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How to Create a Great Giving Experience 365 Days a Year

Oct 2023 - READ IN 5 MINUTES

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We live in a digital age where everything is at our fingertips or just a few clicks away–booking a hotel, buying a new pair of shoes, downloading the latest NY Times bestseller. Making a donation to support a cause or institution we care about should be every bit as easy as ordering from Etsy. Why? Because the more complicated the online giving process is, the less likely donors are to complete the transaction. Even those motivated donors who have every intention of making a gift can get sidelined by a frustrating donor experience. That’s why savvy fundraisers focus on delivering a seamless, user-friendly online giving experience–365 days a year. 

Schools that use online fundraising platforms like GiveCampus for Giving Days and crowdfunding campaigns know the value of a frictionless donor experience—and these solutions are great for annual appeals and other initiatives, but what about everyday giving? 

Making it easy for donors to give online is something you should do EVERY day of the year—whether you have an active campaign or not. And you can, when you have an easily accessible, and frictionless giving form front and center on your edu website. Once a prospective donor lands on your homepage, it’s up to you to make the rest of the journey fast, easy, and meaningful.

If you don’t, you could be leaving dollars on the table. 

According to data from GiveCampus partners, roughly 30 percent of online gifts come directly from visits to a school’s website. Not a social post. Not a direct link to a campaign page. Almost one-third of gifts begin at a school’s website. You want to make a donor’s journey from your homepage to your giving form as fast and frictionless as possible.

WEBINAR: Fast and Frictionless

Imagine a potential donor visiting your school’s website, eager to make a contribution. Perhaps they saw an email, received a direct mail promotion, or are simply feeling charitable during the giving season. But, as they navigate your website they encounter a maze of confusing menus, slow-loading pages, and a giving form that seems designed to frustrate rather than facilitate a gift.

This scenario highlights the importance of prioritizing user experience (UX) when it comes to online giving. It’s not just about having a beautiful website or a well-written mission statement. According to HubSpot, 88 percent of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad user experience. This same logic can be applied to your donor base. It’s important to ensure every interaction, from the moment the donor lands on your homepage to the final click confirming their gift, is smooth, intuitive, and memorable. 

So, how do you achieve this? 

Below you’ll learn some of the fundamental user experience principles that underpin a great everyday online giving experience. For a more detailed overview of how to design an online giving form that converts, scroll to the end for additional resources including a special video from GiveCampus Director of Partner Success, Casey Fish. 

For now, let’s dive into some UX basics. 

User Experience Basics: Designing the Path to Seamless Online Giving

You are likely already familiar with the concept of user experience. In short, UX revolves around all aspects of a user’s experience with a company, its services, and its products. According to Nielson Norman Group, “The first requirement for an exemplary user experience is to meet the exact needs of the customer without fuss or bother.”

When it comes to online giving, the needs of the donor are to complete a donation quickly and easily. Optimizing your website using some of the principles below can help you create an online giving experience that allows them to do so. 

1. Clear and Intuitive Navigation

One of the fundamental aspects of a great giving experience is ensuring that donors can easily navigate your website homepage to find the giving form. Consider the following points: 

  • Fewer Clicks: How many clicks does it take a user to land on the giving form? Ideally, it should be just one.
  • Intuitive Menus: If you don’t include a direct link to your giving form on your homepage, use clear and logically organized menus that guide donors to the giving section without confusion.
  • Prominent Call-to-Action (CTA) Button – Place a noticeable “Give Now” or “Support Us” CTA button on your homepage and other relevant pages.

2. Accessibility

Accessibility is an essential consideration to take into account to help all donors, including those with disabilities, participate in your giving experience. Below are some key website elements to cover as you think through making your website accessible. 

  • Alt Text: Use descriptive alt text for images to assist users with visual impairments. Screen reading devices can read the alt text provided and help someone understand an image’s information and placement if they are unable to see it. 
  • Keyboard Accessibility: Ensure that your website and giving form are fully navigable using a keyboard alone. This helps individuals who cannot use a mouse still interact with your site.
  • Text Readability: Choose readable fonts, appropriate font sizes, and sufficient color contrast to aid users with visual impairments. Beyond accessibility, cramming too many fields onto a giving form could hurt your conversion rate. 

Please note that this is by no means an exhaustive list of how to make your website accessible. You can find more guidelines and resources for web accessibility at

3. Mobile Responsiveness

With the increasing use of smartphones, ensuring that your website and giving form are mobile-friendly is non-negotiable. In fact, GiveCampus saw a five percent increase in conversion after we implemented a mobile-first design for our Giving Forms. Here are some factors to address when thinking through the mobile experience of your website:

  • Responsive Design: Implement a responsive web design that is able to adapt to various screen sizes and orientations. Your homepage navigation, online giving link, and giving form should all be just as easy to find on mobile devices as on desktop.
  • Minimize Pop-ups: Pop-ups that cover the entire screen can be especially disruptive on mobile devices. If you do use pop-ups, make sure they are easy to dismiss and don’t interfere greatly with the user’s experience. 
  • Touch-Friendly Navigation: Ensure that your navigation menus, buttons, and links are large enough and spaced appropriately for touch interaction. This makes it easier for users to tap on elements and avoid the frustration of accidentally clicking the wrong link.

For more tips on how to optimize your giving form for mobile and improve donor conversion rates, check out our free ebook: Getting More Donors over the Finish Line.

Dive Deeper into Giving Form Optimizations

Above you learned some of the basics for improving the user experience of your website and donor’s entrance to your online giving experience. While many of these principles can apply to your giving form, there are some key factors to consider that relate specifically to a giving form experience. 

Below you’ll find some additional resources to help you optimize your giving form and deliver a great giving experience 365 days a year. 

How to Optimize Your Giving Experience from Your Home Page 

This 15-minute video with Director of Partner Success Casey Fish walks viewers through how to optimize your everyday online giving experiences and includes some key giving form best practices

Watch Now

Giving Form Grader 

Take our one-minute test to see how your current giving form measures up. Pass or fail, we’ll show you easy ways to boost your conversion rates. 

Giving Form Grader

Outstanding in Your Fields: How to Level up Your Giving Form Game

Learn some giving form optimization tips and best practices from Patrick Stanley–Senior Director of Digital Engagement and Communication at UVA. 

Watch Now

Elevate Your Year-Round Giving Experience with GiveCampus

To learn more about how GiveCampus can be your partner in elevating your online giving experience, schedule a call with a fundraising expert.

Talk to a Fundraising Pro