Choosing the Right Donation Amounts

June 18, 2017

Most people don’t give any thought to giving levels when setting up a donation form — they either keep the default donation amounts or select random numbers or amounts that they’d personally be comfortable giving. But these giving levels are actually very important. The amounts you select for your donation pages set the tone for the donation process and help donors determine how much they should give.

Focus on the Second Level

In our experience, people most commonly select the second lowest donation amounts on fundraising forms. They want to go as low as they can without appearing to be cheap!

To determine which amount you should set as your second giving level option, you’ll need to do some research. Look at your past donations to find your average gift and review some benchmark studies (here’s a great report from M&R Strategic Services).

Try setting your second highest option slightly above your current average, so you end up with one level below your average and three or four amounts that are above your average.

For example, if your average gift is $120, then your options might be $50, $125, $250, $500, and $1000.

Use your other data to make the form make sense for your donors. If, for example, no one has ever given $1000, remove that option. If people are happily giving $125 and $250, try moving the second option to $150.

One-Time and Recurring Gifts

Next, customize the donation amounts for one-time and recurring gifts. Why? Because it’s rare for someone to give $125 — or even $50 — monthly.

Many fundraising platforms allow giving level customization, whether through the interface directly or through javascript. For example, you can see how we customized WildCare’s fundraising form to display different amounts for a one-time versus monthly donation selection.

By simply paying attention to the amounts you choose for your donation forms, you can effectively increase giving and inspire new donors to your organization. Looking for a little more help with your forms? Check out our donation template service or contact us

By Ira Horowitz

With 15 years’ experience, Ira is an expert in nonprofit online communications and online fundraising. His work has resulted in increased funds and resounding supporter engagement for hundreds of organizations.Ira oversees our project management team and works with clients to provide our clients with the best possible final product. He also manages all of our strategic engagements and helps guide nonprofits to determine their long-term strategy goals for online communications.