7 Tips for Creating a Stellar Online Donation Form

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With online giving on the rise, donation forms have become an essential component of any fundraising strategy. An optimized online donation form, paired with a dedicated appeal, fundraiser, or general fundraising ask can determine how much you will raise for your cause.

Here are 7 tips on how you can optimize your next CanadaHelps Customizable Donation Form based on tried, tested, and true eCommerce and online fundraising best practices:

1. Get donations directly on your website by embedding your donation form.


Visitors who come to your website may be ready to give to you. Make it easy for them to donate and be ready to receive their donations by embedding a mobile-friendly donation form onto a dedicated donation page. Add a prominent “Donate” or “Donate Now” button on your site’s main navigation header, as well as links on other pages throughout your site. Having a donation form on your website—instead of linking elsewhere—keeps your supporters engaged with learning more about your mission, the work that you are doing, and how their donations will help. It also prevents them from being distracted in that crucial moment when they are about to give.

2. Take the guesswork out of giving by setting up default donation amounts.

Set up your donation form with suggested donation amounts to help guide your supporters’ giving. You can add the most popular amounts by referencing giving patterns of donors in your database. Help your donors understand the difference their donations can make by including impact statements (i.e. the number of trees planted, the number of school lunches given, and so on). By giving suggested donation amounts, you can maximize donations to your charity.

3. Connect your donors to your cause by including compelling images.

Donating is more than just giving money—it is an emotional transaction that connects your donors to the work you do and the causes close to their hearts. Pair your online donation form with compelling images of those you serve (i.e. animals that you shelter, seniors whom you assist, etc.) to encourage generosity and show your donors who their gifts will impact.

4. Allow your donors to give in honour or in memory of loved ones.

Give your donors the option of donating in honour or in memory of someone close to them by creating an online donation form, such as one from CanadaHelps, that uses a tribute-first template. This template is available on all of CanadaHelps’ donation form types. You can set up ready-to-use eCards from our gallery of images, or add your own branded images for your donors to choose from. These are included with their donation dedication.

5. Get reliable funding by starting a monthly giving program.

One way to guarantee consistent funding to your organization is by starting a monthly giving program. Create a dedicated form that encourages your supporters to make scheduled gifts by becoming monthly donors. Set up different monthly giving levels and include a clear call-to-action with concrete examples about the impact they can make (i.e. how many school lunches $25 can provide for the month). Talk to your supporters about becoming monthly donors by making this option stand out in your communications, and helping them understand that monthly donations are a common way of giving.

You can also include monthly giving as an additional option to one-time donations on your form. Both options allow you to connect with your donors and provide them with the opportunity to give in a more meaningful way.

6. Bolster specific campaigns by setting up forms for each special appeal.

If you’re running a time-sensitive response campaign, such as one for natural disasters or crisis relief efforts, create a unique donation form specific to that appeal. An appeal-specific donation form will help you be direct in your message to supporters, letting them know what you’re raising money for, and where exactly their donations are going. Customize your campaign donation form using a certain form style (i.e. multi-step) to accommodate campaign photos and messaging, colours that match your campaign brand, and designate to the specific fund (if applicable).

7. Show how donations can support real change by using a gift guide.

A great way to engage supporters is by connecting their donations to something tangible that makes a difference towards your mission. It lets them know that their gifts will be meaningful, and can go far toward supporting your cause in a specific way. This can be done by launching your own charitable gift guide or catalogue.

You can showcase products and/or services that symbolically correspond with each donation amount. Create a dedicated donation form for each gift item. Over time, your forms will help you identify what the most popular items are amongst your donors, so you can make adjustments for future campaigns.


Follow these tips to provide your donors with a better experience that results in more donations to your specific campaign or overall mission.

What are some of the creative ways you’ve used your donation form? Let us know in the comments below.

Want to learn more about online fundraising with CanadaHelps?
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