Is Your Online Giving Form Scaring Givers Away?

Are you inadvertently driving givers away from your online giving path? The majority of donation pages do. Statistics show that 60% or more of potential givers leave a donation page before completing the transaction.

What’s behind this phenomenon? FRICTION!


Donating is an emotional decision. Givers may not even be aware of the complex motivations and anxieties at work in their decision to give a charitable gift. It’s as if they have one foot on the gas pedal and one foot on the brake.

Tiny interruptions in the flow toward completing the gift begin to build pressure to back out of the decision. Every person has a threshold of how many steps or frustrations they will tolerate before abandoning their act of giving, but there are ways to reduce those barriers.


According to digital fundraising expert Brady Josephson, “People make a donation (or take any action online for that matter) when the ‘value’ of making the donation is greater than the ‘cost’ of that action. To tip the scale in your favor, you must increase value or reduce cost.” (Source: Huffington Post: What Friction Means for Donations to Nonprofits)

“Value” refers to the reasons givers donate and the expected results, such as the feeling they’ll gain by making an impact on a cause they care about. It’s your job to clearly show that value by drawing them into your mission with stories and imagery that help them envision these outcomes. The value may be enhanced by matching offers or multiple designations options in your form that allow them to choose the ministry or project they wish to give to. Consistent follow-up in the form of gratitude and updates on the project also have an impact on the feeling they walk away with.

“Cost” can refer to multiple things. First, there’s the actual cost of the gift, which—on its own—may trigger anxiety. If a giver is in a hurry, the time it’s taking to make the gift would count as a cost. A mistrust of online transactions or sharing personal information keep the meter running on costs, as do questions about how their contribution will be used, fear about the security of the payment, or frustration over glitches in the giving process.

Organizations can’t control some of these personal “costs,” but they can make sure the giving process itself doesn’t add more barriers to giving. Hidden friction includes:

  • Long pages
  • Too many steps
  • Fields laid out vertically
  • Too many fields asking for their information
  • Too many decisions to make
  • Confusion about what to do
  • Error messages
  • Waiting for pages to load
  • Giving forms that take them to a third-party site


Of all these types of friction, we believe the last one – giving forms that take them to a third-party site – is the most concerning, because of the avoidable financial impact it has on organizations and churches.

Many online fundraising software providers force donors to a secure page on their site (away from yours) to make a gift. This increases donor’s anxiety – and they become uncertain that their gift is going to the right place. The problem is even worse when the new page they arrive at can’t be customized or branded to look like your website.


When an online fundraising software’s giving function works through an embeddable widget directly on your site, an extra giving step is eliminated, and givers don’t have to wonder if they’re in the right place. Embeddable giving forms can be put on as many pages as you need and ensure that donors know they are in the right place.

Does it really make a difference? Yes! Mobile For Good found that organizations with an embedded form raise 6 times more money than organizations that send donors to a third-party site.

Fortunately, embeddable forms such as those provided by Generosity by Lifeway are simple for anyone to set up, even with no technical experience.


We recommend that every leader make a donation to their organization to see exactly what types of hidden friction your givers may be experiencing from your giving process. While you’re at it, look for these additional areas that add to the ‘value’ column of the giving experience:

  • Fields formatted to fit more than one per line, allowing givers to see and tab across to the next fields. Perception: A shorter form.
  • No glitches, slow-loading pages, unappealing designs, error messages or confusing layouts.
  • Immediate confirmation of their gift to eliminate the concern that their transaction processed correctly.
  • Only one action to take: Give.
  • Consistent branding from the giving page to the receipt to a thank you email. 
  • Designations options.
  • Insight into the impact of a gift. Studies have shown that when donors see the specific impact of their gift, i.e. $30 provides 40 lbs. of food, they are more likely to give, and give again, later.
  • Easy to complete noncash options that allow those who can’t afford to give as much as they’d like to easily offer valuable noncash items they have in their possession.

Charitable giving is a challenge all on its own without the added cost of friction in the giving experience that leads to gift abandonment. The right platform will solve many of these giving “costs” that reduce gift completion.

(Source: SalesCycle Blog)

(Source: Huffington Post: What Friction Means for Donations to Nonprofits)