5 Ways to Improve Your Donation Page and Increase Your Donation Rate

By Heartburst Digital, 28 February 2019

At Heartburst we exist to help organisations realise their full potential, and to bring the best out of those who support your cause. There are some really simple but effective ways to help your donors have a better user experience on your website with just a few improvements.

You may even find that some minor tune ups can increase your donation income by a percentage or two!


This might seem like an obvious statement, but you would be surprised how many organisations don’t get this quite right. Granted there is a lot of information that you want to convey on your website, but what is the first thing visitors or donors see when they land on your home page?

Make your Donate button stand out at the top of every page with a clear and obvious button, giving your donors the best chance to support your organisation.

You can reduce the noise of your website by making the most important things clear and obvious. 15 Seconds is the average time users will stay on a website before clicking away! So you have a lot to convey in the shortest amount of time before something else grabs your supporters attention.

Example - The Leprosy Mission

Did you know that Leprosy still affects millions of people worldwide?  However, thanks to the tireless work of organisations like The Leprosy Mission, that number is in steady decline.

Recently, we were engaged by The Leprosy Mission to review their donation user flow.  One key change we made was to simplify the home page 'above the fold' (the area of screen you see without scrolling down).

Can you find the donate button?

We were able to simplify the main menu into a single line, and reinforce the two key calls
to action: “Donate” and “Shop”.

And don't forget your mobile view!



‚ÄčThe team at Leprosy Mission reported a noticeable increase in online transactions shortly after these changes.


Once your supporter begins the donation process, lock the doors and close the windows!

What does this mean? It means that when your donor hits ‘Donate’, the donation screen has a simplified layout with no menu items or other options on it. This helps to keep your donor focussed on completing the donation.

Sure they can return to your website after this (we don’t really lock the doors ;), but the distraction free donation page means that your donors eye is fully on your mission, and in that moment you hold their entire attention.

What to do:

These sites provide information about what you’re giving to, with limited distraction and lots of open space.

Family Life provide great services in Melbourne's bayside suburbs. We recently worked with them to rebuild their website to show their extensive community service offerings.

In the above example, a grey donation panel appears over the website, eliminating all distractions. Notice there is a hint of the underlying website at the very top that the user can click back to if they wish.

OXFAM also do this well:



What not to do:

When you click on the below charity’s (name removed) donate button, it gives no information about what you're donating to and sends you away immediately to a PayPal screen. It’s not initially clear that you can donate with a card and many people who don’t have PayPal will quickly look at this option and exit, and you've lost them forever.

Donation links or buttons that don’t work when clicked may take you through too many screens and cause your potential donor to leave before giving. You want to make it as easy as possible for your supporters to give.

Reduce the distractions and cut down the steps to donate!


People love stories! It is proven that if you can engage your donor with a story, you have a better chance that they will connect with your organisation. 

Real stories about how you have made a difference to someone’s life resounds with donors. They want to know that their dollar is making a significant impact. When you connect someone's life being changed directly to your mission, donors will rally to support you.

Your story doesn’t have to be a full page, sometimes a well written paragraph can convey the difference a donation has made. Just like this example on the World Vision website: The family photo combined with the short story (bottom right) is a compelling reason to continue with the donation.


Many donors are sceptical about whether their donations go directly to the projects or different fundraising options, and may be hesitant to fully give. You want to create an atmosphere of calm and lead them through the donor experience.

One of the ways you can build confidence and trust in your donors, is to provide a pie chart or graph showing where fundraising is spent. The below graph still acknowledges that there are admin and fundraising costs, but shows donors that a good percentage of their donation is directly contributing to the project. This builds credibility with your donors, and will encourage them to give again knowing their donation is achieving measurable results.

Showing the memberships and networks your organisation is a part of contributes to your legacy and credibility. For example, showing a badge of your registration with an official charity commission or a larger governing body is a good addition to your donation page.


Save The Children value this concept so much that they’ve included the pie chart in the footer of every page on their site:

And again, World Vision do this well too, placing this panel just below the donation form:


Often as experts in the donation field, donors will look to you for direction. After the 2004 Indonesian Tsunami disaster, there were so many donations of goods/clothing given that it actually created more of a disaster for relief efforts.

Donors trust that you know where the need is, so guiding them through specific donation buttons and suggested amounts to give is very helpful.

Don’t be afraid to ask for big donations or set your default minimums to a higher number. For example, if you would normally set a minimum of $20 why not set your minimum to $30, or upping a $100 donation button to a $200 donation button can make a large difference to your overall campaign.

Simple tweaks to your donation page can make all the difference.
Below is a great example encapsulating many of the above techniques. Designed for the Epilepsy Foundation (concept only), it is also an example of how our new Generous App works for a donation page.

Creating seamless and healthy donation pages will take a lot of frustration out of navigating your site, and making a happy donor experience for your supporters will ensure they return again and again.

Heartburst helps clients everyday improve their donor experience and make Nonprofit websites more effective. If you need help getting your organisations donor page to look and feel great, we would love to hear from you.

Contact us at [email protected] or call 1300 428 778.   


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