7 Steps to Create a Donation Website for Your Nonprofit + 10 Great Examples

Fundraising November 18, 2021

Terry Ibele

By Terry Ibele

Take a look at your website. Would it encourage you to donate? If the answer is no, your potential donors probably feel the same way.  

Think of your website as your personal assistant. Once set up properly to receive donations, it makes it easy for someone to donate online. Bonus: it also handles the administrative work of processing donations for you.  

While some organizations might slap a link to their PayPal account on their website and consider the job done, getting donations online takes more.

This blog post will walk you through how to create a successful donation website that nurtures supporters into donors. 

We’ll cover:

  • Why Your Donation Website is Crucial to Your Organization

  • 10 Tips for Successful Donation Websites

  • 7 Steps to Creating a Donation Website

  • How Wild Apricot Can Help

  • 10 Examples of Donation Website Pages

  • 12 Online Donation Software Tools to Make Fundraising Easier

  • 6 Free Donation Websites You Can Create Today

 

Donation Website Builder 

Why Your Donation Website is Crucial to Your Organization

If you’re looking to drive online donations, you’ll need to create a donation page.

Why? For a ton of reasons, including:

  • Letting people give, no matter where they are

  • Making it convenient for supporters to give quickly (and impulsively!)

  • Automating payments

  • Centralizing your organization’s messaging

  • Meeting donors’ expectations, in an increasingly digital fundraising space

A carefully crafted donation page can make all the difference between more dollars raised or not. Without any online presence, you’re out all online donors—with a poor one, you’re cutting your donor base down.

With an awesome one? You’re growing your organization, one page visit at a time.

10 Tips for Creating A Successful Donation Website

It only takes seconds for someone to decide if they’ll stay on a website.

That’s why it’s crucial that your donation website is optimized to grab your audience’s attention. 

To make sure you’re on the right track, here are our tips for creating a successful donation website:

  1. Simplify your forms to make giving easier

  2. Optimize your CTAs and buttons to ensure donors get to the right page

  3. Add compelling visuals to grab attention and tell your mission’s story

  4. Use persuasive copy about your fundraising campaign and cause

  5. Process your donations instantly 

  6. Send automated tax receipts to donors 

  7. Collect donor info straight into your database 

  8. Share summaries on donation progress to your goal

  9. Use scheduled emails to keep in touch with donors 

  10. Use the right software that has features like:

  • Data tracking

  • Pre-set, specified donation amounts

  • Integration with tools like Wordpress, Quickbooks, and Google apps.

  • A mobile-friendly website construction

  • Advanced site customization

  • Widgets like donation forms and calendars

Here Are the 7 Steps to Create a Donation Website:

Creating a donation website doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, you can tackle it in seven easy steps!

Create donation website

In this section, we’ll walk you through each step so you can create a donation website that spotlights your fundraising campaign and drives donations.

We’ll go over how to:

  1. Create a donation page

  2. Create a donation form to collect your donor’s information

  3. Setup automated tax receipts and thank-you messages

  4. Make your donation page shareable

  5. Add a donation button to your website

  6. Drive traffic to your donation page during giving seasons

  7. Evaluate your success

Let’s dive in!

Read More: 12 Donation Website Templates + Examples to Inspire You

Step 1: Create a Donation Page

A donation page is your one-page sales pitch. It’s the page you direct someone to after you’ve asked them to donate to your organization—and it’s got all the information needed to convince them.

Before creating your page, it’s important to remember that our brains are hardwired to make us feel good when donating, so anything that you do to increase that feeling can increase your donations.  

Here are the 9 elements of a successful donation page:  

  1. Use an effective, action-driven headline. Make sure your headline motivates and reminds visitors why they want to and should donate.

  2. Eliminate the navigation bar. Keep your visitor's attention focused by streamlining their experience so that their attention is solely on your donation button.

  3. Keep the copy short and sweet. Encourage supporters by focusing on how donations will impact your cause and what they will be used for.

  4. Your organization’s mission. This is the most important information encouraging potential donors to give. It explains why you exist and why people should donate. 

  5. Your organization’s branding. A study of 45,000 nonprofits found that branded donation pages received 700% more donations than generic ones. This is because branded donation pages appear more trustworthy. 

