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With online giving steadily growing over the years, the donate page on your website is more than just a portal. It is a fundamental component of your fundraising.

But who hasn’t had website anxiety at some point? Creating a website can be an epic and stressful affair but let’s see if we can dispel some of that tension with a 3-page formula to get your donate page up and running smoothly.

Grab the worksheet to accompany this article!

Page 1: Call to Action

When potential donors visit your website’s donate page, there should be only one thing for them to do: Donate.

You do not want them here to learn more about your work (that should be on your About page) or follow you on Facebook (please don’t send them off to the sinkhole of social media. They’ll likely never make it back to donate!)

You only want them to donate to your work and to feel reassured about doing so.

With that in mind, your donate page should have a single, persuasive call to action. The call to action can take shape through a compelling headline, poignant imagery and warm, second-person narrative language that directly addresses the visitor.

This page is also the place to address any anxieties or hesitations your visitors may have about donating to your work. There are a range of reasons why someone backs out of making an online transaction. You want your visitors to feel good about two things in particular: That their donation is meaningful and that their information is secure.

To address this, you could include a clear statement on how their donation will make an impact on your mission with statistics or testimonials. You may also want a short statement about your giving policies and how you handle donor privacy.

Quick Tips for Page 1:

  • Keep the URL for your donate page simple and easy to remember, such as
  • Design-wise, include your logo and use colors are cohesive with your overall brand. Your visitors should know immediately that they are in the right place and donating to the right cause.
  • Tech-wise, optimize your donate page with appropriate SEO tags.
  • Just in case online payments are not their thing, be sure to include your mailing address so that visitors can send you a check.

Finally, you want a nice, prominent button for your visitors to click to donate. That button will take them to…

Page 2: Donation Payment Portal

The key to this page is a reliable payment portal integrated into the back-end of your website. Options are endless for payment portals these days, from a simple and free PayPal account to an all-inclusive fundraising platform. Likely, your budget and learning curve will decide this for you.

Whatever payment portal you choose needs to be hosted on a secure URL that utilizes SSL (this means the your payment portal web page begins with https://). It should also integrate seamlessly into your website and make the process as convenient as humanly possible for your visitors.

What to include on Page 2:

  • A form that captures your donor’s name, address, and email address. You’ll need this information at a minimum to send them a thank you letter.
  • An option for the donor to make a one-time gift or a recurring gift.
  • A range of giving levels that make sense to your donor base and organization, as well as an option for the donor to write in how much they would rather give.
  • A simple checkbox for them to opt-in to your newsletter and communications.
  • A simple checkbox if they want their donation to be anonymous.
  • A write-in option to make the gift in honor of someone.
  • A clear statement that either this gift is supporting the organization overall or whether it is earmarked for a particular program or initiative.
  • A creative “Submit” button for your donor to click to submit their payment. You want your donor to feel gratified, even elated when they click that button.

Step 3: Thank You!

What happens immediately after your visitor makes a donation?

First, your payment portal should automatically email a receipt to your donor. While this receipt may be enough for tax purposes, I also like to send an additional thank you letter either by mail or email to the donor to personalize and nurture the relationship further.

After making a donation, your donors should also be redirected to a thank you page on your website. This is an excellent opportunity to engage them further. On your thank you page, you can invite them to join you social media, perhaps even share your work and their donation with their friends. You may even incorporate a digital version of your Donor Welcome Kit. Whatever you do, this page should be all about gratitude.

Two Last Quick Details

Link to your donate page somewhere on every page of your website and in your communications. And of course, make sure your entire online donation process is mobile-friendly!

If this has been helpful to you, please consider making a donation! Your contribution is deeply appreciated and supports all of the free programming at Open Rivers.

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