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You have done everything right. Your campaign has been complimented by many people in your community. Your boss is happy, you’re happy, and traffic to your donations page has been really high. So, when it comes time to count up the donations, you are just positive that every fundraising record has been broken.
Instead, the opposite turns out to be true. Your donations, despite the great traffic to the donations page, are way down. What happened?!?
After some digging, you discover that there was an unfortunate glitch in your online donations form. You also find out that a few people emailed requests for help because their donations weren’t going through. They were told to make a phone call for assistance. The picture comes together. If a person has to work to get their money to you, they probably will fall off fairly quickly. Only the very rare person will take the additional step of letting you know the form isn’t working. If they are told to take another step from there, you are most likely going to be out of luck.
This case occurred to me recently when I tried to make a purchase on an online site. The form kept saying my zip code was invalid. I tried adding the extra four digits. I tried multiple browsers. Same problem. I finally sent in a contact form explaining the problem. While I did get a response, it was just as I described above. “Sorry to hear you are having that problem. Here is our phone number.” Because I am stubborn I went ahead and tried one more time and finally the purchase went through. Had it not worked that time, I’d have simply given up, and they’d have lost a sale.
Avoid Losing Your Online Donations
Obviously it is of the utmost importance that you prevent something like this from occurring on your site. Here are some steps to follow to try to make sure everything runs smoothly AFTER you get donors to your website.
- Make sure your form is intuitive and easy to fill out. Have some family and friends fill it out before you go live. Do they give up because the form is too long? Are any of your questions unclear?
- Test your form from numerous operating systems (including smart phones and tablets) and as many browsers as possible. Sometimes an online form will work perfectly in everything except one browser on a Mac. Address all glitches before you go public with the form.
- Make sure you have a “thank you” page after the form is submitted. This signals to people that their donation has gone through successfully.
- Have a way to respond quickly if someone runs into a problem. And try to keep it online if possible so that the person can go right back to your site and finish their transaction.
- Check the form periodically throughout your campaign. Even though it worked fine at the beginning, online forms are notorious for being prone to glitches.
Donations are what keep your organization going. Don’t lose the support of your community because of problems that can easily be avoided. Make sure your service and your website remain impeccable from start to the very finish.