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Downes Murray International News

Make online giving quick and easy

Thanks to our digitised world, we apparently have an attention span of eight seconds – which is less than the goldfish’s nine-second stretch!  It’s challenging enough to engage people with fleeting interest – so let’s ensure that these efforts aren’t wasted by dysfunctional donation pages, writes Marisol Gutierrez.

You thought that funding was the only thing that NPOs are competing for? Turns out, the real competition is for attention. This is seriously significant since interest and emotional engagement are what get supporters into your corner in the first place – before they click on the donate button. 

You may have invested heavily and ensured that your site has fantastic images, intuitive design, great stories and, of course, shows the impact of your valuable work.

But the question is, what happens when people click on your ‘Donate’ button? That is assuming, of course, that this all-important button appears prominently on every page – which it should.

Is the potential donor confronted by a wall of text and banking details? Perhaps a wish list of things that are needed? Confusing information? Unfortunately, these types of pages do little to inspire giving.

They can make it seem like giving a gift will take too much time or be a painful process – or both.

We’re dealing with limited attention spans, remember? We’re also dealing with overflowing inboxes, information overload and dozens of other demands for the donor’s attention.

Where to start
But, on the flip side, does your NPO’s donation page make giving look easy? Perhaps it even makes it appear inviting and exciting! (Yes, that can be achieved!)

So, wondering where to start? To plan the ideal donation page and process on your website, consider these top tips:

  1. Place a ‘donate’ button in a prominent position on every page.
  2. Include a giving motivator/call to action on the donate page.
  3. Within the body – or at the end – of inspiring stories about your work, include a link straight to your donate page.
  4. Ensure that your donate page also looks and feels like your NPO, not another site. Branding needs to be consistent.
  5. Ensure your Donate page looks as great – and works as well – on mobile.
  6. Include suggested gift amounts and an open option (‘My own amount’).
  7. Images or examples of what specific gift amounts can make possible are motivational - but ensure that they are credible.
  8. Offer various donate options: credit card, debit order, EFT.
  9. Ensure immediate acknowledgement.
  10. Acknowledgement of a gift is not necessarily equal to a thank you. Ensure that the donor receives a proper thank you letter that is appropriate for the amount of the gift.
  11. What about asking the donor to opt in for news from you in future?

If your donate page communicates as well as the rest of your website; if it is easy to navigate, easy to understand and makes it seem simple to donate, you’re on the right track.

Need some inspiration? Check out the website and donation page of charity:water to see what excellence looks like:

Online fundraising at a glance

According to the 2018 Global NGO Technology Report, which is based on the survey results of 5 353 NGOs around the world:

  • 92% of NGOs worldwide have a website. Of these, 87% are mobile-compatible.
  • 72% of NGOs globally accept donations on their website.
  • 33% of NGOs utilise an online peer-to-peer fundraising service.
  • 41% of NGOs use encryption technology to protect their data and communications.
  • 45% of NGOs use Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) software to track donations and manage communications with donors and supporters. Of these, 64% use a cloud based CRM.

Closer to home, 74% of NGOs in Africa have a website, of which 87% are mobile-compatible. However, only 55% of Africa’s NGOs accept online donations on their websites.

This report also stressed that NGOs are in dire need of modernising how they manage and secure their organisation’s data. In an age of increased cybersecurity threats, enhanced data management and security is imperative.

DMI offers fundraising website audits to non-profit organisations, which include recommendations for improvements where necessary. Interested? Email us at

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