5 Necessities to Include in Nonprofit Donation Forms

Guest blogger, Jacob Spencer, Customer Success and Account Manager at Donately, dives into the structure of donation forms, a crucial foundation for any nonprofit.

Your donation page is one of the most important pages on your website, yet it doesn’t always get the attention it deserves. You can make your donation form both more visually pleasing and more functional for your supporters with a few simple changes.

Your donation page might feel like an end-of-the-road element, but it’s an important part of your communication strategy. The way that people feel as they fill out your donation form and how they feel afterwards should not be taken lightly!

Read on to find out why you need to include these elements in your donation form:

  1. Your nonprofit’s branding
  2. The option to create an account
  3. Suggested donation amounts
  4. Recurring gift options
  5. A thank you message

It’s crucial to ensure that your organization’s donation page is its absolute best, and with these five key aspects addressed your donation form will be in tip-top shape in no time. If you’re ready to level up your donation page, let’s get started!

1. Your nonprofit’s branding

Branding is what helps an organization become recognizable beyond its name. Think about it— when we see a swoosh, we automatically think “Nike,” right? Branding is important for establishing your image and reputation. Your brand will evoke certain emotions and responses in your audience. That’s why it’s equally as important to have your branding present on your donation page as any other page of your website.

Your nonprofit’s branding includes things like:

  • Brand colors
  • Fonts
  • Your logo
  • The specific terminology you use
  • The tone you use to address your audience

When building your form and writing the copy that will go in it, do so in a way that doesn’t feel jarring to your supporters. Use your branding strategically, so as not to be the main focus of the donation page but to still express the same sentiments — whether that be warmth, kindness, safety, or any other emotion.

Incorporating your branding into your online donation page allows you to get a little creative. Just because it’s a form doesn’t mean it has to be boring! Come up with a few versions of your donation form that incorporate your branding. The right donation page software can help you do this! Once you’ve created some options, conduct A/B testing to see how people respond to each one. A/B testing involves creating two different versions of the same page and assessing which one is more engaging for audience members.

2. The option to create an account

Gathering information about donors and obtaining their consent to receive future communications are some of the obvious benefits to getting your website visitors to create an account. However, it’s important to be realistic and recognize that not everyone will. Sometimes, people are just too busy to fill out all of the information that it takes to set up an account.

Making account signups optional allows people to still make accounts while accepting donations from others who don’t want to make an account on the spot. Plus, you can avoid deterring people from donating by limiting the number of required fields.

For many busy people, a small amount of friction (like required fields) can make them say “I’ll just do it later.” Unfortunately, later often turns into never. Keeping your basic form short and sweet ensures that no one loses momentum in the middle!

3. Suggested donation amounts

This is another great way to reduce friction during the donation process! Your donor may be motivated to donate but unsure of what an appropriate amount is. Providing suggested donation amounts can:

  • Give your donor a sense of the typical gift size
  • Help with indecision about their donation
  • Encourage them to give a slightly larger gift

If you do choose to include suggested donation amounts, don’t forget to still include an option for donors to type in their own donation amount. You don’t want to potentially frustrate donors who already know how much they want to donate by not also including a custom donation amount option.

4. Recurring gift options

Including a recurring gift option is as simple as adding a checkbox by the donation amount that says “make this a recurring donation.” Many of your supporters may not know that recurring gifts are an option or they may have simply not thought of it before. Seeing that little checkbox will prompt them to stop and consider it. Even if they lower their initial donation amount, making it recurring will result in longer-term returns for your organization.

If you’d like to further incentivize your donors to make their gifts recurring, consider adding a message that lets them know they get certain perks as recurring donors. Benefits you could offer include:

  • A special newsletter crafted with sneak peeks of exclusive events
  • Priority access to ticketing for events
  • A free goodie like a pin, bracelet, or hat.

You can get creative with how you encourage donors to make their gifts recurring or you can choose to not offer any incentives. Regardless, adding that little checkbox is a great way to nudge your supporter into becoming long-term donors.

5. A thank you message

Lastly, consider adding an automated thank you message to show appreciation for your donors’ generosity. With the right donation form software, you can easily set this up.

It’s important to not wait too long when it comes to thanking donors, and an automated message will make sure they get thanked immediately, no matter how busy you get!

A few things you can add to your automated message are:

  • Your donor’s name. This adds a personal touch to an otherwise obviously standardized message. With the right template, this can be automatically filled in for every individual donor.
  • Examples of the impact of donations. You can include links for donors to explore case studies, impact reports, or videos on your website.
  • Links to volunteer opportunities. This is a great time to encourage supporters to get involved in other ways!
  • Social media sharing options. Offer a variety of places where donors can share details about their donations, like on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more.

If you take advantage of it, this automated thank you message is a great opportunity to encourage further engagement from your donors while also making them feel appreciated. Be strategic about what you choose to include! Thanking your donors should be a given and this particular message should only be the first step in your donor appreciation strategy. Make sure to also send a more personal follow-up email, or even a physical letter, to thank them again.


Your donation form is one of the most important pages on your website, so making it as user-friendly and efficient as possible is crucial. You never want donors to leave your website because your form was too difficult to navigate or they had security concerns. Donately’s guide to donation processing is an excellent resource for ensuring that all of your transactions are secure. With this wealth of information, you’ll be able to craft an outstanding donation form that continually engages your donors. Good luck!