  6. A story about someone your organization helped with an image of that person. Studies have proven that people are more generous when they can identify with the story and image one a single person versus a group of people. 

  7. A breakdown of where a donation goes. This is the second most important detail donors want to know when deciding whether to donate.  

  8. A personal message from your President or someone on the Board. This creates a meaningful relationship between the donor and your organization right away. 

  9. Ask for a donation and make your goal attainable. Don’t be afraid to be direct and ask for donations in your copy. Make sure to avoid “fundcrushing” — the use of large or abstract numbers to motivate donors to give.

When you create your donation page, try to keep the layout similar to the rest of the pages on your website. If you need some help with the layout, skip down to the bottom of this blog for some great examples! 

Step 2: Create a Donation Form to Collect Your Donor’s Information

Successful nonprofits know how important it is to keep their donor information in a database. It lets them reach out for repeat donations, increasing donations through existing contacts.

To collect a donor’s information instantly, link your online donation form to your contact database. If you need help doing this, there are many inexpensive software providers that specialize in this area. WildApricot is just one option. When you create your donation form, make sure you include these mandatory fields:

  • First name 

  • Last name 

  • Email 

  • Address 

  • Phone number 

It’s also worth keeping in mind these 8 best practices for donation forms:

  1. Make copy short and simple

  2. Optimize for mobile devices

  3. Make sure it’s branded with your colours and logo

  4. Reduce distractions

  5. Use an engaging CTA (call-to-action) button

  6. Include a recurring donation option

  7. Add suggested donation amounts

  8. Limit form fields

Here’s an example of a great donation form from the North Center Neighborhood Association that collects the right info. Notice that they also include a CAPTCHA at the bottom of the form. 

"Nonprofits tend to get targeted by fraudsters testing card numbers, because they have a simple form which can be easily submitted to automatically," says John Cooper, of The Friendly Developer. "Either using tools like a CAPTCHA, or a hosted page like PayPal helps to prevent this." 

When launching your next donation campaign, go into your database and email, call, or send your past donors a letter to increase your donations.

Secure member data banner

Step 3: Set up Automated Tax Receipts and Thank You Messages

When it comes to tax receipts and thank you messages, automating these administrative tasks can save you time and energy. 

With the right software, creating this automation can be a breeze. Programs like WildApricot can send out an automated tax receipt and thank you message the instant someone donates through your website. This builds on the relationship between your donor and your organization to create long-term investment in your cause. 

With the right best practices, a thank you email can help steward a one-time donor into a recurring one. It’s an opportunity to show gratitude. It can also be a way to offer other opportunities for the supporter to be involved in your organization and help out.

Before you automate your thank you letter, make sure you review it to make sure it’s: 

  • Personalized with their name, 

  • Uses a warm and friendly tone (“you” language)

  • If applicable, contains a nod to their past contributions 

  • Sent from someone at your organization rather than your entire org. Can even have the letter or email end with their signature. 

  • Has complementary imagery to support your story

  • A line about how donation will be used including stories or quotes about impact 

Read More: How to Write a Donation Letter

Step 4: Make Your Donation Page Shareable

Making your donation website shareable is an easy way to boost donations and expand the reach of your organization’s cause. 

When your donors feel strongly about your fundraiser, they’ll want to tell their friends about how they can support too. You’ll want to enable them by making it shareable across a variety of channels such as e-mail and social media platforms (like Tiktok, Facebook, Twitter, etc). Diversifying its shareability across channels also means your fundraiser gets a wider reach. A wider reach means a wider audience, which can translate to more donations!

Here are three easy ways to encourage social media sharing of your donation page: 

  • Add a “tweetable” to your donation page. A tweetable is a pre-written tweet that someone can click on and share with their Twitter Followers.

  • Create an eye-catching image or infographic with a link to your donation website that can be shared on Instagram.
  • Ask people to share your page on Facebook. JustGiving increased shares of their donation page by 28% just by asking people to share it and including a share button.

Read More: How to Get Donations: 18 Ways the Pros Are Doing It

Step 5: Add a Donation Button to Your Website

Do you have a donation button? Is it in an easy to find in the navigation menu?

Or is it buried in a drop down menu—or at the bottom of the page? 

