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Boost your digital fundraising results with these design elements


Design elements on your digital fundraising page can be the split-second difference between someone donating to your campaign or not. While design elements alone won’t do your fundraising for you, these user interface elements will increase your chances of success:

Progress bars


Elegant progress bar from

Progress bars are frequently used online to motivate people to complete surveys and get through checkout processes. Nir Eyal, in his excellent book Hooked, explains the Endowed Progress Effect; just by showing a status bar and informing the user that the end is near, people are much more likely to complete a series of actions.

This same phenomenon can also be used to motivate communities. With fundraising campaigns, progress bars visually show how each donation is helping the whole community reach a common goal.

To get the most out of progress bars, consider that:

  • An empty progress bar can be demotivating – You should do what you can to ensure people see your campaign after progress has been made. One way to do this is to get funds committed prior to your digital campaign going live.
  • Your goal should be clearly within reach – If you can get a maximum of $2,000 committed to your campaign prior to it going live, a goal of $2,000,000 will look fairly hopeless. With a $10,000 target on the other hand, most visitors will be seeing strong progress right from the start.
  • Progress bars are motivating, right up until the point where the goal is met – Once a target has been reached, the desire to donate decreases. While this is fine for most campaigns, it is worth considering ways to keep those who contributed to your campaign motivated to do more.

Social Counters


When you’re looking for a restaurant, are you more likely to consider the empty one or the one that can only just fit you in? Most would go for the busier one, which is why it is busier.

People feel weird about doing things no one else is doing, so when they land on your digital fundraising page, you want them to feel like they’re one of many who want to support your cause.

A simple way to do this is to include social counters on your digital fundraising pages. These could be counts for social shares, comments and contributors.


Hubbub Fundraising Leaderboards

Leaderboard from a project on

Add someone to a leaderboard, tell them what position they’re in and their competitive nature will take over.

Leaderboards can be used to motivate groups or individuals to help your cause. For example, you could have a leaderboard on your crowdfunding campaign showing supporters how much traffic they’re driving to your page and how many donations that traffic led to.

A university Giving Day campaign could have a leaderboard showing how many pledges each university department is receiving.

Berkley University’s Giving Day campaign, Big Give, for example, used a leaderboard to show which departments raised the most.


Berkley’s leaderboard for their Giving Day campaign, Big Give

By putting people in leaderboards and letting them know their position, you’re likely to motivate at least the competitive supporters to try get to the top.



When people come across your campaign and decide that your cause is one they want to support, they might not necessarily donate at that very moment. Perhaps they think they might have more money to give after their next payday. They could end up promising themselves they’ll pledge at a later date, leaving the page, and never returning.

I mean, they are right. Why donate now then they can donate at another time? This is where counters can help. If your campaign has a deadline, make it clear and obvious, especially when it’s soon. The timer needs to show the supporter the time to get involved is now!

Summary of design elements that encourage donations

Progress bars – studies show people are most likely to do an action if they can see a progress bar that’s almost complete.Social counters – people are more likely to donate when they can see a numerical indication of other people donating.Leaderboards – leaderboards bring out peoples’ competitive side and are a great way to encourage support.Timers – are useful for creating a sense of urgency to encourage donors to donate instantly.


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