Boosting donor conversion rates is key for any nonprofit. Conversion rate optimisation should be a priority in any charity's digital strategy.

Conversion rate, calculated as a percentage, shows how many potential donors actually make a donation for every 100 visitors you get on the website.

Let’s explore some easy strategies to improve these rates, the benchmarks you should aim for, and some real-world examples to guide you.

Understanding Donor Conversion Rates

Donor conversion rates are crucial for nonprofits. They measure how effective your fundraising efforts are by showing how many people become actual donors. For nonprofits, a typical donor conversion rate ranges from 1% to 4%, depending on your sector and fundraising methods.


In a study by the M+R Benchmarks, the average conversion rate for nonprofit email campaigns was 0.06% in 2020. This gives you a good idea of where you should aim.

Strategies to Improve Donor Conversion Rates

1. Personalise Your Outreach

Personalisation can significantly impact donor conversion rates. Tailor your messages to the individual donor’s interests and past interactions with your organisation.

  • Use Personal Names: Address recipients by their names in emails and letters.
  • Reference Past Interactions: Mention previous donations or volunteer activities to show you remember and appreciate their support.


Charity: Water sends personalised emails that not only address the donor by name but also provide updates on specific projects funded by their donations.

2. Optimise Your Donation Page

Your donation page is where the magic happens, so it needs to be user-friendly and compelling. Simplify the donation process to minimise drop-offs.

  • Mobile-Friendly Design: Ensure your donation page is accessible and easy to use on mobile devices.
  • Clear Call to Action: Use clear and persuasive language to guide donors through the process.


The British Red Cross has a streamlined, mobile-friendly donation page that makes it easy for donors to complete their contributions quickly.

3. Showcase Impact

Donors want to see the tangible impact of their contributions. Highlighting real-world results can motivate potential donors to give.

  • Use Stories and Testimonials: Share stories and testimonials from beneficiaries to illustrate the difference donations make.
  • Visual Content: Use photos and videos to bring your impact to life.


Save the Children uses powerful images and stories on their website and in their emails to show the impact of donations, which helps convert more visitors into donors.

4. Leverage Social Proof

People are more likely to donate if they see others doing the same. Social proof can be a powerful motivator.

  • Display Donor Lists: Show a list of recent donors (with their permission) to encourage others to join.
  • Share Success Stories: Highlight successful campaigns and the number of contributors involved.


GoFundMe campaigns often display a running tally of donations and comments from donors, creating a sense of community and urgency.

5. Segment Your Audience

Segmentation involves dividing your potential donors into specific groups based on their interests, giving history, and engagement level. This allows for more targeted and effective outreach.

  • Interest-Based Segments: Tailor messages to specific interests, such as animal welfare or education.
  • Giving History Segments: Differentiate between one-time donors and recurring donors to personalise your appeals.


WWF segments its donors based on their interests, sending targeted campaigns to supporters of marine conservation, forest protection, and other specific causes.

6. Utilise Matching Gifts

Matching gift campaigns can double the impact of donations and motivate more people to give.

  • Corporate Matching: Partner with companies to offer matching gift programmes.
  • Donor Matching: Encourage major donors to match contributions during specific campaigns.


During Giving Tuesday, many nonprofits, like UNICEF, run matching gift campaigns to boost donations and encourage more participation.

7. Follow Up with Donors

Following up with potential donors can increase conversion rates. Remind them of their interest and the importance of their contribution.

  • Reminder Emails: Send reminder emails to potential donors who have shown interest but haven’t completed their donation.
  • Thank You Emails: Always send a thank-you email immediately after a donation is made to show appreciation and encourage future giving.


The Humane Society sends timely follow-up emails to potential donors, including thank-you notes and updates on the impact of their contributions.

8. Create a Sense of Urgency

Urgency can drive donors to act quickly rather than putting off their decision to give.

  • Limited-Time Campaigns: Run campaigns with a specific end date to create a sense of urgency.
  • Highlight Immediate Needs: Emphasise the immediate impact of donations, such as emergency relief efforts.


During natural disasters, the Red Cross highlights the urgent need for donations to provide immediate relief, which helps increase donor conversion rates.


Improving donor conversion rates for nonprofits involves a combination of personalisation, optimisation, showcasing impact, leveraging social proof, audience segmentation, matching gifts, follow-up, and creating urgency. By implementing these strategies, your nonprofit can boost its conversion rates, increase donations, and better support its mission.

Keep refining your approach and staying attuned to your audience’s preferences and behaviours. This way, you can achieve higher engagement and greater support for your cause. Remember, the key is to make the donor feel valued, connected, and confident that their contribution makes a real difference.

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  • M+R Benchmarks. (2020). "2020 Benchmarks Study."
  • Paxton, P., Velasco, K., & Ressler, R. W. (2020). "Does Use of Emotion Increase Donations and Volunteers for Nonprofits?". American Sociological Review.
  • Gneezy, U., Keenan, E. A., & Gneezy, A. (2014). "Avoiding overhead aversion in charity." Science.
  • Thornton, J. (2006). "Nonprofit Fund-Raising in Competitive Donor Markets." Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly.
  • Verhaert, G., & Van den Poel, D. (2011). "Improving Campaign Success Rate by Tailoring Donation Requests along the Donor Lifecycle." Journal of Interactive Marketing.
  • Jameson, T. (2017). "Communication Strategies as Drivers of Nonprofit Donor Retention." CSR & Management Practice eJournal.
  • Chao, M. (2017). "Demotivating incentives and motivation crowding out in charitable giving." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.