May/June 2006

Convio5 Helps Nonprofits Use Best Practices in Quick or Customized Forms

The March/April issue of Convio Connection introduced Convio's newest offering, Convio5. Based on lessons learned from several years of working with more than 550 customers that collectively have used the Internet to raise hundreds of millions of dollars, Convio5 offers unprecedented flexibility in shaping the online donation process.

A key feature of Convio5 is a set of more than a dozen donation form templates optimized for different types of giving such as monthly sustainer, installment payment, gift designation, membership, gift membership and honorary donation. This set of templates allows any organization to quickly publish a donation form without extensive customization or consultation from a vendor — just a few clicks, and the form is ready to take donations.

One of the best parts: Each template incorporates the basic best practices that have been most effective for Convio's customers. Organizations can activate these forms in minutes, taking advantage of the type of form that best meets their specific online fundraising needs while resting assured that their forms will be as effective as possible.

Best practices for online donation forms

While every organization has a different mission and a different approach to fundraising, those with the most successful online programs typically employ some basic principles. Here are just 10 of the many best practices that any organization should use when creating an online donation form.

  1. Remove extraneous navigation. Lower abandonment rates by removing unnecessary links.

  2. Use a clear and concise form. Help donors complete the form as quickly and easily as possible by providing clear and meaningful labels for all fields, making obvious which fields are required and which are optional, and avoiding busy or cluttered forms.

  3. Provide contextual help. Ensure that donors understand not only what is required of them, but also why the information is requested, how it will be used, or other contextual information by providing short "help" comments with each field.

  4. Pre-populate forms. Increase the speed of form completion and reduce the chance of typographical errors by pre-populating form information when the donor already is in your database.

  5. Offer varied giving methods. Provide donors with the flexibility to give in the method they are most comfortable with by offering a variety of giving methods. For example, allow constituents to pay down large amounts over time through installments.

  6. Offer varied giving levels. Encourage higher giving levels by suggesting donation amounts and provide multiple ways for donors to support your organization by offering different levels and options across campaigns and forms.

  7. Take a campaign approach. Raise the click-through and completed donation rates for a given appeal by repeating the ask request to the target audience while removing those who have already donated.

  8. Use consistent branding. Provide a higher level of confidence in the donor by clearly branding forms with your organization's look and feel, and by making them consistent with other Web interactions the donor may have with your organization.

  9. Add auto-responders. Reinforce the donor's affinity with your organization by sending an immediate email follow-up once the donation has been completed. This also enables you to promote other opportunities to support the organization.

  10. Ask for opt-in. Keep the donor engaged by allowing him or her to easily opt in for future communications from the organization.

Online donation forms: quick or customized

Convio5 donation form templates provide a starting point for any fundraising campaign using the formats proven to work best. Organizations without the time or desire to customize their donation forms can choose from these pre-configured templates that include best practices, and quickly post a form to their Web site.

If desired and as time allows, organizations easily can modify forms with wording and branding specific to their organization. They also can build more effective donation forms and campaigns using options such as changing language, adding questions, customizing branding and design, changing the order of donation fields, choosing single versus multi-page forms and more.

To find out more about Convio5, visit www.convio.com/convio5.


Convio5 Helps Nonprofits Use Best Practices in Quick or Customized Forms | Convio