After analyzing over 80+ non-profit websites, I found that when it came to online donations the majority of non-profits used CanadaHelps. It was either by embedding a form directly on their site or taking the user to an external page.

Now I don’t know how much control CanadaHelps allows but based on some sites it seems to offer enough customization to allow for a nice checkout experience. Although not the best, good enough then just dumping the user to a long, scary-looking form!

The best examples were sites that took the time to ensure the checkout experience was seamless. After all, this is a key step in the donation workflow. It would be a shame to lose a donor at this point because of a scary checkout experience. 

So — you’ve done a great job building trust with your visitor through blog posts, sharing past campaigns and explaining how funds are used. How can you build on this success? 

Below I share some well-established UX design guidelines to ensure users will successfully complete your donation workflow.

Improve your design

The worst experience during my research was getting redirected to a generic website or form. The best nonprofit websites continued the user’s journey by providing more information about the organization, kept the design clean and on-brand.

Display key information

When you purchase a product on the internet you can read reviews, view multiple images, and read FAQS prior to entering your credit card info. Once you’re ready to buy, e‑commerce sites help remove friction by providing information that might cause you to abandon your cart like addressing security or displaying their return policy. 

Contrast that to a typical donation page, most sites just direct a user to a long-form where you enter your details and the amount. Most don’t even provide much information about anything. It feels very impersonal. Including images, information about how the money will be used, how it has been used in the past would go a long way to keep the visitor moving towards donating. 

Include FAQS

If a customer is unsure about donating to your cause, they may leave your site without converting. You need to convince them otherwise. And, this is where Frequently Asked Questions” might come in to help. The purpose of this section is to answer common questions that minimize anxiety, get donors excited and moves them towards donating faster. 

Keep your donation forms short

Eliminating unnecessary fields requires more time, but the reduced user effort and increased completion rates make it worthwhile. Remove fields that you can collect at a later step. Every time you cut a field or question from a form, you increase its conversion rate. For example, if possible, it might be worth it to delay asking for the person’s address after they have donated. You could prompt them for this info and other information when they are trying to print a donation receipt.

Don’t force users to register 

Not all people want to find themselves on your email list. Reduce the friction and get more donors to complete their donation by not requiring them to register or sign up.