Consider the following scenario: a potential donor has come across an advertisement for your nonprofit, followed the link, and is now getting ready to pledge a gift. However, after being redirected to your donation page and looking at the long list of fields in your giving form, they ultimately exit your website without having given anything. Your organization has just lost a potential donation right at the last step of the process. 

This exact sequence of events happens more often than you might think. While some nonprofit professionals assume that donations are secured by the time a supporter lands on that donation page, the reality is a bit more complicated. As it so happens, there are many components to a donation page that affect a donor’s likelihood of going forward with their donations. 

In this short guide, we will explore the following essential features to minimize bounce rate and help guarantee donor support:

  1. Device Optimization and Accessibility
  2. Multiple Payment and Giving Options 
  3. Integrated Processing 
  4. A Secure Payment Processor

Whether you’re optimizing your donor page for Giving Tuesday or hoping to improve the general experience for donors, these resources should help take your online giving process to a new level. 

1. Device Optimization and Accessibility

When your organization was in the process of constructing and launching your donation tool, you were more than likely operating from a desktop or PC device. However, when supporters and visitors load up your website, there’s a high probability that they could be navigating through a mobile device. 

Indeed, in this day and age, it’s no longer feasible to have a website that cannot properly load on an array of different devices. This is especially true for younger supporters like Gen Z or Millennial donors, whose mobile usage far outpaces their activity on PC or desktop mediums. 

Make absolutely sure that you have optimized your content for all donors, regardless of what device they are using to access it.  

Apart from device optimization, another factor in overall accessibility is making sure that the content itself is worthwhile and effectively communicated. No matter how well a page loads on a mobile device, there’s little incentive for a reader to stay on that page if its content is confusing, boring, or unprofessional. 

Here are some of the most important elements to keep in mind when constructing the user interface for your donation tool:

  • Clear call-to-action. No matter where a user lands on your website, a widget linking to your donation page should be visible at all times. This could be a call-to-action banner, a task in your menu bar, or even a button affixed to the top of every page. Whatever method you choose, a donor should never have to scour for your giving form. 
  • Consistent branding. A donor’s probability of pledging support plummets if they question the legitimacy or effectiveness of your organization. By consistently branding and styling your forms, you exude a greater air of professionalism and gain the trust of potential givers. 
  • Clean design. This means minimizing pop-ups, revamping distracting design elements, and eliminating unnecessary fields. A clean, simple, and direct user experience will streamline the donor journey right into the payment process. 

Furthermore, impact storytelling is another great strategy to maximize the effectiveness and persuasiveness of your virtual appeals. In the pages leading up to and following your donation form, consider implementing this fundraising methodology. 

It’s difficult to predict how or under what circumstances donors are going to encounter your organization’s website. That’s why it is so important for your online content to be accessible for any kind of digital encounter, with elements in place that help to support the simplest, easiest possible experience for would-be donors. 

2. Different Payment and Giving Options

Your donors are going to prefer to give in different ways and through different channels. Just as not all donors are going to donate through a desktop, not all donors will necessarily want to pay using the same methods. 

Your organization greatly reduces bounce rate and abandoned donations by remaining flexible to each donors’ preferences. Look for a payment processing system that accommodates all of the major payment types, namely ACH, direct, and credit payment. 

Additionally, donors could also be interested in giving opportunities beyond the traditional one-time gift. In fact, they might not even be aware of these additional options. Be sure to promote these alternate forms of support to suit your donors’ needs and encourage future donations: 

  • Matching gifts. Matching gift programs are company-sponsored initiatives where a donor’s employer will match their donation by a given ratio. By making donors aware of this possible opportunity, you could increase your funding by a double or even triple match. 
  • Volunteer grants. This is another example of corporate philanthropy that may be applicable to donors who often volunteer with your organization. These grants are gifted by employers to organizations when their staff volunteer a certain amount of hours. Check out Double the Donation’s guide to corporate volunteer grants to learn more about this program type. 
  • Member or association opportunities. If your organization offers different levels of access and event opportunities in return for recurring dues, then it’s imperative to make supporters aware of that option. By clearly advertising this program, you could turn a one-time gift into regular support. 
  • Recurring gifts. This simple program automatically sends regular payments to your organization based on an amount set by the donor. Not only does this create an opportunity for consistent long-term support, but you can promote this system with something as simple as a recurring gift checkbox at the bottom of your donation form. 

While we don’t recommend begging donors for more gifts when they’re already on the donation form, we do encourage you to make them aware of all of the opportunities that are available to them. These expanded methods of payment and giving not only make the donation process as convenient as possible but also open up the potential for even bigger gifts and consistent support to your organization.

3. Integrated Donation Processing 

If a donor clicks into your donation page only to be redirected to a third-party payment processor, they may think twice about pledging their support. After all, this detour is not only an added inconvenience, but it may frighten away users who feel that their data is less secure on that new and unfamiliar platform. 

Integrating your donation processing system with your donation form cuts out this redirect entirely, allowing donors to give directly through your platform. This reaffirms donor trust and their sense of security, while also streamlining the process to occur without the extra load times caused by a page jump. 

Furthermore, if you’d like your donation processor to seamlessly match the design, interface, and overall functionality of your website, we recommend opting for an integrated payment processor

Look for a payment tool that gives each client its own merchant account, as opposed to a larger aggregator that shares the account with other businesses and organizations. Additionally, dedicated processors can be customized, personalized, and more easily integrated into your current web page than other payment processing types. 

These techniques will help to put donors at ease and make the donor journey easier than ever. With a renewed sense of comfort and confidence, supporters will be more apt to make it through the final phase of the donation process. 

4. A Secure Payment Processor

The last thing that a donor should ever have to worry about is the security of their gifts and the protection of their personal information. Supporters are already making a significant leap of faith by pledging funds to your organization, and failing to assuage concerns about your system security is a mistake that could cost you many potential donations. 

On top of that, a major data breach could deal a huge blow to your organization’s reputation. These scandals can completely undermine the authority of your organization, breaking donor trust and discouraging future engagements both with supporters and other organizations. 

Ensure the security of your donation system by keeping an eye out for the following payment processor features: 

  • Anti-fraud measures. These strategies include CVV2 and BIN identification, which protect your organization from common credit card schemes and malicious phishing. 
  • PCI compliance. This certification is the official standard by which payment processing security is measured. All online payment tools must be PCI compliant before being used to process any payments. 
  • Tokenization and encryption. These features hide sensitive payment details as they’re being processed, making it impossible for hackers or fraudsters to read the coded data.

If you’d like to learn more about these security features and some of the most highly recommended processors on the market, we recommend that you check out the iATS Payments buyer’s guide to nonprofit payment processing.


For the sake of your donors and your own operations, seek out these essential security measures in your own donation tool. 

While your supporters may be led astray at various points in the donor journey, we hope that your donation page and form are one phase of the process that you can now cross off of your list of concerns. 

With these resources, you should be able to optimize your own donation form to its fullest potential, offering a level of comfort, accessibility, and confidence that could turn potential donors into long-time supporters. 

Peggah Azarvash

Peggah Azarvash

Peggah is a passionate Sales Executive with 10 years’ experience providing payment solution support and guidance to nonprofits.