Back to Blog

9 Key Elements to Include on Your Donation Form to Maximize Monthly Donations

Your donation form plays a crucial role in converting one-time donors into long-term supporters. By incorporating the right elements, you can maximize monthly donations and create a sustainable source of funding for your organization. In this blog post, we will explore 9 key elements that every donation form should include to optimize recurring donations.

The goals for including these elements are greater conversion of one-time donors to monthly, higher recurring gift sizes, and increased overall revenue. Let’s dive into our list.

Sample donation page via Foothills Animal Shelter

1. Your brand

A nonprofit’s brand consists of a combination of its unique mission, values, and visual identity. It is the essence of what the organization stands for and aims to achieve.

When individuals are presented with a donation page that features a recognizable brand, they are more likely to feel confident in the legitimacy and impact of the organization. This increased trust often leads to larger contributions, sometimes upward of 6 times larger, as donors are more willing to invest their money in a cause they believe in.

On a donation page, branding is typically represented by the organization’s logo, colors, and images that demonstrate the work of the nonprofit. Images that feature smiling faces of real people you are impacting with your programs are a great addition to your donation page. This combined with a logo and a color scheme your donors will recognize will make them more inclined to make long-term investments in your cause such as a recurring monthly gift.

Branded donation forms also provide a consistent and professional user experience, enhancing the overall perception of the organization and further motivating individuals to give generously.

Element benefit: More donation conversions and higher gift sizes

2. A compelling message

When potential donors encounter a well-crafted message that effectively communicates the importance and impact of their contribution, they are more likely to feel motivated to give. Conversely, when donors land on a donation form without this messaging they lose the momentum to give. They forget the reasons that led them to the donation form and will be more likely to abandon the gift. Content that drives forward the donation is needed on the form itself.

By clearly stating the purpose of the donation and explaining how it will make a difference, the message creates an emotional connection with the potential donor. This connection, combined with a sense of urgency, encourages individuals to take immediate action and contribute more generously.

Your donation form message starts in the form of a headline. The headline should clearly convey the purpose and urgency of the call to action, compelling individuals to sign up for recurring donations. One of my favorite donation page headlines is from the Girl Scouts of NE Texas. This action-oriented call to action helps donors understand exactly how their donation will make an impact.

Build girls of courage, confidence and character

Another good example is the headline from the Doctors Without Borders donation page. It is a simple call to action that ties the giving of a monthly gift to the end result of the charity’s work.

Donate monthly to save lives.

You’ll want to combine this with a few sentences that reinforce the headline. This supporting appeal should convey:

  • How the gift will be used
  • Why a gift is needed now
  • The convenience and benefits of the recurring gift for the donor
  • The long-term impact of a monthly gift

A great example of a monthly donation page appeal is from Save the Children. This appeal makes a strong case for monthly support by outlining the benefit for the donor and the impact on the nonprofit’s work.

You can help save babies and newborns from preventable deaths due to malnutrition, dehydration, disease and more. Your monthly support will help provide urgent maternal care, a healthy start for babies, as well as educational opportunities and protection for children in the U.S. and around the world. With your recurring gift of $10 or more, you’ll get a Save the Children tote, welcome kit and regular updates on the babies and children you’re helping.

Element benefit: More donation conversions and higher gift sizes

3. Proof of security

When individuals visit a donation page, they are often looking for reassurance that their contribution will be safely processed and that the organization is reputable. Trust logos, such as security seals, provide tangible evidence of the organization’s reliability.

By prominently displaying these logos, donation pages can establish a strong first impression and increase the likelihood of securing donations. In a digital landscape where skepticism is rampant, trust logos are a powerful tool for establishing credibility and inspiring confidence in donors.

To display a security seal, you first must have a secure donation form. Always make sure you use a donation form from a PCI-compliant vendor.

By having a PCI-compliant donation page, you guarantee that your organization is following the necessary protocols to protect your donors’ sensitive data. This compliance provides peace of mind to your donors, knowing that their payment information is being handled securely and reduces the risk of fraudulent activities. Safeguarding your donation page with PCI compliance is an essential step in maintaining the trust and confidence of your supporters.

