Anedot Learn: Donation Page Best Practices to Increase Engagement and Conversions

In this Anedot Learn session, learn donation page best practices to maximize your fundraising efforts from our conversation with Ana Freund!
Donation Page Best Practices

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Anedot Learn session transcript ↓


Hey, this is Colleen from Anedot. Welcome to Anedot Learn where we help you grow your organization through giving.

Today we're joined by Ana, who is the Development Director at The Atlas Society.

She'll be sharing helpful tips on donation page best practices and how to brand your donation pages to help grow online giving. Ana, thank you so much for joining today.

We're so excited to have you.

I wanted to see too, could you share a little bit about what you do at the organization, what your role is, kind of what your day to day looks like?


Sure. Sure. Thanks Colleen for having me on. So I'm the Development Director here at an organization called The Atlas Society.

We’re a 33 year old philosophical think tank. And we are focused on introducing young and new audiences to Ayn Rand's literature.

So she's the profound author who wrote the book Atlas Shrugged. And we do that using a variety of creative methods, including animated videos, graphic novels, and in-person student events.

So that's my - a little bit about us. But yeah, we've been using Anedot for the last couple of years, and I just love the platform.

It's my assistant, Clara, and I just whip these pages together. It's just so easy for us to kind of put out a branded campaign.

So we've found a lot of value in using the platform.

What should be the primary message or theme to convey through the donation page's branding?

Primary Theme For Donation Page Best Practices


Awesome. Yeah, I was excited to have you on because when we looked at your donation pages in the past or, you know, sometimes I'll see them in your emails and things like that, they're always so beautifully designed and they have such a cohesive theme.

So I was excited when you said yes, and I've put together just kind of a guide on, you know, if someone is maybe new to using the platform or maybe new to branding their donation pages, just kind of give them a crash course of what it looks like.

The first question that I had is what should be the primary message or primary theme to convey throughout one's donation page?


On a primary like general operating page. I mean, I think you need to explain where their support is going to go.

So on ours, you'll find a link to our annual report.

You know, if somebody wants to, you know, they're thinking, they're on the verge of making that donation, giving them a place to understand where their support is going, explaining, you know, if there's a match, that their gift might apply for a match, then I think explaining that on the donate page can also help to elevate that.

How can the use of colors and visual elements align with the organization's identity to create a cohesive branding experience for the supporter?

Donation Page Best Practices Colors


Definitely. So how can an organization use colors and visual nonprofit branding elements to align the organization's identity to create that cohesive branding experience for the supporter?


Mm hmm. I mean, they they need to know that once they've left your website, that they're still inside of your organization's platform.

So that's how I use a lot of just all of the images and logos that the donors are used to seeing on our website and inside of our emails. I just keep them rolling through via the donation pages so that they know that that's still our page.

And I mean everybody is engaged when they get to a platform or a page on an application or something that is beautiful, you're obviously drawn to it immediately.

So you don't want it to look like the web page that was designed in like the early 2000s, or late 90s, so trying to avoid that at all costs.


Definitely, yeah. On y’alls pages, I've noticed your logo, whether it be, you know, your main logo or maybe for an event or a specific event, you'll always make sure your presets are cohesive with your logo’s brand and the colors, all of those hex codes and things like that.

And even the receipts. I've noticed you guys customize the receipts too.

It all kind of flows nicely. And each page has, like I said, a very cohesive experience, which I think makes all the difference for a supporter.


Mm hmm. I think so too.

→ Learn how to set up a donation page that will inspire others to give!

What are some effective ways to incorporate the organization's logo/tagline/themes into the donation page design?

Donation Page Best Practices Logo Placement


Awesome. So what are some specific ways to incorporate the organization's logo, tagline, themes into the donation page design as a whole?

And again, I know you guys, you know you'll have your main donation page and then maybe specific fundraising events or initiatives and things like that, but any kind of tips in that arena?


Yeah. I'll go ahead and just share my screen. That could be a neat way to do this.

So this I guess, for starters, this is what our primary donation page looks like. We use this. There's a variety of ways to allow your your logo or image to pop up in the background of the, you know, the campaign page.

So in this case, we've kind of blown our logo up, but then we just kind of restate our mission.

Like I said, we outlined the match that our trustees have committed to this year and then link to our annual report. So I think really important to include the opportunity to set up a recurring gift.

And then any time that you can, you know, linking back this header image just to your website so that they aren’t lost by the time they've made it to this page. If they do decide to go back to your website, I would jump into sharing.

So one of the ways that we use Anedot is that we build out specific campaigns to support different projects.

So this project is for one of our graphic novels that we are working on right now. So I've been fundraising around this for the last 12 months or something and it will be released at the end of this year.

