Here Are Five Bad Online Fundraising Practices. Got Any Others?

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September 6, 2011; Source: Blackbaud | Steve McLaughlin of Blackbaud has a post on his Nonprofit Trends blog listing five things you can do on an online giving form that are unproductive and might drive potential donors away. Here are his thoughts. Do you have anything to add to this list?

  1. Using Only One Donation Form. McLaughlin says you should always be testing forms and also have one that is more general and a few that are more specific.
  2. Using Only an Empty Box for Giving Amounts. “If you don’t give donors suggested gift amounts, then you’re doing it wrong,” McLaughlin says. “Testing has shown that donation forms with clear ask strings perform better than those without any.”
  3. Requiring Website Visitors to Register in Order to Donate. Come on folks, does McLaughlin really need to tell you why this might be a teeny bit silly? If so, look for other work.
  4. Using a Donation Form that Scrolls and Scrolls and Scrolls and Scrolls. Don’t get so long-winded that the potential donor just wanders off—keep the list short and clear.
  5. Not Having a Mobile-Friendly Donation Form. Again, if we have to tell you why…

—Ruth McCambridge

  • Michael Wyland

    Operating an online donation page without complying with applicable state and local laws and regulations. Some states interpret having a “donate now” button and allowing their residents to give as charitable solicitation – requiring registration, reports, and fees.

  • Bonnie Catena

    Not having a printable form option. Many non-profits trace 10% or more of their “online” gifts through these forms.