Element benefit: More donation conversions

Elements 1-3

4. Prominent and emphasized monthly gift option

In order to obtain the highest number of recurring donors, it is crucial to direct the donor’s attention towards the monthly gift option. Ensure that your donation form is designed in a way that emphasizes and encourages the choice of a monthly donation as the most prominent and desirable gift.

Implement the following options for recurring gifts on your donation page:

Make the monthly donation option the default choice.

This shows that your nonprofit values recurring gifts and that those gifts are the best gift a donor can give. If you are currently running a special campaign to collect monthly donations, consider designing a donation page where this is the only option available. Make sure the monthly gift choice is big and easy to find.  Worried about a donor accidentally choosing the recurring option? You can allay that fear if use “ / month” or “per month” language on your form that emphasizes the choice the donor is making.

Utilize icons or colors to attract donors toward the monthly gift option.

For example, on 4aGoodCause, we place a small heart next to the monthly giving option and highlight the default suggested option in a color of the nonprofit’s brand. This visually captures the donor’s attention and encourages more recurring gifts.

Ensure that you provide suggested giving levels specifically for recurring gifts.

Donors are interested in knowing what a typical monthly gift amount is. A good range for monthly gifts could be $10, $25, $35, $50, and $100. You want to provide a range that offers both small amounts that offer an easy starting gift and large amounts where donors can make a huge impact.

Avoid decision fatigue by keeping your recurring options simple.

Decision fatigue refers to the mental exhaustion that occurs when individuals are faced with an overwhelming number of choices. To combat decision fatigue in online forms, it is essential to streamline the process, minimize the number of choices, and provide clear guidance to users. Don’t overwhelm donors will tons of options they must configure to start a recurring gift. 94% of recurring donors in the USA and Canada give on a monthly basis. Focus your form on this most popular recurring option. Start the monthly gift from the day of enrollment and have the gift continue until the donor decides to quit.

Element benefit: More donors will choose a recurring gift leading to increased long-term revenue

5. Impact statements

Link the donation levels on your donation form to specific results with impact statements. For every donation tier, include a statement describing what the donation will do for your community. For example, mention that a donation could provide 10 backpacks or feed 1 family for a year. By doing this, it adds more concrete meaning to the gifts for the supporters. This approach can also motivate them to donate more when they understand the impact their money will have.

One of our clients who does a great job of using impact statements is Open Cupboard, a food insecurity nonprofit in Oakdale, MN. Their donation page uses impact statements to describe how monthly gifts in various amounts will impact their community.

  • Your monthly gift of $25 can purchase 2,500 pounds of fresh produce
  • Your monthly gift of $50 can provide Boost and Ensure to a senior mobile program
  • Your monthly gift of $75 can purchase 3 boxes of baby diapers
  • Your monthly gift of $100 can provide meat for 20 families in our Drive-Up program
  • Your monthly gift of $150 can provide 75 families with culturally specific and high demand choice items through our Drive-Up program

Impact statements provide tangible evidence of the difference their monthly support can make and create a sense of urgency to take action. Including these statements on your donation page can significantly increase donor engagement and conversion rates.

Element benefit: More conversions and higher gift sizes

6. Option to “cover the fees”

Include a checkbox on your online donation form that offers donors the opportunity to contribute an extra gift to help cover processing fees. By adding this checkbox, you communicate you give donors the choice to give more. As an organization, you can utilize these “additional gifts” to offset the costs associated with processing fees.

How this option is implemented is very important in maximizing the size of your recurring donations. Many fundraising platforms that nonprofits use to take online donations siphon this add-on gift for themselves and often charge donors 5-20% for the privilege of processing their donation. Imagine a donor that decided to make a $100 monthly gift. They then don’t opt out of a 20% processing fee. Every month the nonprofit will receive $100 and the platform will receive $20. Since recurring donors can give for 5-7 years that’s a lot of revenue lost that the donor would have been willing to give direct to the nonprofit.

Don’t let your fundraising platform siphon the add-on donation for themselves. Donation pages built on 4aGoodCause can ask donors to give an extra 4% to help cover transaction expenses. This extra amount goes to our clients. This model helps put more donor support into your coffers each month.

