Everything Your Nonprofit Needs To Know About Online Donation Forms

November 22, 2020
10 minutes

“Donation forms”.

Admittedly, no one likes filling out forms. It brings to mind doctor's appointments where you're forced to list your entire medical history on a front-and-back piece of paper.

But donations? Yes, those are things we like. And nonprofits absolutely, positively depend on the funds that they raise—a poorly-funded nonprofit may overflow with passion, but is limited in its ability to change the world.

That’s why you need to make it as easy as possible for your supporters to donate to your nonprofit. And getting your donation forms on your website in front of donors is the best way to do that.

Let’s dig in.

What’s a donation form, anyway?

A donation form allows your website visitors to donate directly on your website, no matter where they are or what sort of device they happen to be using.

One issue with forms is that, typically, they take a fair amount of fancy interwebs knowledge to create. Bur Funraise’s drag-and-drop donation form function allows you to create a form without the help of a web developer, without learning how to code, and without spending more time than you have to on creating a form that works for your nonprofit.

Why do you need one on your website?

You want people to donate directly on your website, yes?

(The answer is, "Yes. Yes, you do.")

Every time you add a step to a potential donor’s journey as they go from learning about your nonprofit to becoming a full-fledged donor, you give them the chance to get frustrated, distracted, to change their minds. You allow them the opportunity to wander off course and forget about donating.

And forcing people to go offline to donate is the cardinal-est of cardinal sins! In other words, routing their donation journey from your website to their checkbooks to the mailbox (We’re rooting for you, USPS!) is bad for your nonprofit’s checkbook.

This is particularly true for digital-first fundraising events like Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday happens online, so people want to donate online. Make it easy for your supporter to give money where they want to give you money, which happens to be online.

In short: donation forms are good for your nonprofit’s budget.

Can Funraise help you with that?

Yes, Funraise can help you with donation forms! Our donation forms are ready to go with every feature you could ask for to maximize the amount and quality of the donations and data you receive.

Donation forms are a core digital need for any nonprofit. Funraise wouldn’t ever deprive you of anything you or your nonprofit needs – which is why we’ve put together a heck of a donation form builder for you.

Let’s get into it!

Since we know our own donation forms best, we’ve listed the options Funraise's donation forms offer. Some of these features may be more helpful to your nonprofit than others; there's nothing like doing a little testing and trying new tactics!

We’ve listed the features from A to Z so you can easily look up the feature you’re looking for and because we just like alphabetizing things. Read through the list, decide which features work best for your nonprofit, and then get fundraising!

A quick note: not all of these features may be available on all Funraise plans, or they may require an additional cost to access. Check with us if you're not sure!

Automatically send donation receipts

What’s this?

Customize donation receipts with your organization’s branding. Send receipts automatically.

What does it mean for your nonprofit?

Receipts are important. For one thing, tax deductions are a major reason many people donate, and they need receipts to get those tax deductions. Sometimes it’s just because keeping financial records is important, both for entities like your nonprofit and for entities like the small family who sent you a $200 donation to help celebrate a birthday or milestone.

But always—receipts are important.

It's ridiculously time-consuming to manually send donation receipts to everyone who’s generous enough to help your nonprofit out with a little sumpin’ sumpin’. We have experienced that firsthand, and we sympathize. That’s why automatically sending donation receipts when someone completes a donation form is so great—people get the documentation they need automatically, your staffers aren’t spending hours upon hours hand-writing receipts ...it’s a win all around.

Collect donations directly on your website

What’s this?

Funraise’s Donation Forms embed directly onto your nonprofit’s website, allowing you to collect donations on your own property... not on someone else's site.

What does it mean for your nonprofit?

The ability to collect donations directly on your website means your nonprofit can take advantage of the magic of search engines. You've got a donation page on your site and Google, Bing, Yahoo, all the search engines out there, they recognize that. Your nonprofit gets the SEO value. Your organization benefits from relevant content and pages on your site. You see all the data that site analytics offer. Your donation pages are in place for the long-haul, which means you're not worrying about outdated links being out there on the interwebs.

Company Match

What’s this?

Using an easy integration with Double the Donation, your donors can find their employer and request a company donation match without ever leaving your donation form. (Honestly, it's so easy.)

What does it mean for your nonprofit?

Imagine this: For every dollar donated to your nonprofit’s mission, another one magically appears.

From thin air, each $10 donation becomes a $20 donation. Each $100 donation becomes a $200 donation. Each $1,346 donation becomes a $2,692 donation. We’d continue, but it's pretty simple math.

That is exactly what company match donations do for you. For exactly the same amount of effort and hit to your donors’ wallets, the benefit to your nonprofit’s budget literally, not figuratively, doubles. And it’s all thanks to Corporate America!

