6 Donor Abandonment Causes and Solutions: An Actionable Guide for Nonprofits

Read our 6 donor abandonment causes and the solutions to help you fix them!
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Every nonprofit already understands the inherent challenges associated with getting an interested supporter to the finish line, aka the donation page. However, many nonprofits underestimate how much effort it takes to get a donor to cross that finish line once they click the ‘donate’ button.

In fact, many people who click on your donation button aren’t finishing the process. That stalled process? It’s called donor abandonment.

What is donor abandonment?

Donor abandonment is when someone fails to complete the donation process.

Our research shows that 60% of donors leave the process midway with the intention of returning at a later date but rarely ever do.

With abandonment rates so high, you might be wondering why so many donors who are willing to make a donation give up during the process. Well, think about your online shopping habits.

You know how easy it is to add items to your cart, but going in and completing all the steps to finalize your purchase is a lot more time consuming. The same idea applies to those who are trying to make a donation.

These obstacles are commonly known as friction.

We’ve compiled the six most common points of friction that lead to donor abandonment:

  1. The donation form is too long.
  2. It takes too many clicks to confirm an order.
  3. Donors have to create an account to donate.
  4. The requested giving amount is too open ended.
  5. The donation form is not compatible with mobile devices.
  6. The process is not centered on the donor.

In this article, we’ll go deeper into why these problems cause donor abandonment and provide six ways to solve them. If you’re looking for a specific solution, click on any of the links above to be directed to that section. Otherwise, scroll down and enjoy.

A long donation form can result in donor abandonment.
Donor Abandonment Cause #1: The donation form is too long.

One of the most common reasons why people abandon nonprofit donor forms is because there are so many questions they have to answer before making it to the confirmation.

About 1/3 of nonprofit organizations ask 20 questions on their donation forms. Ask your donors only what is essential to make the process fast and easy.

Asking too many questions is not only time consuming, but it is also uncomfortable for the donor. Donors don’t want to feel like they’re giving out too much personal information when making a donation.

Bottom line: When someone has made the choice to donate, spending unnecessary time completing forms is going to increase your abandonment rate.

Solution: Only ask for what you actually need from your donors.

Ask yourself what you really need from the donor like their:

  • Email
  • Billing address
  • Payment information

Anything that feels unnecessary to the donor will make them more likely to stop. Shorter forms are more likely to increase donations, so it’s in your nonprofit’s best interest to keep forms concise and to the point.

If it takes too many clicks to get through the donation process, you may have high donor abandonment.
Donor Abandonment Cause #2: It takes too many clicks to confirm an order.

Requiring multiple clicks to confirm a donation is just an added and unnecessary step that causes donors to abandon the process before they finish making a donation.

After donors put in all their information and click the ‘donate’ button, they’re expecting to be done with the process. The fewer steps you have, the less room for donor abandonment.

By making the process streamlined and easy, you are more likely to keep donors rather than lose them due to avoidable frustrations.

Bottom line: The time it takes to answer every question, fill out their information, and confirm an order is more than enough time for a donor to get distracted and move on or reconsider giving.

Solution: Look for a fundraising platform that eliminates the need for those unwanted clicks.

When all the additional steps are taken out, abandonment rates decrease by 20%.

A short process makes it easy for users to pick their donation amount and make a payment without excessive clicking to confirm.

A quicker process also allows donors to make their decisions when the mood strikes them.

Platforms that allow you to use text-to-give features offer donors the ease of giving whenever and wherever they want. And often with the text-to-give approach, it doesn’t require a ton of steps to confirm a donation.

For text-to-give, all a donor has to do is text the number with an amount and follow the link that will be sent to them. The link will lead to a pre-written email that donors just have to send to confirm!

With all the steps eliminated, there are fewer opportunities for donors to abandon the process halfway through.

If donors have to create an account, then they may prefer donor abandonment to following through with their donations.
Donor Abandonment Cause #3: Donors have to create an account to donate.

Often in the donation process, you’re asked to create an account to save time when you return to make a second donation.

While this may seem like a good idea to encourage repeat donations, an account is just another password donors have to remember. They may be less likely to make a second donation if they can’t remember their password or if the process to retrieve it takes too long.

There are also other users who don’t want to set up an account because of the time it takes to create a username and password.

Bottom line: Creating an account is just one more step that leaves a window open for donors to become distracted before they actually make a donation.

Solution: Make the account set-up process easier.

Allowing donors to have the option to decide whether or not they want to create an account is one way of making the process easier.

However, you can go one step further and use a platform that doesn’t require the donor to remember a username or password.

Some platforms even save donors’ payment information without requiring that the donor sets up an account, allowing them to make a second donation at a later date without remembering a password.