Element benefit: Higher gift sizes

Elements 3-6

7. Corporate matching

To maximize your monthly donations, consider asking for corporate matching gifts. Corporate matching gifts are a way for companies to support their employees’ charitable contributions by matching the donations they make. By taking advantage of this program, you can effectively double the impact of your monthly donations.

Collecting a corporate matching gift is made easier by integrating a matching gift ask right on your donation page. At 4aGoodCause, our clients accomplish this by integrating a plug-in from Double the Donation that prompts donors to look up their employer to see if a matching gift is available. When the donor submits their online donation, this integration then helps the donor finalize the matching gift request.

By providing a clear and straightforward process for donors to initiate a matching gift request, you can significantly increase the amount you raise from monthly donors. Make it easy for donors to make the most of their generosity and amplify their giving through corporate matching gifts.

Element benefit: More revenue collected

8. ACH / Echeck and PayPal payment methods

Including multiple payment methods on your donation form is crucial for maximizing your fundraising efforts. By offering extra payment options in addition to credit cards, you are making it easier for potential donors to contribute to your cause. This flexibility ensures that individuals can donate using their preferred method, increasing the likelihood of conversion.

There are two payment methods that work very well with monthly giving, one that can help you lower your processing fees while retaining donors longer and one that online givers seem to prefer.

E-check processing, also referred to as electronic funds transfer (EFT) or automated clearing house payment (ACH), is a digital payment method that deducts funds directly from a checking account. On a nonprofit’s donation form, donors are prompted to enter their routing number and checking account number into a form.

The majority of e-check processors, like for example, charge fees of less than 1% for processing, making e-checks a lower cost option than credit cards for nonprofits accepting recurring donations.

Plus, e-checks have the highest donor retention rate among all monthly giving payment options. Because e-checks are directly linked to bank accounts, donors can establish recurring giving arrangements that remain in effect as long as they wish to use that account. In contrast, credit cards have expiration dates that cause interruptions in donation processing.

Did you know that 10% of donors prefer to donate with Paypal, the second most popular online giving option behind credit cards? It is a payment option that donors are used to using with subscription services like Spotify or Netflix and want to use with your subscription offer, an enrollment in your monthly giving program. Consider adding PayPal as an extra payment option on your donation form to give donors a widely recognized and trusted one they want to use.

Element Benefit: Lower processing costs, more donation conversions and higher donor retention

Elements 7-8

9. Monthly giving conversion pop-up offer

To increase the likelihood of donors choosing to make a monthly gift, you can provide them with another opportunity through an upsell pop-up. This pop-up, which appears as a small modal or window, will be shown when the donor selects a one-time gift option at checkout. Within this pop-up, you can present the donor with the option to “Make it Monthly.”

On 4aGoodCause, you have the ability to offer this opportunity for one-time gifts ranging from $5 to $500. We display two monthly gift offers, with the larger offer being highlighted using color and a heart icon. The donor can then decide whether to switch to a monthly gift or proceed with their original one-time gift.

Currently, on 4aGoodCause, 3.4% of one-time donors who are presented with the “Make it Monthly’” offer are converting their one-time donations to monthly donations. Imagine if you can earn an extra 3 to 4 recurring donors for every 100 online donors. Since recurring donors give 42% more each year, increasing the number of donors who choose a monthly gift can have a huge impact on your revenue goals.

Element benefit: More recurring donation conversions

Monthly giving conversion pop-up offer

Ready to acquire more monthly givers?

 Are you ready to take your monthly giving program to the next level? Book a demo today to see how you can acquire more monthly givers and increase your nonprofit’s long-term fundraising success and retention goals. With the right tools and strategies, you can create sustainable and reliable revenue for your nonprofit.

Ronald Pruitt

Ronald Pruitt

Ronald is the President and Founder of 4aGoodCause, the fundraising CRM that makes recurring, monthly giving a breeze for small nonprofits.

For over 25 years, Ronald has had the joy of doing what he loves, building online solutions that make a difference in the world. He’s helped raise millions of dollars online for small nonprofits across the country. Connect with Ronald on LinkedIn.

Grow your monthly giving program with our resources

Learn More