If you’re like many organizations, you may not have a website that’s optimized for donations. If your donation button is hard to find or see, you’ll lose out on potential funds. Whether your website visitors are there to read updates or learn more about upcoming events, it’s still key to grab their attention with a bold donation button.

A CTA best practice that’s often used by organizations is to have it at the top, in their menu, or both, like the example below.

How to Donation Website

 If you want to make it as easy as possible to find your donation page, we recommend doing both.  

Some other donation button best practices include:

  • Keep the design simple

  • Make copy clear

  • Use contrasting colours

  • Place it in a prominent area

  • Make it mobile-friendly

It’s important that this donate button and the menu item both link to your donation page as described in step one. After all: your donation page is your best pitch on why someone should make a donation!

Read More: The 22 Features Every Top Nonprofit Website Has

Step 6: Drive Traffic to Your Donation Page

A common marketing tip used by pros is the 80/20 rule: spend 20% of your time creating content and 80% of your time promoting it. There’s so much clutter on the internet, you need to spend a significant amount of time promoting yours to help it stand out! 

This rule can be applied to your donation page too. After you publish it, make sure you promote it—especially during months with high natural giving trends. 

A study by Network For Good found the following months have the highest natural giving trends: 

  • April and October see natural increases in online donations. 

You can maximize on end-of-year giving with your donation page by gearing up with these tips:

  1. Planning seasonal campaigns—and starting early

  2. Looking at your previous year’s end of year giving for ways to improve

  3. Creating goals and KPIs that will guide your resourcing

  4. Reviewing current resources like time, budget, people, or money

  5. Determining your audience and how you’ll reach them

  6. Picking the right messaging and theme

  7. Making a timeline so you can get everything done

  8. Creating a promotion schedule (social, email, etc)

Whatever seasonal time you’d like to take advantage of to boost donations, make sure you make promotion a key part of your plan. 

To help you out, here are three easy ways to promote your donation website:

  1. Publish regularly on your blog. Publish blogs during these months with stories about your cause, asks for donations, and include a link to your donation page. Regular readers of your blog can learn more about your campaign and find new reasons to give!

  2. Schedule out emails. Pre-write emails asking for donations and schedule them to send automatically during these months. There are a number of tools that can set this up for you. If you’re a WildApricot customer, you can use our easy email scheduler to do this. But remember: segment your audience so everything is personalized!
  3. Schedule posts on social media. Use the free version of HootSuite to schedule social media posts (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) asking for donations during these months.

Step 7: Evaluate Your Success

Your donation website is an opportunity to become a hub for your different initiatives or fundraising campaigns. Create a page for each one, and then use Google Analytics to track your success from different channels. 

Make sure you keep track of your fundraising website on an ongoing basis. You can do this by:

  1. Creating goals. Before you share your donation website, make sure you’ve clearly defined fundraising goals and success metrics like:

    • Number of donations

    • Fundraising goal

    • ROI on advertising spend

    • Donation page conversion rate (how many viewers give)

  2. Evaluating success against metrics and KPIs. Identify wins and failures and use the information to determine areas for improvement.

  3. Iterating and improving your campaign. Everything is an opportunity to make your fundraising campaign better. You can bring your donation website to the next level by updating:

    • Your tools and software

    • Copy and messaging

    • Imagery and visuals

    • Headlines

    • CTAs and buttons

    • Promotional and social content

But remember: your audience knows best. If you can, A/B test all changes to make sure your assumptions are right!

 Donation Website Builder

How WildApricot Can Help 

Donation websites haves so many elements! But the right software can make the process easier. WildApricot has helped thousands of small and medium-sized nonprofits build websites optimized for donations in a matter of minutes.  

That’s because WildApricot provides an all-in-one membership management software that comes with professionally designed templates that can be easily built to include: 

  • A donation page 

  • A customizable donation form 

  • A donation goal bar 

  • Online payment via credit card (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, Amex)

And once someone fills out your donation form, their information is instantly updated in your membership database, which makes it easy to: 

  • Keep all member records up to date with their donations 

  • Send automated invoices, receipts, and thank-you messages  

  • View donation summaries 

  • Filter contacts and create lists 

  • Email contacts  

Your donors can also choose to subscribe for recurring donations, and automatically give every month, quarter, or year.  