So in this case, I'm explaining a little bit about the book. I've pulled just a page from the book to create the entire background.

And then in this case, I don't offer the opportunity to support at these different levels. So in this case, I'm setting it up that if you donate this specific amount, this call to action is really specific, and then I'm providing them with value.

So I'm providing them with the opportunity to have their name listed inside of the book. Among the other people who have also supported this specific book. So that is kind of a neat thing.

I’ll show one more like book project, because this has just been like so really, so easy for us to set this up.

You'll see again, I've just like changed the background so that what is this called, like the tile setting so that the cover of the book is repeated and then again, this is a really specific call to action, which for my donor pool has been super successful in, you know, in working to get people to commit.

They love being asked for a specific amount, just not not being so ambiguous. So yeah, those are kind of those are two of my favorite like book pages that we have developed.

How can storytelling be utilized on the donation page to evoke emotions and encourage potential donors to connect with the cause?

Storytelling For Donation Page Best Practices


Those are awesome.

The first one that you showed I was going to ask about how to utilize nonprofit storytelling on donation pages because a lot of times, you know, that can evoke emotion and encourage potential donors to really connect with the cause.

And I think that first page that you showed and the second one as well, but that first one, you had all the different images and you kind of explained specifically what kind of the book was about, how they can be involved, how their name could be inside of the book.

So that's really cool. And we, you know, we really appreciate when we see that done well.

When you're building those pages and you're thinking about telling a story on those pages, do you have kind of any go to tips when building those pages?


I mean, the graphics that we're using are really like they build the foundation of all of these pages.

So that kind of guides what the rest of the design is going to look like. Yeah, I mean, whatever kind of assets that you can use that that's what I get started with.

→ Check out our free webinar on why nonprofits must place more emphasis on an underrated, yet very powerful part of the storytelling process: storylistening.

What strategies can be employed to ensure that the donation page is accessible to a wide range of users?

Donation Page Best Practices For Accessibility


Yeah. Yeah. An image tells a lot. So using that capability to add the background image I think is huge because it definitely conveys a lot.

With that, what strategies can be employed to ensure that donation pages are accessible to a wide range of users?

So anyone that might come across this page, what strategies do you implement there?


I mean, giving people the opportunity obviously to donate via PayPal or bank transfer has been huge.

That's such a great aspect to these pages and then making sure that everything is mobile friendly.

All of us who are creating this kind of content, we're obviously doing it on our computers or on our laptops and just always double and triple checking that it does work on somebody's cell phone because that is where a lot of this is taking place.

How can the language and tone of the donation page's content reinforce the organization's mission and values?

Donation Page Best Practices Language and Tone


Absolutely. Very smart. So when building those pages, how can the language and the tone of the donation page’s content reinforce the organization's mission and values there?


I mean, in a variety of ways. I think that, you know, you have to think too, like at the point of somebody reaching this page, they've made 60% of the decision to either support or purchase a ticket or buy a book, whatever you have it set up to do. So yeah, just walking them through that last stage of the decision.

So what does this look like? Where will this go? And yeah, creating specific pages for specific projects, I think is absolutely key.

It tells people, you know, okay, this is where, I'm in the right spot. I'll share two last pages I want to share. We also have an in-person student conference, and then we also have our annual fundraising gala.

So this one was our student conference that just happened like two weeks ago. So this one was. Yeah, this is a ticketed page. Again, these amounts are really specific.

Obviously, somebody could support, you know, with any sized gift. It's always important to provide people with the opportunity to give $100 to an event, even if they're not planning to attend.

But then linking to - I think it is okay to provide outside links. So like I said, our general operating page, I provided a link to an annual report because like they’re 60% there.

They're almost making that decision. In this case, I want them to know exactly what each of these sponsorship benefits include.

So, yeah, linking to those benefits, you know, linking to outside videos I think is okay as long as it's opening into a new tab that you're not getting them completely lost.

But and then this is our gala. So all of these pages look like so different. I don't even have a specific style.

I don't think, except for just like, using as much color as I possibly can. But this one, this is actually, this is a Campaign, I believe.

So this is not an Action Page, but this provides people with the opportunity to choose the quantity. So they might buy a ticket for themselves and their wives, and then also a student sponsorship.

So, yeah, I mean, again, if they're 60% of the way there, they can, they can reach out, they can ask questions, they can pivot to donating by mail if need be.

But you know, and then just always linking back to your website that this header image allows them to navigate back there.

→ Learn how to manage your donor data from our conversation with Cody Griffin!

When you look at the donation pages from other organizations, what are the biggest mistakes you see regularly, and how would you correct them?