Essentially, using a platform that makes it easier for donors to give their second time around will encourage repeat donations that can ultimately lead to strong donor relationships.

If you request too much from your donors, then you may increase your donor abandonment.

Donor Abandonment Cause #4: The requested giving amount is too open ended.

Your donor has made the decision to give, but they may not always come to the donation page with an idea of how much they want to give. On top of having them fill out a list of required questions, don’t lose them by making them spend time mulling over an amount.

Often, donors don’t know what amount is too little or too much to give. By providing some type of direction, you will help them speed up the process and make their choice easier.

Bottom line: Don’t leave donors with a blank space when it comes to picking an amount to give. Guide them.

Solution: Provide suggested gift amounts.

Allowing donors to select from suggested donation amounts spares them the trouble of deciding how much to give. A suggested amount makes the process of giving even faster. One click on the desired amount and they’re done!

Suggested amounts have also been known to increase the average gift amount.

For example, if a donor was planning to give $40 and your donation page features a $25 option and a $50 option, it’s more likely that the donor will choose the $50 gift. Slight upticks like that occur quite regularly because (1) there’s an instinctual compulsion to give a bit more when the levels are set out for you and (2) most donors prefer to stick to the preset options, rather than filling in their own amount.

However, be aware of your donor’s limits. Create a good range of giving selections so there are options that won’t exceed the average donor’s budget.

You donor abandonment may be high if you don't accept mobile donations.

Donor Abandonment Cause #5: The donation form is not compatible with mobile devices.

Most donors never stray too far from their smart phones and other mobile devices. They’re a permanent societal fixture.

Think about all the opportunities you have to inspire people to donate when you make the process easy to complete on a device people already always have in tow.

Donors not only want to be able to donate online, but they also want to do it from their readily available mobile devices. Long and complicated forms deter donors from completing them and are not mobile-friendly.

Bottom line: Tap into what your audience wants by providing mobile donation options.

Solution: Provide a mobile-friendly way to donate.

Having a responsive, mobile-friendly site increases the number of potential donations you could receive.

Allowing for mobile donations gives you the flexibility to accept donations through a variety of ways:

  • Text messaging
  • Email
  • QR codes
  • Online forms

Give your donors more ways to donate so that they can pick the process that works best for them.

Donor abandonment may be high if you don't center your communications around the donor.

Donor Abandonment Cause #6: The process is not centered on the donor

Donating to a nonprofit should be a process that’s geared towards the user. All the hassle of putting in your payment information and filling out forms makes donors avoid the process in the future or give up before they even finish the first time.

Donors are more likely to return and donate again if they found the process to be uncomplicated.

Bottom line: If you’re not thinking about your donors during the creation of your process, it will likely increase your abandonment rate.

Solution: Consider the donor’s needs when creating your donation process.

Your donation process should work for the donor. Consider different ways to make the process more convenient and be conscientious of how much time a donor has to dedicate to complete the process.

A good way to understand how a donor will respond to your process is by testing it out yourself. As you go through the process, ask the following questions:

  • How long did it take to complete?
  • Did the process feel too long?
  • Did I want to skip any sections?
  • Were there any sections that were confusing?

Use your answers to go back to the process and make changes as needed.

Incorporate some of the above solutions to make your donation process more donor-centered so that donors can have an experience that they will want to return to.

With over half of potential donors abandoning the process, there is so much opportunity for nonprofits to increase their donations and earn more revenue.

In the end, it’s all about making the process more user-friendly and limiting the amount of friction a donor faces. When the process is easy to complete, donors will enjoy donating more, allowing you to build long lasting relationships.

That convenience is the goal at Snowball.

In fact, 3 out of 4 donors are keeping their card on file for future donations because donors are not required to set up and maintain an account. Snowball gives nonprofits a platform that allows donors to give in just two clicks.

Now that you’re finished with this article, learn more about how mobile giving can lower your donor abandonment rate!

For more online fundraising best practices, keep learning with these fantastic additional resources:

  • Password Alternatives: One of the biggest causes of donor abandonment is creating an account. Donors don’t want to deal with the hassle of remembering another password. Keep reading to learn how you can save donors time by using these password alternatives.
  • Free Fundraising Software: If your organization is looking for low-cost fundraising solutions to help reduce your donor abandonment, this guide will take you through a list of top free tools.
  • Online Giving Software Guide: Looking for a refresher on online giving software? You’re in luck! This comprehensive guide provides in-depth information on online fundraising.

@Pay demo button: How @Pay can help you raise more and decrease donor abandonment.

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Get in touch with us to take a tour of the Snowball platform and find the right fundraising solutions for your nonprofit.