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Can Custom Forms Increase Nonprofit Giving?


Forms are just forms until they help your nonprofit raise more money.

Can Custom Forms Increase Nonprofit Giving?

When you’re a nonprofit shopping for a new CRM, there are a few features you’ll probably want to see first. Email? Check. Database? Check. Forms? Check.

Then we’d recommend you ask this question: do all those features work together?

Let me tell you where I’m going with this. Lately, we’ve had many prospective clients asking us about email. About our database. And yes, about our forms. And asking how they can be customized. And asking how they can pull data from the database. Do all CharityEngine’s features work together?

They do. And the most unique thing about CharityEngine – the one thing none of our competitors can honestly say – is that we pull every single data point from every one of your supporters and put them in the same database, which updates in real time, giving you a 360° view of every donor.

If you pull back the curtain to see how we do it, you’d be met with the most robust back-end features available in a nonprofit CRM. And when something like forms has those robust features working for them, you can do some pretty cool things. Like customize the heck out of your nonprofit forms.

Custom Forms

Let’s look at an example of one way a nonprofit might want to customize forms and how only CharityEngine can help them. We can see how far you can drill down into segmented giving.

For example, your organization oversees chapters. When a supporter comes to your website, you want them to choose a chapter for their donation. That’s easy! Any one of our esteemed competitors can do that. (At least, we assume they can. That’s small-potatoes stuff.)

Let’s say that each chapter (one level down from your nonprofit) has choices of where they would like donations directed. So, for example, you’re a state college. You need to raise money for your sports teams, so when a donor comes to your website, you want them to choose baseball, hockey, football, golf, or gymnastics.

Again, easy peasy.

But…what if you want to drill down further? What if you want a donor who chooses baseball to then choose equipment, travel, or books for school?

A Robust Nonprofit CRM

Now you’re moving away from what most providers can do and walking right into the open arms of CharityEngine. Because we can do that. We are now two levels down for your nonprofit, allowing donors to direct specific gifts. We’re letting Grandma choose books while Mom chooses helmets.

So any nonprofit CRM can get you to the first level down (sports). But only CharityEngine can let you divide giving opportunities the second level down (needs in each sport).

And then, just to flex a little bit, we could go even further. Let’s say you go to the college website, you choose baseball, and you choose travel. Well, do you want to support a tournament in June, when you think you can attend the games? With CharityEngine, that’s no problem. Our CRM can display to your donors their donation options down to the third level (June tournament dates).

How do we do it? Again, a lot of robust features. And to bring this article around, we can do it because our highly customizable forms are integrated directly into our database, which is collecting data in real time. So when your donor clicks on a field, the database not only logs it, but knows which options to present next.

Is Your Nonprofit a Good Fit for CharityEngine?

Even if you don’t have chapters, or a sports team, or need to be able to drill way way down into giving options? Well, we’re probably still a good fit, because a lot of our clients rely on their ability to customize their forms.

Let me give you a real-client, real-life example before I show myself out the door.

BrightFocus Foundation is a client working diligently to defeat Alzheimer’s Disease, macular degeneration, and glaucoma. They reported that many online forms are difficult to see for people with vision problems. And, they wondered, is there anything CharityEngine could do to help make their form more accessible?

Their form, as it exists, is optimized for higher conversion rates. We’d be happy to have a conversation with you about the different ways we recommend optimizing forms. If you’re a client, just give a ring and that team will be happy to chat with you about your forms.

But back to BrightFocus. Here’s the form you’ll see if you go to their website.

And it’s fine, for many viewers. But do you see the buttons in the upper right-hand corner?

This is where the customization comes in. Viewers can change the text size and contrast to have a perfect user experience:

And that’s another way custom forms can help you engage with your donors, treat them the way they deserve to be treated, and help you raise more money for your mission.

CharityEngine: Built for Nonprofits

Let me tell you a little secret. When you’re a CharityEngine client, you see that we wake up every day ready to help you succeed. So when you have an idea – hey, I want my form to change contrast! – we never say no. We say, “We’re on it.” And then we try our hardest to make it happen.

That’s why clients see their donors increase their gifts at a rate of 23% (the industry average is 9%). Whether it’s super easily customizable forms, robust reporting based on thousands of data points and updated in real time, or our beyond safe and economic payment processing, we can assure you we’re the partner you need in your corner.