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Trying to Collect Political Donations Online? 5 Reasons It’s Not Working.

Elliot Rysenbry

Campaign season is heating up and it’s time to build that war chest.

If you're using online fundraising tools for the first time, you might imagine that once your donation page is live you’re all set - nothing left to do except let the dollars roll in!Unfortunately, it's not that easy. A fundraising website or donation page can be a valuable tool for your campaign, and a great edge in the race - but only if it’s set up for success.

Here’s 5 reasons why the money might not be flowing, and what you can do about it.


Reason 1: You Have No Traffic

This is the thing no one tells you: Build it and they will not come.

Just because you have your URL on flyers and maybe yard sign or two, you won't get many people looking up your page or arrving organically from Google and donating.

To make your donation page into a success, first you have to give it material to work with - and this means traffic.

If you already have a list of supporters with email addresses, consider drafting a fundraising email directing your supporters to your donation page.

If you don’t have a list, then think about compiling a list of family, friends, and influential members of your community whom you can email with a request to donate and to share your page within their own networks.

Remember to collect names and emails both from donors, and from all canvassing efforts, fundraising drives, and events of any kind, and ask permission to contact them. A list of supportive, receptive people is the best way to get value from your donation page.



Every field you add to a form lowers conversion rates, and that means less money in the campaign account. Determine what information is absolutely necessary for you to gather (don't forget any legal requirements), and cut any fields that aren’t required.

Cluttering your donation form with unnecessary fields is a great way to complicate the donation process and make it frustrating. A shorter form is quicker to fill out, less intimidating to start, and less likely to have people drop off half way along the process.

Tip: multi-step forms are fantastic and increase conversion rates across the board - but they aren’t a license to add extra form fields. The less steps the better.


Reason 3: Your Page is Cluttered

Remove everything from your page that isn’t necessary. Get rid of as many navigation elements, sidebars and other clutter as you can, and leave nothing more than your form, legal information, and an (optional) image and small amount of copy.

Yes, having links to policy stances, where to volunteer, and so on might be important elsewhere on your website, but your contribution page is about one thing and one thing only: your supporters contributing to your campaign.

Over 50% of your visitors will spend less than 15 seconds on your donation page. Combatting the internet’s microscopic attention span by removing distractions is a critical step in making sure your donation page is an effective fundraising tool.


Reason 4: Your Page Looks Unsecure

For people to hand over their credit card number online, they have to feel safe.

If your donation page looks wildly different from the rest of your site, your potential supporters might be uncertain about just who they’re really giving their information to.

Make sure your logo, color scheme, and fonts are carried over from the rest of your site to your donation page. If you can, host your page on the same domain as the rest of your site.

When it comes to actual security, one of the most important things potential donors will look for is the green lock symbol indicating that their connection is secured with SSL (Secure Socket Layer). There are many ways that this connection can be inadvertently broken, say by including images hosted on unsecure sites etc. - but the bottom line is this: If you don’t see that green lock, your conversion rates will drop.


Screen shot of SSL iconMaking people feel secure and confident is vital if you’re to persuade them to support your campaign.


Reason 5: Your Page isn't Mobile Responsive

Mobile devices are here - and in massive numbers. Users on mobile devices account for over 50% of internet usage already, and if someone gets frustrated trying to donate on their phone or tablet, don’t count on them trying again later on their desktop.

Focus on a clear, simple presentation on all devices and minimize page length and open text-fields.

P.S. Want to know what your website looks like on any device? Try out this neat trick. 


Post-title-cardFinally, you should test these things as much as you are able. These may be best practices, but real-world data always provides more valuble lessons and greater returns.

There you have it. If you’ve got a donation page sitting idle (and costing you money), these 5 tips should help you get your page up and raising money for your campaign. Digital tools are powerful if used effectively, and a good donation page can give you a decisive fundraising edge over an opponent.


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Topics: Digital, Fundraising