10 Steps to Maximize Your Donation Page Conversions

… With Proven Storytelling Techniques

You work hard to get your message, your programs, your mission out there and helping people. You’re doing the work and people appreciate it. You’re putting calls to action in all the relevant places.

Hopefully, people are taking up that call to action and showing their support by, among other things, going to your donate page. But what happens when they get there? Are most of them taking that final step of committing to your cause, or are they leaving possibly never to return?

Your Donation Page Conversion Rate and Average Gift Size

Simply put, your conversion rate is the percentage of people who go through with the donation out of the total number of people who land on it in the first place.

And while that’s one key area to consider, the other, just as important is to look at the average amount donated. I.e., are people giving as much as they can, or are you leaving money on the virtual table (or in this case, your donation page)?

Conversion RateAverage GiftTotal Raised

Assuming 500 visitors to your donation page, here is how incremental changes in conversions and average gifts can have exponential results.

While there are entire fields of study around conversion rate optimization that include UX, A/B testing and measurement, we can simplify it to 10 key elements that work.

Starting Assumptions

Let’s assume that I have recently (or not so recently) discovered your work. I’ve been moved by the story I’ve witnessed and I see the value you are creating in my world. You’ve lead me through your impact funnel and, upon responding to a call to action, lead me to your donate page.

If I’ve made it this far, I’m (nearly) ready to donate and likely have an idea of an amount I’m comfortable giving.

Now what?

At this stage, one of three things can happen:

  1. I can change my mind and not give
  2. I can give in line with my original thinking
  3. I can give more than I thought I would.

Of course, your goal is to get me to at least option 2, preferably option 3.

Let’s break down how to maximize those odds by using the power of storytelling…

Storytelling for Increased Donations

  • 1. Don’t give me an excuse to leave

    If someone leaves your donate page, they are much less likely to come back and complete the transaction. So don’t give them any excuse to leave.

    Consider what you might see on an Amazon checkout page.

    Remove all possible distractions, including links to any other part of your website; even if you think they help reinforce your case.

  • 2. Maintain your story

    As much as possible, keep the same look and feel of the rest of your site in terms of logo, color scheme, etc.

    Don’t launch me off to another website, if you can possibly avoid it, as this might make me question if I’m still in the right place and disconnect me from the story that lead me here.

  • 3. Expand the emotional connection with photos

    This is an opportunity to reinforce your story. Keep the oxytocin flowing and help me visualize the future if I take action now.

  • 4. Show me the difference

    How do I know that my donation will be put to good use?

    Can you show me past results?

    Is there social proof from others who have become heroes with your help?

  • 5. Give me a clear call to action

    Don’t assume that just because I’ve made it this far, I will go the rest of the way on my own.

    Give me a clear call to action to become the hero I want to be / can be with your help.

  • 6. Relate the donation to the cause

    The goal here is to help me visualize the impact my money will make.

    Match levels to impact. If at all possible, give me common donation levels and tell me what that amount can do for your cause.

    Don’t worry if it’s not exact, and don’t worry whether each donation will be used in that exact way. Of course, be sure to qualify that these are examples of what donations of this size can achieve.

  • 7. Anchor me in greatest possibility

    Anchoring is a technique that marketers use to adjust the scale on which a potential buyer is thinking.

    Adding a higher number than average donors are prepared to give does two things:

    1. It says that some people believe in your work enough to donate at that level
    2. It applies some peer pressure to raise my own gift, to be more like the other heroes that came before me.
  • 8. Don’t make me think

    Remember that empathy and emotion drive action more than logic.

    Giving me too many choices will slow me down and perhaps make me think that I need to really consider this entire gift further.

    Highlight the “most popular” or preferred option(s) and make it as easy as possible for me to feel good about giving.

  • 9. Remove all friction

    I’ve made it this far… I’ve chosen the level I want to donate and I’m ready to start. Now, remove all possible friction between me and completing this step to becoming a hero.

    • Make sure your form looks and works great on all platforms
    • Minimize the number of fields I have to fill out, and break them out over a few screens/steps. The more I see I’ll have to fill out, the more daunting the task becomes.
    • Let me pay how I want to pay.
      • Accept ALL credit cards
      • Offer the chance to give monthly, quarterly or annually

    Capture the donation first, all additional information after.

  • 10. Make me feel like a hero

    This donation may be the only time I support you or it may just be the start of my hero’s journey with you.

    Although we make our decisions based on story and emotion, we usually back them up with logic. So give me every reason to feel like a hero.

    At the least, be sure to thank me with a message (ideally from the people that my donation is going to impact). If possible, follow up with an email campaign, a phone call or other engagement strategy that lets me know just how much you value my becoming a hero for your cause.

  • Bonus: Give me an easy extra win

    Now that I’ve become a hero and feel great about it, offer an easy way that I can do one more thing to help you even more.

    In e-commerce there is often an upsell: an offer to buy an add-on or something that will enhance your purchase a little further.

    In e-fundraising, you have the chance to get me to take one more action that will help me be an even greater hero.

    These actions can be:

    • Share my support on social media
    • Join you for a donor-only webinar
    • Get matching funds from my employer
    • Fill out your survey

    Whichever option(s) you choose, make sure to make them as easy as possible for me.

How good is your Donation Page storytelling?

Download our Donation Page Storytelling Report Card template to discover ways you can improve your donation page conversions.

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