like “Donate Now!” or “Make your Donation” to create a confirmation that matches the donor’s action.
Gathering support for some causes might require that you publish the names/signatures of confirmed supporters.
You can do this by creating a donation form that collects online signatures; you must explain to donors what they are consenting to and what their signatures will be used for.
This is especially in line with GDPR and what’s considered as best practices for data collection.
Being able to receive online donations would go a long way in helping any nonprofit’s chances of boosting their funding. It means they would be offering current donors and potential donors more ways to give.
These potential donors will factor in the ease and security your offer with your payment options and will be more willing to part with their money once the process is seamless.
Rather than restrict your methods of seeking donations to one platform, an online donation form can be used across various communication channels.
An online donation form can be shared via Email, Twitter, Facebook or embedded in your website. This would help you meet your donors where they are as they can easily follow the link.
An online donation form builder simplifies how you collect data from your donors. This is especially useful if it integrates well with other tools you use, the information you gather can then be filtered to your database.
Having this information can help you change a lot of things; including your fundraising strategies,your donors’ preferred communication channels, etc. You can also track how your campaign is performing and the results. The donation forms can also be used to collect metrics like the number of completed donations and visitors to your donor form.
Before picking out a form builder for any purpose, you need to ask a few questions and be sure that your final choice meets all the set criteria. Here are a few things to look out for in a donation form software.
Knowing a form software’s capabilities will give you an idea of the types of donation forms you can create with it. Some builders have limited functions while others may offer a wide range of features for example, some form building software can work offline while others have a wide selection of payment gateways.
Make a list of the features your non-profit requires the most before you even start your search. Top of the list should be; number of responses you can receive, how well the builder integrates with your current apps, the level of simplicity/difficulty that form creation will require etc. In the end, you will be able to cross off form builders that don’t meet your specifications.
Donation forms require payments right? These days, before anyone can make online payments, they need to be sure that the payment channel is secure i.e the website, the payment gateway itself.
Now, it’s advisable to use a form building software with PCI DSS compliant payment gateways. Why? Because donors can make payments without creating an account and they help you do all the work without getting your hands dirty (you don’t have to handle sensitive data like card numbers).
Having a donation form with proper security ensures that you and your donors’ information stays secure.
The all-so-important factor: cost. Usually, online form software list their prices on their websites but some may need you to state your use case and then a cost is generated for your organization. Whichever way, you must make sure that you understand all the cost implications.
In cases where the software is free, you may be required to pay for additional features like technical support widgets, etc.
You should always, always, always, ALWAYS choose a software provider that offers good technical support. It is the gift that keeps on giving because whenever you have problems, a reliable support team can help with troubleshooting and fixing.
Take some time out, read reviews from other players in the Non-profit space and then make a decision on the form software with the best level of technical support you can find.
By incorporating these essential elements of an online donation form, you are giving your donors a great experience and streamlining your end of the process at the same time. A great donation form is a win-win for everyone involved!