The Art and Science of Building a High Converting Donation Page
A donation page is your best shot at winning support for your cause, especially since more people are opting to donate online now.
Here’s the challenge, though. The moment a visitor hits upon your page, you’re up against their two most valuable resources: time and money.
So how do you get your audience to let their guards down and buy into your cause within seconds?
Turns out you can do it if you’ve asked a friend for a favor before!
The design of a compelling donation page AKA the elements of a favor
Think of the last time you asked your friend for a favour and got a yes. You likely remember being articulate, subtly persuasive, and grateful during the interaction.
Your donation page needs to be no different. Here’s how you can build a high-converting donation page with these 3 core characteristics of a favour:
- Being articulate: Tell the story not the summary
In a popular behavioural study, potential donors were presented with two kinds of request letters and asked which one prompted them to donate.
Rokia, a 7-year-old girl from Mali, Africa, is desperately poor and faces a threat of severe hunger or even starvation.
Her life will be changed for the better as a result of your financial gift.
With your support, and the support of other caring sponsors, Save the Children will work with Rokia’s family and other members of the community to help feed her, provide her with education, as well as basic medical care and hygiene education.
(The letter also included a picture of Rokia)
Food shortages in Malawi are affecting over 3 million children.
In Zambia, severe rainfall deficits have resulted in a 42% drop in maize production from 2000. As a result, an estimated 3 million Zambians face hunger.
More than 11 million people in Ethiopia need immediate food assistance.
Felt a little something for Rokia? So did most participants in the study. Rokia earned twice as much money as compared to a group of over 3 million children.
When the participants read Rokia’s story, they clearly saw a child in need (even literally, thanks to the picture!). They empathised with the vivid description of her struggles. And that emotional connection triumphed largely over numbers (a primarily logical appeal).
That’s the combined power of specificity and emotion working its magic. Leverage this approach, and you’ve got yourself an irresistible donation page!
Insights from Rokia’s story for your donation page:
1. Be generous with the details of your story. Triviality triumphs when it comes to hearts!
2. Make your appeal sound as one-on-one as possible
3. Avoid emphasizing numbers and statistics as they naturally trigger the logical rather than emotional part of the brain (donating is an emotional act)
4. Highlight the impact your audience’s donation will have
5. Include emotionally-captivating images. A picture is worth a thousand words after all!
Now that you’ve set your best foot forward with a story, you need to ensure that your donors are able to respond to your appeal effortlessly.
This is where the design of your page needs to make a mark.
2. Subtle persuasion: Drive action by offering a smooth experience
Let’s suppose a customer reads Rokia’s story on your page the same evening she has made an expensive purchase. Now, she still wants to help out, but the only button on your page reads “Donate $500 to Rokia now”. She’d take a step back, wouldn’t she? She feels for Rokia, but practicalities kick in and she exits your page with a heavy heart. This is a typical lose-lose situation you might want to avoid.
Once a potential donor is convinced of your cause, every element on your page needs to nudge them towards the ultimate goal.
The essential elements of a donation page:
- A clean form that asks (only) the right questions: Very few of us like filling out forms. Make this mundane process easy for your donors by asking only for the important details. Infact, 2 in 3 donors trust organisations based on how their data is collected and handled. So keep your form crisp and transparent for best results!
- Multiple donation options: Give your donor the ability to choose the amount and how often they wish to contribute. If you’re raising funds for multiple campaigns, let your donor pick their favourite one. Assure them that they’re in complete control of the gesture they’re about to make. One pitfall here, though, is decision fatigue — limit the number of options to under 7 so your donor doesn’t feel overwhelmed.
- Multiple payment gateways: The explosion of Saas has led to a large number of payment processors. Ensure that your page supports at least widely used apps like PayPal, Google Pay, and Paytm.
- A prominent call-to-action: Make your donate button hard to miss. An actionable copy like “Donate now” or “Donate to help <your cause>” placed in a prominent space on your page should do the trick!
Form builder software and WordPress extensions like WPForms can come in handy here as they:
- Offer a wide range of fields to choose from
- Provide templates tailored to specific purposes
- Integrate with a wide range of payment processing apps
- Integrate into your page offering a seamless experience for the donor
3. Showing gratitude: Delight your donors, that’s a big win for you too!
Some donors are motivated by altruism, some by social pressure, some others purely by the cause, but every donor expects a reward. That’s why gratitude is a very significant component of a donation page.
Feature your best donors on the page:
A great reward for a donor is social recognition. Dedicate a section of your donation page to celebrate their contributions and express your gratitude publicly.
This can benefit you in more ways than you’d think. The public gesture:
- Strengthens your relationships with donors
- Boosts credibility in front of potential donors
- Offers social proof that your cause is indeed worthy of donations!
Two other effective ways to express gratitude are continued exceptional service and the good old personalised thank you note and gift package they can remember you by!
To sum up, a successful donation page blends the art of storytelling with the science behind effective persuasion. You need to emotionally move your audience with a cause, and then guide them to making an effect.
Here’s hoping we helped you plan a donation page that captivates, converts, and celebrates in style!