Neon CRM’s Donation Forms Have Best Practices Built-In

6 min read
October 11, 2021
Jeanette Russell
Director of Product Marketing

Nearly 80% of people who visit donation pages do not give, according to the 2020 M+R Benchmark report. This means most organizations are only realizing 20% of their online revenue because the majority (80%!) of potential donors don’t complete the donation form. That’s A LOT of money left on the table! 

Our team set out to design new donation forms with best practices built-in, so you can increase your conversion rate through a better donor experience.

The Big Take-Away: Donor Experience Still Drives Page Conversions

Our research confirmed that most potential donors are deterred by poor donor experiences, specifically in the area known as “donor friction”. 

According to research from our friends at NextAfter, most donors drop off for a few specific reasons: too many steps, asking for too much non-essential information and distractions on the donation page, such as calls to action.

With donor friction in mind, we built our new donation forms to increase conversions through a better donor experience. Let’s dive into the details of 9 big enhancements that will help you build better donor experiences, and in turn, more donations to your nonprofit..

1. Short, 3-Step Process. Not a Long Form.

Research from NextAfter found that visually shorter forms increased conversions by almost 40%. Forms which appear easy to fill out have higher completion rates. Asking for non-essential information, such as a phone number, can also decrease conversion rates. 

We baked in powerful best practices to convert more of your visitors into donors by creating a clear, multi-step process which appears shorter (and less work) than a traditional long form. To ensure a shorter form, consider asking for non-essential information on other types of sign-up forms. 

Additionally, we know the experience plays a heavy role in creating a stronger emotional connection between the donor and the organization. Notice the first step on the image above asks for the giving amount. This prompts the donor to activate emotions of giving at the start of the giving experience, not the end, to fuel the intent to give. 

2. Optimize Recurring Giving

Monthly gifts are perhaps the best way to generate reliable revenue from your constituents. We’re proud that our customers average $64/monthly in recurring revenue – that’s nearly $800 year! 

An easy way to increase your monthly revenue is through a simple design tweak. A test by NextAfter found that having the monthly gift tab highlighted as the default increased recurring donor conversion by 366%! 

To encourage recurring gifts, we included the option to highlight “monthly giving” as the default gift type, including pre-filled suggested giving amounts. Personalize the experience by tailoring the gift amounts between one-time and recurring gifts. 

3. Expanded Payment Choices, Including Mobile Payments

Reducing donor friction also means providing the user with popular payment options. A poll from PayPal showed that 40% of donors would not have given to a nonprofit if PayPal wasn’t an option. With mobile donations on the rise, it’s critical to offer a seamless way to accept mobile gifts. 

Neon CRM’s donation forms offer popular payment options such as PayPal, and ACH, with Apple Pay and Google Pay coming later this year. 

4. Reinforce Reasons to Give  

Did you know that adding five short paragraphs to answer the question of why the donation is needed has been shown to increase the amount of donations received? NextAfter’s test saw a 150% increase! 

Help your supporters cross the finish line by reminding them why they are about to give. Remember to only provide content that directly supports the act of giving. 

Our drag and drop form builder includes a dedicated content box, background image, and video to help you tell your unique story. Create a crisp, compelling and one-of-a-kind form which moves people to action!

5. Donor Covered Fees

The modern donor gets it. They understand there are real-world costs to achieving your mission. They also likely tip someone every week, if not daily. Your donors are happy to chip in, if asked. 

While a tip doesn’t necessarily increase conversions, it will help you secure more dollars. When presented with the option to cover processing fees, we found that 42% of visitors opt to cover the fee.

Neon CRM’s donation forms help you raise more by giving donors a choice to cover processing fees. Personalize the experience by controlling if they see a checked or unchecked box to cover transaction fees.

6. Mobile Experience

It’s likely that close to half of your gifts are made on a mobile device or tablet. For Neon CRM customers, 55% of visitors use a mobile phone or tablet. Donor friction is amplified on mobile devices because of the smaller screen size and tendency to want to get things done faster. 


Each form is 100% mobile responsive out of the box, which offers a consistent, reliable experience on any device. Our donation forms automatically adjust to your donors devices, so you can avoid donor friction due to a poorly formatted page on a mobile device.

7. Accessibility

In addition to optimizations for mobile devices, fundraisers must also consider visitors with accessibility needs when building their donation forms. While accessibility is sometimes considered in the context of visitors accessing a website with assistive technologies, it is often not enough. Ethical design benefits all users by implementing best practices that make positive donor experiences accessible to everyone

Neon CRM’s donation forms have been created with ethical design best practices at the forefront, including smart recommendations for color contrast on buttons and other user interface elements, labels and references on HTML tags for screen-reading devices, optimizations for keyboard navigation, and more. Expect our future product updates to deliver a better, more accessible experience to your audience.

8. Personalized Campaigns

A popular request from our customers is the ability to create personalized donation pages for the same fundraising campaign. Imagine offering different end-of-year fundraising pages specifically for individuals, companies or individuals & companies. 

Quickly develop personalized donation pages for individuals and companies, around the same campaign, using custom fields and content that only appears for a defined audience.

9. Modern, Branded Templates

Confusion and distraction are primary reasons people get lost in the process. A top offender is the beloved navigation bar, which attempts to look exactly like your website. It’s understandable why so many nonprofits still use this approach, as it used to be a best practice. 

Research from NextAfter found a 200% lift in donations by removing the navigation bar for one organization. Additionally, calls to action and content which don’t support the giving experience can add to confusion.

Easily create donation forms using our drag and drop functionality and built-in templates, including a library of stock images. Rather than scraping your web navigation bar, you can set your own brand color and logo that match your unique online presence, without distractions.

Want to learn more? Watch our quick walk-through video:


9 responses to “Neon CRM’s Donation Forms Have Best Practices Built-In”

  1. Judy Pate says:

    Love the new format. Looking forward to creating some new forms! It looks like we will we have to create new forms for any existing ones to get the new look.

  2. Alice Lyn says:

    Is Paypal a payment options across Neon now, such as for events? Do I need to do anything to enable Paypay as a payment option?

  3. I would caution you on prepopulating the monthly gift option on a regular one time giving form, especially at year end. Donors may not realize that their form is set to start a monthly gift and now they have to contact you to change their gift, Not a good donor experience. It’s my experience that UNLESS you’re directing donors specifically to a form with monthly preset, that you always want donors to consciously click into this. You want them to commit early on and have a good experience and you’ll keep them much longer. I recommend creating a separate recurring only form to make it an easier process.

    • Tim Sarrantonio says:

      Great tips, Erica! This is why we’re excited to work with you on our recurring giving course.

  4. Angeline says:

    We created a new donation form and tied it to an existing campaign. We’re observing that donations coming in thru the new forms are not being tied to the campaign. In fact, it is tied to no campaigns. This is causing us to have to manually update. How might one solve this?

  5. Megan says:

    Are the new forms including the Google Analytics code? I’m not seeing any visits to those pages.

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