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Donation Form Best Practices

When Philantro first started all those years ago, the platform enforced a lot of standards to ensure nonprofits from all backgrounds could offer donors a streamlined donation experience. As we grew, it was clear this enforced standardization became a roadblock once we started serving more tech-savvy organizations. Now - things are far more flexible but this also leaves room for choices that might not bode well for usability. With the experience we've cultivated over the years, here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your online donation form.

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Design Guidelines

If your website supports the Modal Donation Form style, it's an incredibly flexible solution with a very low barrier to implementation. However, if you're using the fully embedded donation form, here are a few tips to help you put your best foot forward.

  • If using the Fully Embedded Donation Form, give it at-least 960px worth of width. Anything less will leave the donation form appearing cramped on desktop and tablets.
  • The Fully Embedded Donation Form supports CSS. Take advantage of CSS customization to ensure the donation form matches your brand's font preferences and color scheme.
  • Include a link to donate in your main navigation as well as your website's footer menu.
  • Keep the page and/or area surrounding the fully embedded donation form clear from other content. For example, if your website has a sidebar on the left or right, create a page without it so that the entire page is dedicated to the donation form.
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Organization Profile

The settings in your organization's profile permeate many donor-facing features in Philantro.

  • Your organization's logo is displayed in a circle on donor-facing emails and the modal donation, peer fundraising and donor self-service forms. Using the preview feature in your profile settings to ensure your uploaded logo does not get cut-off.
  • If your team has encountered a few common donor questions, record them in your Philantro account.
  • If your organization is known by a name that differs from your registered name - use it in your "Public Name" settings to avoid confusion.
  • If you're an organization working out of your home (fairly common for those starting out), we suggest purchasing a PO Box to gain some form of privacy. You can then use your PO Box as your "Public Mailing Address" in Philantro. Your registered address and public address can differ.
  • When completing your profile, be mindful of the format requested. For example, your website address should always start with "https" or "http" - preferably https as it's secure. However, if you do not furnish the correct protocol, Philantro will default to the less-than-secure "http" prefix.
  • Keep your information up-to-date. For example, if your website address changes - change it in your Philantro account. The website address on your account controls many donor-facing links in receipts, donor self-service and more.
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Donation Form Suggested Amounts

Backed by research, including suggested donation amounts on your online donation form helps donors convert on meaningful amounts. To measure this metric, we tracked the conversions of donations where donors used the donation form field to manually enter an amount and we compared it against conversion where donors clicked a given suggested amount. Across all organizations and regions, conversions were higher from donors who clicked a suggested amount.

  • Add 3-4 Suggested Amounts for every donation campaign.
  • Be strategic in the amounts you suggest and cater to your target audience and donation campaign.
  • Add a brief description of the outcome of each Suggested Amount; a sure-fire way to help donors visualize their impact.
  • Be mindful of description character limits and keep your descriptions short and to-the-point.
  • User proper sentence case in your descriptions. Using all caps in descriptions can do more harm than good.
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Online Donation Campaigns

All public donation campaigns appear on the online donation form. Philantro provides a host of options to help you fine-tune your online donation campaign but with great flexibility comes great responsibility. Below are a few tips to help you get the most of the your online donation form and campaigns.

  • Be thoughtful with your Campaign Names, avoid in-house lingo that donors wouldn't understand.
  • Utilize the Campaign Description to explain its importance. The campaign description is an opportunity for you to promote a given cause to your potential donors.
  • Be mindful of description character limits and keep your descriptions short and to-the-point.
  • Use proper sentence case in your descriptions. Using all caps in descriptions can do more harm than good.
  • Don't attempt to sell event tickets via the donation form as the language included on donation receipts could expose your organization to legal issues.
  • Add 3-4 Suggested Amounts for every donation campaign, see tips on Suggested Donation Amounts.
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Sustainable Fundraising Tips and Techniques

Whether you're doing research on Philantro® or learning more about sustainable fundraising techniques for micro and major nonprofits - our newsletter is a great resource. No gimmicks, no spam - 100% Philantro.