Biggest Mistakes For Donation Pages


Definitely. Yeah. And I know we've talked offline about how excited we are for the Events feature because y’all are using Campaigns right now to have the multiple items or multiple tickets, which is fine.

But it'll be wonderful to have an Action Page where you can really include, you know, a location, they can select multiple tickets and then you'll still have that very cohesive look of the Action Page, even though you guys are killing it with even with the older product, with Campaigns, you know, that's a beautifully designed page.

So it's really awesome to see. And thanks for sharing those pages and giving real tangible examples. They're great.

So when you look at other organizations’ donation pages, if you do, what are some mistakes that you see regularly and how would you correct them?


And I do look at other people's donation pages often. I yeah, I mean, some of these pages, once you navigate outside of the organization's actual URL address, I mean, it just doesn't feel like you're still on their platform.

So, I mean, our website is just like really, really colorful. We really lean into our brand colors on every page.

So, you know, providing that same experience when they make it to this actual transaction page is just like, it's just crucial.

So yeah, and I think that not setting up, you know, a recurring gift option or setting up the upsell, you know, so when appropriate, obviously on some of those Campaigns where I've asked them to buy a $1,500 dollar ticket, I'm not asking them to set that up monthly.

But when it is appropriate, I think that, you know, having that's all available to you, there's no reason not to set it up.


Yeah, absolutely. We recently recently released there's the pre-conversion upgrade that you guys have used for sure.

And then there's post-conversion upgrade too. I don't know if you guys have played with that, but it's really cool because you know say they convert on one donation page, you can present them the opportunity to convert, you know, on a different initiative, a different donation page as well.

So you know, as before it was kind of that recurring giving ask like you're saying, but now we have that post-conversion upgrade as well that is brand new and we've seen people do really interesting things where, you know, it could be maybe a lead page and they'll sign up for an email sign up and then be presented with multiple donation pages that they can choose from.

So that's something that is really interesting to play with and experiment with as well. But that is smart, you know, on those donation pages when it is appropriate to definitely add the recurring ask or, you know, a different post-conversion upgrade as well.

When you're transitioning from one organization asset to another, like an email marketing appeal to a donation page, what do you do to make sure that feels like a consistent experience?

Donation Page Best Practices Consistency


And you kind of touched on the next question, I was going to ask, when you're transitioning from one organization asset to another, say an email marketing appeal to a donation page, how do you make sure and what do you do to really ensure this feels consistent to the donor or to the supporter?

So it doesn't feel, you know, kind of like two different organizations? Or how do you keep that cohesive feel?

You mentioned it's colorful and, you know, you guys have a certain aesthetic and it's recognizable to the supporter. But any other tips and tricks there?


Yeah, I mean, at this point, too, I think that our supporters are familiar with the Anedot URL being what is popping up for them. So there are other groups that are setting up their gala tickets that are getting set up on Eventbrite or other platforms like Zeffy.

And, you know, when you're lacking that cohesiveness and you've got PayPal pages set up and yeah, what’s like the Giving Tuesday page, I just think that using your platform for all of these pages - I set one up this spring.

I was holding a small tequila tasting in California and I was like, all right, everyone needs to pay $50 to come to this event. And I just like put it together and ticketed them that way.

But yeah, because I do, you know, in these email campaigns, I often direct people directly to my Anedot campaign. I don't send them to my website to then click on another button because I just really want to eliminate all of those barriers that maybe they make it to the page on my website and then they get lost and they get distracted.

So yeah, I think linking directly to just a beautifully thought out Campaign or Action Page is the way to go.

What methods can be used to build trust and credibility on the donation page to alleviate donor concerns about security and legitimacy?

Donation Page Best Practices For Trust and Credibility


Yeah, definitely goes far for sure. The branding and the design plays such a huge role and you may have touched on the next question as well, but what methods can be used to really build trust and credibility on the donation page to alleviate donor concerns about security and legitimacy?

You know, so many people are concerned that, you know, maybe the link isn't secure or things like that.

What do you guys do to ensure that your donors are comfortable?


Yeah. Yeah, I will say that, you know, the form itself just works really well when it is added to the website as a button versus being embedded.

I think the donors actually prefer to open up into a new tab when completing these transactions and including your organization's address across the bottom, like I said, including an email in case there is a problem.

But really I think providing them with comfort after they have made that donation.

So getting that immediate, you know, perfect, perfectly branded thank you receipt is really key like yeah I always edit these thank you receipts.

It doesn't just say “thanks for your donation to the Atlas Society,” it says like we got it. You just sent us $100 to support this specific book. Like we're all over it, you know?

