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Fundraising Tips

3 advanced techniques to increase fundraising for your next campaign.

September 27, 2023

Somewhere between 60 and 80% of potential donors start filling out donation forms, but won’t complete them.1,2 Why? Well, donors often struggle to fill in their information. They get distracted or change their mind part way through or just find the form too long and give up. Lucky for us and you, the fix is pretty simple and straightforward: Donation forms that your donors will actually complete are simple, straightforward, and require little to no effort on the donor’s part.

Before we go any further, you and your nonprofit need to know how many donors are leaving your donation forms incomplete. To figure this out, you need to calculate your conversion rate. We talk about conversion rate in more detail in How to turn your website visitors into donors. But, as a quick reminder:

Conversion rate measures the number of visitors who donated/signed up as a percentage of the total number of users that visited your site. The higher your conversion rate, the more effective your content. In the marketing world, conversions refer to the moment when a user responds to a call to action.

To calculate your conversion rate:

You might already know a few tips and tricks for turning visitors into donors (AKA: a great conversion rate on your website), but this article talks about three (3) advanced techniques that use data-driven personalization to help your nonprofit up the conversion rate on its donation forms.

  1. Automation and peronalization.
  2. Segmentation and targeting.
  3. A/B testing.

And don’t worry! They’re not as complicated as they sound.

1. Simplify your nonprofit’s donation forms with a balance of automation and personalization.

There are a lot of online tools and software available for nonprofits to use that are designed to automate and personalize your donor communications. Or, you can use Zeffy’s 100% free fundraising platform which is already packed with automation and personalization features your nonprofit can use, you guessed it, for free.

To get started, we’re going to go over two of the best ways to increase the conversation rate of your donation forms: pre-fill forms with donor information and customize donation amounts.

Pre-fill forms with donor information.

Most of your donors are already in your database. So, instead of asking them to fill in their information again, try sending them a pre-filled form.

Pre-filled forms use the information you already have on your donor so that when a donor clicks on the link to donate, the form will already be filled-in (or partially filled-in) making it less work for your donors to donate.

Zeffy makes it easy to send pre-filled donation forms to existing donors.

With Zeffy, once you have a donor’s contact information saved, there are two ways you can send pre-filled forms:

1. By adding a variable to an email:

2: By clicking the Compose button from your form’s “Share” page:

Good to know:

You can also pre-fill and personalize thank-you messages, follow-up emails, and updates to increase donor engagement and retention.

Customize donation amounts.

Your nonprofit’s donor contact list probably contains a few different types of donors. There are donors that give $10 or $20 from time to time, donors that donate $1000 once a year, and lapsed donors that haven’t donated in a while. One way to increase the chances of them donating again is adjusting or pre-filling the donation amount to fit their donor history.

Again, there are a few online tools and software that can help your nonprofit do this, or you can just use Zeffy’s 100% free fundraising platform that already allows you to pre-fill donation amounts based on donor history.

Depending on the donor history and your fundraising campaign goals, you might want to encourage donors to give again—regardless of the amount—or encourage them to give more than last year. You can do this by filtering your donors by segments and choosing the suggested donation amounts based on your filters criteria.

Good to know:

Nonprofits that have pre-filled their donation forms with custom amounts generate around 30% more revenue.

2. Understand your nonprofit’s donors and make sure your communications are relevant to them.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, understanding your donors (current, new, and potential) is key to a successful fundraising campaign. Lucky for you, Zeffy can help!

Segment and target your donors.

You can use your donor data to segment and target your donors based on filters such as giving history, demographics, engagement levels, language, or any other custom tag(s) you can come up with.

Creating tailored communication and fundraising strategies for each segment will help keep donors engaged by making the content relevant to them. For example, long-time donors might respond better to stories about past events they may have attend and requests for larger donations, while new or lapsed donors will probably respond better to stories about what your nonprofit has accomplished and smaller asks, more often.

Zeffy makes it easy to filter your donors and send them donation forms, thank you emails, etc. with messaging and suggested donation amounts that have been tailored to their donor history or demographics.

Understand how your donors give to your nonprofit.

You probably have donors who prefer to donate directly on your website, donors that wait to donate through your newsletter, donors who donate via social media, etc. Knowing which platforms your donors like to donate on will help you understand where you need to reach out and engage them.

You can track where your donors donate from by:

1. Creating and sharing a unique Zeffy form for each medium will allow use your Zeffy dashboard to track where your donors are donating from and the conversion rates for each.

2. Use Google Analytics and custom UTM links. You can use a campaign URL builder to easily create custom UTMs and then use those links when linking to your donation forms. For example, if you have call-to-actions linking to a single donation form from a newsletter, a social media account, and a partner website, you could create a UTM for each:

3. Use every fundraiser as an opportunity to test and optimize.

A/B testing is an inexpensive and conclusive way to find out which messaging encourages your donors to engage with your nonprofit.

Conducting A/B tests on various elements of your fundraising campaign, such as email subject lines, call-to-action buttons, or donation page designs is a great way to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Just remember to apply your learnings to your next fundraising campaign to start increasing your conversion rates.

You can use Zeffy’s filtering features to segment your donors into multiple groups and then create custom A/B filters to send different emails, donor forms, etc. and track the results from your Zeffy dashboard.

Good to know:
A/B testing is a way to compare two versions of something to figure out which performs better.

A/B testing has risen in popularity over the last couple of decades as nonprofits have realized that the online environment is well-suited for it. It’s now used to evaluate everything from website design to online offers to headlines to product descriptions. The test works by showing two sets of users (assigned at random when they visit the site) different versions of a product or site and then determining which influenced your success metric the most.4

And there you have it, three advanced techniques you can use to improve your donors experience and better understand them. This will lead you to a higher conversion and a bigger impact!

Keep learning (our sources):

1. Donation Form Best Practices Within Neon CRM.

2. Donor Abandonment: What It Is and How to Avoid It.

3. What Are UTM Links And How They Can Help Improve Your Social Media Marketing.

4. A Refresher on A/B Testing.