If you’re looking to create a powerful donation generation website and save time while managing your organization, consider starting a free trial of WildApricot.

Recurring donation in post banner

10 Examples of Donation Website Pages 

Ready to start building your donation page?  

Here are 10 donation websites using WildApricot, with the pros and cons of each donation page so you can decide how to format yours.  

(And if you'd like to see 50 more nonprofit website examples, click here.

1. America - Israel Chamber of Commerce

Pros:

  • Their donation page is included in the main menu bar, so it's easy to find

  • Their donation button is big, bright, and attention-grabbing — there's no way potential donors will miss it!

Cons:

  • There's no specific indication of the ways the donation will be used

  • There also aren't any graphics or anything to add visual interest to the page

 

2. South Texans’ Property Rights Association (STPRA)

STPRA

Pros:

  • The link to the donate page is a big button in the top right corner of every page. It can't be missed

  • The page starts with a statement of why donor support is vital

Cons:

  • The address field isn't mandatory

  • The "Method of Payment" field is unnecessary

 

3. Gulf Coast Builders Exchange

Pros:

  • It's a single-step donation page, meaning it's easy to fill out and use  

  • Not cluttered with too much copy

  • Form is simple with not too many fields

Cons:

  • It's not attention-grabbing — including some visuals of the programs a donation supports would help

  • Donation button is difficult to find on homepage and is buried in menu

Themes and templates banner  

4. Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network 

BARN

Pros:

  • Donors are offered options for what types of newsletters they would like to receive

  • The donate form includes suggested donation amounts

Cons:

  • Though the donation form includes an option to make a gift in honour of someone, it doesn't look like the organization will notify that person of the donation.

5. Eureka Foundation

Pros:

  • The page is well-designed and it's easy to fill out

  • The mention of a tax cut might encourage donations

Cons:

  • There are no graphics or anything to grab a new visitor's attention

6. Wee One Foundation

Pros:

  • Including the math break-down of salary to donation percentage can encourage a more specific donation

  • Stating their goal clearly and simply makes it clear what donors' contributions are going to

Cons:

  • There are no stories about the people these donations have impacted

  • Including images of their campaigns might also help

 

7. Motorcycle Riders Foundation

Pros:

  • They include a small gift with every donation, which adds an incentive to donate 

Cons:

  • There's no information on where the donation is going or what it supports

  • Their site is http, rather than https, meaning that it's listed as "not secure" — potentially scaring away potential donors

 

8. Stairbuilders and Manufacturers Association

Pros:

  • Copy that appears before the form encourages contributions by stating how donations are used

  • Pre-set donation amounts and payment frequency options

  • Recaptcha function at bottom to ensure security

  • Comment section makes supporters feel heard

Cons:

  • No use of graphics or visuals to draw attention


9. Pikes Peak Range Riders Foundation

 

Pros:

  • The donation page is included in the main menu bar, making it easily accessible

  • There are checkboxes allowing donors to choose where their donation goes

  • The sidebar reminds potential donors about the organization's mission without taking up too much space at the top of the page

 

Cons:

  • No use of graphics

  • There's a sponsorship section at the bottom that doesn't add anything to the page

 

10. Urban History Association

 

Pros:

  • Simple form with not too many fields

  • Recaptcha tool at the bottom to ensure security

  • Donate button easy to find on main navigation of page

  • Comment page allows supporters to share thoughts

  • Pre-set payment frequency

Cons:

  • Cancel button is unnecessary at the bottom

  • No visuals or graphics

  • No compelling copy to encourage donors

 

12 Virtual Donation Tools to Make Fundraising Easier

With the right donation tools, you can streamline your fundraising campaigns, automate administrative tasks, and bring virtual or hybrid events to the next level. In other words, they make getting donations so much easier for your time-strapped team!

Your tools should handle things like:

  • Crowdfunding campaigns

  • Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns

  • Donor information management

  • Online fundraisers

  • Payment collection

Here are 12 virtual donation tools to help you with your fundraising:

1. Panorama

Panorama is a cloud-based, all-in-one digital fundraising platform by FrontStream. It boasts features that focus on helping nonprofits with planning, managing, and promoting their fundraising events.

Pricing: Available upon request.