And another one quick thing on the thank you receipt that we have found to be really useful after somebody goes to support a specific publication and sometimes we'll provide it to them as a PDF. And that immediate gratification is that's linked inside of that thank you receipt.

You're able to actually provide those external links inside of that receipt and I think that that's, that's been really useful.

Yes, I can get that set up inside of my CRM, but there is still a little bit of a delay. So I think that's a really neat feature too.

→ Here's our ultimate guide on how to write a thank you letter for donations to show gratitude and build relationships with your supporters!

What role can compelling visuals, such as images or videos, play in capturing visitors' attention and motivating them to donate?

Images and Videos For Donation Page Best Practices


Yeah, it seems like it goes far.

I mean, I know even personally if I donate and then I receive a personalized receipt right after, it kind of eases any fear or concern there, especially, you know, we can use tags and it will customize the first name or the last name, which you guys do. And I think that goes far as well.

Just to ease any fear there, which is huge. And so with that, what role can compelling visuals such as images or videos play in capturing visitors attention?

I know you showed a few pages and the images are beautiful and you know, the colors and things like that, but do you guys ever use video marketing to tell a story or anything like that?


Yes. I'll share one more.




Yeah, I will share our - this is our Giving Tuesday page. So here I included, you know, this countdown timer, as we all know, Giving Tuesday is like just such an important day for for fundraising.

So in this case, I tell a much longer story. This one is a lot heavier in text because their donors are just inundated with requests on this day.

So really pitching a case to support you in particular. So, we've linked this organizational called a rip reel, but it's just kind of a four minute video just explaining exactly what we do with our donor support and linking that directly, embedding it into this page, you know, telling this story, it is emotional.

It does pull on the heartstrings of the people who are trying to make these decisions on this very busy day for supporting. And again, reiterating this match if your board is committed to a match, especially on Giving Tuesday.

I think a match is absolutely key. And then offering them the chance to set up the recurring.

So yeah, videos and graphics are super important and then the logo being in the background just again reinforces that they're in the right spot.

How can the donation process be streamlined and user-friendly to optimize conversion rates and increase overall donor engagement?

Donation Page Best Practices and Donor Engagement


Absolutely, absolutely. And even on your page I can see it's very thought out even the order of things.

You know my next question was going to be how can the donation process be streamlined?

So it's very user friendly to optimize conversion rates and increase overall donor engagement. So, you know, in building those donation pages, how do you think, how will the donor, the supporter, perceive this page?

And how do I make sure, you know, they don't get lost in actually looking at what's on the page to make sure they actually do convert that donation?


I mean, I think that the design of all of these pages, whether it is centered or if it's off to the right or to the left, it's still it's keeping you really focused and engaged down the track of what you're supposed to know as you're making that decision.

So, yeah, yeah. And being able to log in, I mean, these donors who are giving on these online platforms all the time, they have sign in credentials and that I know, helps quite a few of them to just jump right in and make that gift again.


I'm glad and I know, you know, even in looking at your page, I ask that question because it's very apparent that the way that the video and the story and everything is ordered, it just naturally flows and tells the story well.

And it is great that, you know, the donors, if they've logged in before, if they've used the platform before, they can just click the amount and click donate as well as Apple Pay and Google Pay items like that as well.

And yeah, it will be interesting as more people use upgrades in that post-conversion upgrade, how, you know, if someone donate or someone submits their submission on a lead form that will flow onto the donation page as well.

So it's interesting to see that flow as well and you know how that’s set up.


I’ll have to make sure we're utilizing that aspect now. You have some questioning if I have it set up.

→ Learn all about our Action Page Builder - how to build an Action Page, how to edit your automated email receipts, how to share your donation page, and more!

Last key takeaways for donation page best practices

Donation Page Best Practices


It’s brand new, it's brand new. So I know you guys is pre-conversion for sure. I've seen that, but post-conversion is new, so if you haven't played with it, you absolutely should because there's a lot to be done there.

But this has been awesome. Before we end it, do you have any last key takeaways for people that watch this that aspire to create pages like yours or and they're maybe just getting started?

Any last takeaways for them?


Just play around with it. Honestly. I mean, you we've there's so many pages that are inside of our account that have never been used because I wanted to see what it looked like.

I wanted to test it out. I wanted to train a team member.

So I think that, yeah, I mean, it does take a little bit of, of time in practice, but play around with it and just, you know, don't hesitate to use Anedot

They've got a lot of great features.


Awesome, thank you. We love to hear that.

Thank you so much for coming on Ana and just sharing your wealth of knowledge because honestly every time we see one of y'all's pages, we're always so impressed.

So thank you for taking the time to come talk with us.


Thanks for your help with helping us get things set up Colleen.


No problem.

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