Drive traffic to your donation forms with Popups

May 3, 2024
Nelly Dudukalova
Product Marketing Manager

If you’ve spent any time browsing an online store, you’ve likely encountered a popup. No, not the irritating kind that your ad blocker keeps at bay. I’m talking about the kind of popups that online retailers show you to promote their products and lure you in with discounts. 20% off? Count me in.

These popups can be incredibly effective at getting us to make purchases. The best-performing ones even net a 60% conversion rate.

But do popups have a place in nonprofit fundraising? They certainly do, and in the same way that popups can be used to increase e-commerce sales, they can be used to drive traffic to your donation forms.

That’s why we created Popup, an engaging overlay-style Element that you can add to your website without writing a line of code. The Popup element appears on page load AKA website visitors will see it as soon as the webpage loads.

Let’s take a look some best practices you can take to maximize its effectiveness.

Drive traffic to donation forms with Popups

Choose the right image for your Popup

Adding an image to a popup isn’t just a nice touch — it’s a big donation form booster. In fact, popups that include images convert up to 83% better than text-only popups.

Remember, the greater your conversion off of Popup, the more donors you’re engaging with giving.

Here’s how to pick the best image for Popup:

  • Use a photo with people in it. Do this even if your nonprofit’s work is with animals, nature, or other non-human causes. Website visitors respond best to photos that feature people.
  • Show faces. Donors respond best to faces, not people’s silhouettes or backsides.
  • Show expressive faces. Expressive faces engage donors. Don’t believe it? Check out Netflix’s fascinating article on images that increase engagement.

Get specific with Popup headings and descriptions

Popup gives you space to add a compelling heading and a description to support it. Use the headline to hook visitors and the description to draw them in.

The best headlines are clear and concise: 5-9 words. They include numbers and, perhaps counterintuitively, highlight something negative.


Bad: Change the world

Better: 150 people are without homes

And in crafting your descriptions, remember that donors will react best to language that places them at the center of the story — don’t talk about yourself. Instead, tell the donor how they can be a part of solving a problem and use specific language.


Bad: Donate to our organization so that we can help people in need. We have many certifications and have been helping people for years. Any amount helps! Donate now.

Better: Save the life of a child suffering from malaria. With just $10, you can cover the cost of a vaccine and medical care. Donate now.

Choose the right call-to-action for the Popup button

At the bottom of each popup is a button that launches Checkout, but to get a visitor to click it the first place, you have to have the right call to action in place. The key word is “action.” And your button should invite a website visitor to do just that: take action.

Here are a few examples of effective CTA button labels:

  • Donate
  • Donate now
  • Donate $10
  • Donate a vaccine

Each of these examples will help you drive more traffic to donation forms, but where possible, you should A/B test the language you use to hone-in on the most optimal button label.

Finally, you should select a color for your button. And though it may seem counterintuitive, the color you select doesn’t have to match your brand’s color scheme. Our research on color effectiveness has shown no discernable improvement in conversion when brand-specific colors are used for buttons and other UI components.

Instead, you should select a button color that suggests urgency, aligns with WCAG standards for accessibility, and is culturally appropriate within the market where you’re fundraising.

Let’s break these things down.

Colors that suggest urgency

Red, yellow, and orange, are three colors that suggest urgency. They are best used for time-sensitive campaigns like GivingTuesday and year-end fundraising, or for crisis campaigns.

Keep in mind, colors have varying meanings amongst the world’s cultures. I cover this in a later section.

WCAG standards for color contrast

WCAG standards dictate that a button and its label maintain a certain contrast ratio. Specifically, there must be a 3:1 difference in contrast between the color used for the background of the button and its label text.

Following WCAG standards is important for creating an accessible giving experience, so you should choose a color that conforms to these accessibility requirements.

Your organization’s color palette may not have been chosen with accessibility in mind, so it’s possible that a color in your palette won’t meet WCAG standards. You can test your button background and label color combinations using a free tool like this one from Adobe.

Consider colors and cultural significance in your Popup

If you’re fundraising in multiple markets, understanding how different cultures interpret colors is important. For example, red may be an effective “urgency” color to use with Western cultures, but elsewhere in the world, the color red is associated with evil and may actually offend potential donors rather than engaging them.

Our localization partners at Eriksen Translations have a fantastic article on the connection between colors and cultures. Check it out and be sure to download their “colors across cultures” chart as a helpful reference to have on hand.

Popup Benefits: Show on desktop, mobile, or both

You can set up multiple instances of Popup and have a version that displays only on desktop devices like a laptops, and a version that only displays on mobile devices like phones and tablets.

Choose Popup locations with URL controls

Popup and all of our overlay-style Elements include settings for URL control. These settings let you determine where on your website Popup should appear. For example, you might want to show Popup on your home page but not on the landing page for a specific campaign. Popup’s URL controls make this possible.

For power users, URL control settings even give you the ability to target website visitors based on the URL parameters they visit your website with. This enables you to create channel and campaign-specific popups — perfect for use with ads, email marketing, and even direct mail when you use our QR Code Element.

Popup custom fields

Like other components in the Elements library, Popup can pass through custom field data to the campaign its connected to. You can use custom fields to track properties like appeal codes or other data points that are specific to your organization.

By the way, custom field data can even be populated using URL query strings, giving you tracking capabilities beyond standard UTM parameters.

Popup localization

Fundraise Up’s built-in localization tools unlock your ability to connect with donors in 20 languages (with support for more on the way!). This means that along with Checkout, Donor Portal, and other features, you can display Popup in a donor’s preferred language.

Why is this important? In the U.S. alone, nearly 12% of donations made to nonprofits are completed using browsers set to a language other than American English. Similarly, up to 17% of online donation revenue for U.S.-based nonprofits is received from donors giving elsewhere in the world.

Localization not only increases the accessibility of your donation experience, it opens the door to engaging donors on a global scale.

Final thoughts on Popups for donation forms

Popup is simple but mighty Element. Everything you see (and don’t see) is an intentional orchestration of conversion optimizations that engage donors and increase giving. And thanks to Popup’s incredible versatility, it looks great on any device and has all of the settings you need to show it to the right donors at the right times.

About Fundraise Up

Fundraise Up is a technology company unlocking the world’s generosity potential by optimizing how people give. Our donation platform helps nonprofits engage more supporters and grow revenue by providing easy ways to increase conversion, enable modern payment methods, and personalize the giving experience for every donor. Fundraise Up is the partner of choice for UNICEF USA, The Salvation Army UK, American Heart Association, and other impactful organizations across the globe.

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