State of donation pages

Insights from CauseMic report that assessed 152 nonprofits

“83% of donation page visitors leave without ever making a gift, so take every opportunity to simplify the process!” says CauseMic. The Portland-based digital marketing agency recently published the Non-Profit Donation Page Assessment report

“We set out to make an online gift to 152 nonprofit organizations to evaluate the experience as a donor. Due to insecure websites, faulty links, and page timeouts (to name a few snafus), we were not able to make a contribution to 18 organizations. We successfully made a gift to 134 nonprofits.”

Here are my learnings from the report:

Number of Clicks

In how many clicks do you complete your entire donation process?

In CauseMic’s research of 152 nonprofit organizations, 58% of nonprofit donation pages took 3 clicks or less to complete a donation. The remaining 42% of donation pages had 4 clicks or more, with some organizations choosing to separate the donation process into different pages, asking a few questions at a time.

Ideally, the entire donation process should get over in three clicks.
Donor wants fewer distractions. Besides for every action don’t initiate a new page.

We/Can(mobile) is an excellent example. The donation amount, donor details all happen in one instance. For the payment, it goes to the gateway, and once it is over, in the third instance you get to see the Thank You page.

Required Fields

This is the most common practice. Nonprofits want to collect every goddam details from a donor. The irony is nonprofits love to capture data but beyond that, they have no clue how to use them to obtain business objectives. “75% of respondents say that how to measure and report data is a challenge, and therefore are unable to do so because of time and resource constraints,” according to the Salesforce nonprofits 2020 trends report.

According to CauseMic: “44% required 11 or more required fields to complete a donation, which included a wide range of non-essential information. Asking how the donor heard about your organization, what they might appreciate about the organization, and what inspired them to give are all great follow-up questions that hinder the donation process at this stage.”

The job of a nonprofit is to get the donor money with ease.
So don’t ask stupid questions, stick to your objective, and remove the data fields that make no sense.

Recently Ramy Nagy said, “Your website is not a project but it is a program.” He also added that the website should be dynamic. This also means that the donation page needs to be updated and test regularly. 


Your donation page should have one call-to-action: donate.

After a user clicks “donate,” remove the website navigation bar, don’t share a compelling video, promote volunteer sign-ups, or advertise upcoming events until after the donation is collected. These elements are simply distractions at this stage in the journey and lead to donor abandonment.

“35.8% had at least one distraction on their donation page, including options to redirect through the navigation bar and even an advertisement to support another nonprofit! Not kidding.”

Nonprofits are also getting confused and even confusing donors with “One Time Donation” and “Recurring Donation”. In one of my earlier stories I had tried addressing the issue (Recurring Giving and Nonprofits) but the TruthAboutTea campaign from Oxfam India explains the confusion further.

Besides Oxfam India wanted to know whether I hold an Indian passport or Foreign passport. I initially thought that it was a joke.

Another common behavior of nonprofit organizations is asking to subscribe to newsletters during the donation process.

Can we do one thing at a time?

Value Proposition

A strong value proposition communicates the mission and focus of the organization in roughly 4-7 sentences.

The report also found out that 50% of nonprofit organizations had weak value propositions prominently featured that did not inform the donor how a gift would impact the organization.

The majority of nonprofits (56%) did not mention the donor or choose to highlight them on their donation page. It’s most common to talk about the mission and achievements of the organization, but including the donor in that narrative is more effective. This can be as simple as including “you have the power to bring clean water to those in need,” or “you can help alleviate poverty.”

On your donation page, these four things matter when it comes to value proposition:

  • Why should I donate, and what is the campaign: You don’t have to write the entire story. Write a quick summary, keep it simple, and address why one should donate. Wikipedia’s latest donation campaign in India is an apt example.

  • How will the donation make an impact: As a donor, I want to know if I donate, how will the money be used. You can always enclose links to your blog for further information.

  • How safe in the process: Safety is the key issue for online donations. Make sure you put the necessary information or showcase how the donation is secure.

  • Donor narrative: The majority of nonprofits keep their work and donor at the center of communication. It is a communication strategy with the intent that people drive a community or a cause. If you are not doing then it is time to access. 

Mobile friendly

This goes without saying that optimise your donation page for smartphones. Unless you are living on Mars. 

According to the report: “While 83.3% of nonprofit donation pages were optimized for mobile, but 16.7% were only available on desktop, adding an additional barrier to the check-out process for those who prefer to give on the go.”

Additionally, web and mobile are two different devices seeking a different experience. Both devices are different and that means you will have a different layout. But that does not mean you give up the value proposition on mobile, just because people tend to have a belief that mobile is for a quick experience. For reference see the below image:

“14% of nonprofits in this study removed their value proposition from mobile. You might think people just want a quick mobile experience, and so it makes sense to limit the information provided on the mobile page, but the value proposition — the reason to give — is essential,” said The State of Donation Pages. The report highlighted how nonprofits can make donation pages effective.

I am a fresher to the world of online fundraising. But here is simple food for thought:

“Think like a donor and not like a fundraiser/marketer.”