Last week I told you about 5 things you should include on your donation page to help maintain an emotional connection with your donors and encourage them to stay involved with your organization. This week I want to talk about the things you should not include on your donation page — things that will frustrate and annoy your donors or, heaven forbid, turn them off to making a donation at all. Try to avoid using:
1. Too Many Fields
You know those health questionnaires you have to fill out when you go the doctor? I hate those things. They’re complicated, they’re confusing, and they take forever. Nobody likes filling them out.
Really complicated donation pages are about as much fun as those health questionnaires. Asking your donors to answer a million questions before they can process a donation is a really good way to turn them off donating at all. Collect enough information that you’ll be able to generate meaningful reports about your fundraising success, but keep your forms as simple as possible.
2. Too Many Options
This goes along with the previous point. Along with keeping information fields simple, keep the donation options on your page simple, too. Having different restrictions that let your donors give specifically to one project or mission is useful. Having 30 different projects to choose from can be overwhelming. Offering people a way to sign up for an event online is wonderful; having to scroll through a list of 15 events to find the right one is annoying. There’s a balance there.
But don’t feel like you have to choose between giving your supporters options and trying to keep everything really simple. If you’ve got a whole host of events, try setting up an event registration page for each event. Try the same thing with different areas in your charity for people to choose from. It doesn’t have to be complicated: if you’ve got a good donation format, recreating pages can be simple. Or, if it’s more your style, try offering more general options for donation restrictions. Instead of letting people donate to the “Kindergarten Snack Program,” “Kindergarten Centers Program,” or “Kindergarten Field Trips,” try letting people just donate to a “Kindergarten Fund.”
3. Mandatory Account Registration
It’s tempting to ask your donors to make accounts with your charity in order to make gifts. It’s a great way to let them manage their own donations, encourage them to make recurring gifts, and keep them engaged with newsletters and events. We love donor accounts… but we don’t love them if they’re mandatory.
Maintaining an emotional connection with your supporters from the moment they get to the donation page to when they click the transaction button is critical. Forcing someone to sign up for an account can sever that connection and discourage them from giving to you. You can always encourage them to create an account in newsletters, e-mail campaigns, social media, and other outlets, and you can always offer them the option to do so. Just don’t make it mandatory.
CAPTCHAs — those computer-generated images of distorted-looking letters and numbers — are useful ways to tell if the user on the other end is a robot. They are also annoying and a very easy way to deter donors.
I’ve got pretty good eyesight. I can read. I know my numbers. And I’ve still found myself stymied by hard-to-read CAPTCHAs and have left the page rather than pressing the “refresh image” button one more time. That’s not something you want your donors to experience! Unless your organization has recently been the victim of fraudulent attacks, avoid using CAPTCHAs.
5. Auto-play Videos or Audio
This is a personal pet peeve of mine. My office mate has lost count of the number of times I’ve opened a page with automatically-playing videos, and seethed “WHO DOES THAT?!” aloud when I closed the page. It’s especially bad when I, like many other Internet users, am listening to music or a podcast as I browse your page. It’s awful.
Don’t think this means you shouldn’t include video or audio on your page. That’s not what I’m saying. You should have videos on your page. Just don’t make it play automatically unless you want to risk your users getting irritated and leaving your donation form.