How to Perfect Your Donations Thank You Page
“Appreciation can make a day – even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.”Margaret Cousins
You’ve bagged the donation so why should your charity invest time creating a well-designed donations ‘thank you’ page? Because a well-designed ‘thank you’ page increases the potential of a long-term relationship with donors and it costs far less to encourage past donors to give again.
The main purpose of a ‘thank you’ page is to confirm payment has been successful. However, it’s also a chance to make your donor feel appreciated, to ask them to share the love, get involved in appeals or volunteering, and to see if your supporter might fundraise or become monthly givers.
Crafting a top donations ‘thank you’ page is hard, NSPCC does a good job at weaving in many of the best practices.
What do people expect?
Like many webpage types, there is a tried and tested order people expect. For a donations page there are 3 key elements:
- A “Thank you” message
- Confirmation of payment
- How the money will be used and examples of its impact
In some countries, printable receipts and tax deduction details are also relevant.
Getting the 'Thank You' message right
Saying ‘thank you’ is such a human and personal act, formality can strip a ‘thank you’ of its authenticity. Oxfam Ireland does a good job of making their ‘thank you’ feel genuine by writing it in a personal tone, the effect is strengthened because the message is signed by Oxfam’s CEO.
But would you stick around to read the CEO’s whole ‘thank you’ message? Unlikely. Oxfam’s message is quite long! It has been shown that we read as little as 28% of page content, and only stick around for 10-20 seconds unless a clear value proposition catches our eye. So, make your message meaningful, but keep it short and punchy.
One way to get a donor's attention is to address them by their name. If nothing else, this shows you care enough to personalise the message.
MSF personalise the 'thank you'. And, more than this, they include a punchy, 1-minute video of how your contribution makes a difference (the video even signs off by saying, “you made this possible”).
But why stop there? Why not use the confirmation email to continue the ‘thank you’ and emphasize the real world impact. Cancer Research UK have done just that below.
Clearly communicate confirmation of payment
Conventionally, the ‘thank you’ page doubles as payment confirmation, but don't skip it or assume it is implied. Spell out payment confirmation clearly (ideally confirming the amount that has been given). ActionAid follows convention by both thanking the donor, and also confirming “your donation has been successful”.
They build on this with a Gift Aid opt-in after payment which is further improved by inviting donors to stay informed about the impact of their donations.
Quickly give people an onward journey
After people have completed their donation, you have a brief window to engage them before they abandon ship. This is an opportunity to: promote appeals, ask donors to share the charity message on social media, and to see if donors are willing to fundraise or make the donation monthly.
Charity Water asks donors if they “want to make an even bigger impact” through monthly donations. This could risk making donors contribution feel unappreciated as the ‘thank you’ feels de-prioritised in comparison to the upsell. However, Charity Water's online fundraising is very successful and they test pages using tools like Optimizely, so they probably know what works. Testing different upsell approaches can be very valuable; your hunch isn't always right.
UNICEF shows greater appreciation by prioritising the ‘thank you’ before upselling. This is strengthened by stating what the money specifically goes towards e.g. “vaccinations”.
Ask donors to share the charity message on social media. Your donors can be powerful ambassadors for the charity, tap into the phenomenon of social proof and ask them to spread the word like ActionAid below.
It’s common to hide your site’s navigation on the donation pages (to reduce visual distractions for donors during the donation process), but you should ensure it makes a reappearance on the ‘thank you’ page, so people can explore more content on your site.
Putting it all together into the perfect page
A well-designed ‘thank you’ page will bring you one step closer to building lasting relationships with your donors.
Here’s a checklist to help you decide if your ‘thank you’ page is at its optimum (if you want to contract our services for help with fundraising optimisation, contact Will):
- Put information in the order people expect
- Prioritise the thank you over upselling
- Personalise your ‘thank you’ to show you mean it
- Clearly communicate confirmation of payment (and confirm the amount)
- Make the thank you message personal and human
- Provide follow-on actions: ‘share on social media’, ‘fundraise for us’, ‘help with campaigning and volunteering’, ‘make a monthly donation' etc.
- Link people’s donation to tangible impact
- Test different approaches to driving follow-on journeys using A/B testing