2. Funraise

Funraise’s fundraising technology is equipped with essential donation management tools. Their features are designed with flexibility in mind to help nonprofits with the most important aspects of their fundraising campaign. 

Pricing: Free account, Enterprise pricing available upon request.

3. Donorbox

Donorbox’s online easy-to-use fundraising software enables individuals and organizations to drive donations. Easily integrated to a website, it helps with promoting fundraisers and stewarding one-time donors into monthly donors.

Pricing: 1.5% Donorbox transaction fee + payment processing fees. 

4. CauseVox

CauseVox is a digital fundraising platform for small to mid-size nonprofits. It helps with online fundraising including crowdfunding and peer-to-peer. It also includes a CRM. 

Pricing: Basic plans start at $0/month with a 2.2% + $.30 processing fee.

5. Givelify

Whether you’re a place of worship or nonprofit organization, Givelify is a donation management solution for receiving charitable funds. Their software features fundraising goals, a donation tracker, and an analytics dashboard. 

Pricing: 2.9% + $0.30/transaction.

6. Qgiv

Qgiv provides a well-rounded fundraising solution for growing nonprofits. The software offers tools like event registration, donation forms, text giving, auction events, peer-to-peer fundraising, and CRM and email tools. 

Pricing: Plans start at $0/month with a 3.95% + 30 cents processing fee.

7. Fundly

Fundly is a crowdfunding platform for organizations and individuals. For nonprofits who want to crowdfund and/or create a peer-to-peer fundraising page, Fundly also offers their Pro level.  

Pricing: 4.9% platform fee + 2.9% credit card processing fee and $0.30/per transaction.

8. DonorTools

Designed for churches, nonprofits, and charities, Donor Tools is a software for donor management and online giving. 

Pricing: Free 30-day trial, then $39/month.

9. 4aGoodCause

Used by small to mid-size nonprofits, 4aGoodCause helps nonprofits with managing online donations and membership payments, event registration, as well as peer-to-peer and crowdfunding campaigns.

Pricing: Plans start at $84/month.

10. DonorPerfect

DonorPerfect’s software gives full-end support with fundraising. It helps with donations, contacts, receipting, reporting, email, reporting, auction management, and fundraising initiatives. It’s ideal for nonprofits of all sizes.

Pricing: Plans start at $99/month.

11. Network For Good

A Certified B Corp, Network for Good is an all-in-one donation management tool for creating donation pages and peer-to-peer fundraisers, as well as managing donors.

Pricing: Plans start at $200/month.

12. Double the Donation

For nonprofits who want to boost their revenue with gift-matching, Double the Donation is the ideal all-in-one donation software.

Pricing: Plans start at $799/year.

6 Free Donation Websites You Can Start Building

Sometimes you just don’t have the cash to bring on some new tools. But never fear: there are plenty of options for getting started for free. They might be missing the bells and whistles that make your website its most efficient, but they’ll certainly get the ball rolling!

Here are some options you can check out right now:

1. Free Funder

Create and publish a crowdfunding campaign for a cause that’s important to you! You’ll be able to collaborate, share, and access quick support.

2. Facebook Fundraisers

Creating donation campaigns is easy with Facebook Fundraisers’ direct integration into the social platform. Boost campaign attention and gain traction with features for nonprofit and personal fundraisers.

3. Wordpress

Did you know Wordpress can also be leveraged for your next fundraising campaign? Their free, customizable, and mobile-ready themes and designs make creating a donation website easy.

4. Squarespace

Squarespace’s all-in-one solution for websites can be a great place to start for creating a donation website. It gives users intuitive, pre-built templates and designs to customize for their individual needs.

5. Wix

Wix is a beginner-friendly and scalable website platform that allows users to customize premade templates for their own use cases (like a fundraising event!).

6. MailChimp

MailChimp’s website creator allows users to make a website in under an hour. It includes live-editing capabilities as well as templates and designs that can be adjusted to personal tastes.

And that’s everything you need to know to create a donation website! With an understanding of the right elements, tools, and strategy under your belt, you’ll be able to make a donation website that drives donations for your cause and increases the reach of your organization.

Monthly giving banner

Read More: 20 Foundation Websites to Get You Inspired


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Comments

  • Geria aleni remujo:
    Thank you very much for the help you give us.i love your organisation

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