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7 Ways to Reduce Friction On Your Donation Page

Published by Tim Kachuriak

At any point in the donation process, your potential donor is just a single click away from exiting your page. If there is too much donation page friction, you might as well be clicking the back button for them. Putting too many steps between the donor and completing the donation can make giving unpleasant. But if we can reduce friction, we can turn giving into the joyful activity that it should be.

The 7 Types of Donation Page Friction

The most critical step in reducing donation page friction – and often the most difficult – is identifying what’s causing it. After running hundreds of tests on donation pages for some of the top nonprofits, we’ve identified 7 unique types of friction that can serve as guide to reducing friction on your donation page.

Watch the full video below as I break down the 7 different types of friction and how they can affect your donation page.

1. Field Number Friction

This one is fairly self-explanatory. The more fields you have on your form, the higher the likelihood that you have excess friction on your page. Ask, “Are there fields that I can either eliminate completely, make unrequired, or ask for later ?” Our friends at The Heritage Foundation grew their conversion rates by moving additional form fields to a second page after the essential information had already been submitted.

Field Number Friction


2. Field Layout Friction

The way that form fields are laid out on the page contributes friction. A form appears to require a lot more work than it really does when the fields are all stacked on top of each other. Moving related fields side by side and reducing their size helps reduce the perception of how much information is being asked of the donor. Our friends at CaringBridge tested this on their page and saw a significant affect on their conversion rates.

Field Layout Friction


3. Decision Friction

Unanticipated questions on a donation form create decision friction in the donation experience. One common example of decision friction is having multiple gift designations for the donor to choose from. If the donor doesn’t know which designation to choose, it makes the donation process more difficult. See how our friends at Harvest ministries put this to the test.

Decision Friction


4. Confusion Friction

Confusion friction slows down your donors or, even worse, stops them dead in their tracks. Using “insider” language, or including multiple calls to action distracts the donor from the primary goal of completing their gift. The donor may begin to ask “Where do I click to make my gift?” or “What am I supposed to do now?” Hillsdale College recently ran a test that shows just how much confusion friction can decrease conversion rates.

Confusion Friction


5. Error Friction

Error friction occurs when your donation form blows up because somebody missed a field, yet doesn’t give clear instructions as to what they need to do to fix that problem. Often times error codes are written by a developer or the finance department to serve an internal need. But what makes sense internally doesn’t always make sense to the donor.

Error Friction


6. Registration Friction

Many organizations require donors to create an account and login before they are able to complete their donation. Trying multiple passwords, running a “forgot password” reset, or searching through a list of passwords on their computer creates frustration and ultimately leads the donor away from the donation page. Remove the need to login, and you will eliminate registration friction.

Registration Friction


7. Device Friction

There are few things that are more frustrating than clicking a link in an email on your phone that leads to a website that’s not optimized for your mobile device. Pinching to zoom, endlessly scrolling left and right, and clicking in places you didn’t mean to click causes significant donation page friction. You can reduce device friction by making your donation page mobile responsive. Our friends at Human Liberty simply reduced the length of copy on a mobile acquisition form and saw a big lift in conversion.

Device Friction


Get Your Free Friction Self-Assessment

Friction Self AssessmentThere are more types of friction than just these seven, but these are a great starting point for identifying donation page friction. If you’re ready to start reducing the friction in your donation process, take our free friction self-assessment.

Answer a few yes or no questions, and instantly receive your Friction Score along with specific tips on how to reduce the friction on your donation page.

Take the Friction Self Assessment


About the author:

Tim Kachuriak

Tim won "Best Stage Presence" for the 1991 Pittsburgh Boys Choir.