That’s double the help you can offer the community. That’s double the benefit to your nonprofit’s budget. That’s twice the amount of good your nonprofit will be able to accomplish—all by tapping into the frequently-untapped well of corporate donation matching.

Customize the form

What’s this?

Add custom questions. Present recurring frequencies options. Set payment options. Customize colors to match your nonprofit’s branding.

What does it mean for your nonprofit?

Each and every nonprofit is a unicorn in its own right, with its own unique horn and its own unique sparkly tail. So, when people donate to your unicorn nonprofit, send them through a donation process in a way that reflects your one-of-a-kind glitter horn. Build that form to match your nonprofit’s branding, and no one else’s—you’ll want the process to be recognizable as your nonprofit's.

Customizing your donation form guarantees that the donation process is an experience that reflects the values your nonprofit holds dear. It’s a way of bringing your supporters closer to you and engaging them in your nonprofit’s mission.

Donate from phone, tablet, or laptop.

What’s this?

Donors can give where they're at: desktops, mobile devices, tablets, anywhere there's a web connection and a screen. Bonus: Donation forms are mobile-optimized—they automatically fit themselves to the screen size of your donor’s device.

What does it mean for your nonprofit?

Making it easier for people to donate means they’re more likely to donate. When people can donate from their phone, tablet, or laptop—their glowing screen of choice—they’re more likely to donate on the go, whenever they think of your nonprofit.

Donation Management

What’s this?

Track and edit every donation, regardless of payment method.

What does it mean for your nonprofit?

Let’s say you need to edit a donation—perhaps a donor realizes they have a little more in their nonprofit giving budget than they’d originally thought. With a solid donation management tool, it's easy to track and edit every donation, no matter the payment method—so you can up that donation from the comfort of your home office easily.

Donation Dedications

What’s this?

Donors can leave a note dedicating their donation to the loved one of their choice and instantly share their dedication with an email.

What does it mean for your nonprofit?

Dedications can feel more meaningful when they’re made in someone's name. Making it easy to dedicate a donation to a specific person means more birthday gift donations, more memorial donations, and more community gifting.

Ultimately, that comes down to more donations for your nonprofit. #winning

More Payment Options

What’s this?

Funraise’s Donation Forms accept credit cards, PayPal, eCheck, and even bitcoin, for all you robots out there. Plus,  we can accommodate lots more payment options.

What does it mean for your nonprofit?

There’re a ton of ways to spend or donate money these days. (Ugh, don't remind us.)

This may or may not be a good thing, because developing an online spending habit isn’t going to be good for your personal budget—but it is a good thing for your nonprofit. Regardless of whether a supporter prefers to donate to your nonprofit via credit card, a (hopefully-recurring) ACH payment directly from their bank, an eCheck, or Bitcoin, you want to be able to accept that donation with as little fuss as possible.

Operations Tips

What’s this?

Ask donors to add a percentage of their donation to your nonprofit’s operating costs.

What does it mean for your nonprofit?

Sometimes people earmark a donation for a specific program or campaign. That doesn’t mean they don’t want to support the everyday goings-on of your nonprofit, though—operations costs are legitimate expenses (and hella expensive!)

By allowing people to add a small percentage onto their donation in the form of an Operations Tip, you’re making it easy for them to support the program they’re most drawn to while contributing to your nonprofit's overhead.

SSL

What’s this?

All donations are transacted through SSL, aka ‘Secure Socket Layer’.

What does it mean for your nonprofit?

We’ve all gone to a sketchy ecommerce website, considered buying a product, and then shoved our credit card back into our wallet because something on the website felt off.

Funraise's security measures eliminate that sense of foreboding because we protect digital transactions from the prying eyes of hackers and other ne’er-do-wells. We give your nonprofit’s website an added layer of legitimacy needed to assure donors that yes, you are legit, and no, no one is going to steal their credit card number when they donate to your nonprofit.

UTM Tracking

What’s this?

Track where donations come from. UTM parameters are like a magic window into where your donors came from and how they got to your website.

What does it mean for your nonprofit?

UTM tracking is the best way to drill down into your nonprofit’s website traffic. Where does it come from? Is it converting to donations? Which programs are getting the most love? Where do the conversions originate? And which traffic sources drive traffic but not donations?

UTM tracking answers those questions. If your fundraising budget is limited—which, you know, it probably is—you’re going to want to put those important dollars towards the sources that are providing the biggest bang for your nonprofit’s buck. Figure out what’s working and what’s not working with the help of UTM parameters.

Wrapping Up

Doesn't matter what year you're reading this in or what season... your supporters want to donate online in a friendly, smooth donation experience in all kinds of places, using all kinds of devices.

Why not give them what they want?

Having an A++ donation form is the best way to make sure the digital donations keep the money rolling in so your good works can keep rolling out.

Stay in the nonprofit loop.

Get weekly updates on tips, trends, and best practices to help power your nonprofit. #nonprofitz4lyfe