Embarking on the journey of building donation forms brings us to a crossroads, a choice between simplicity and complexity. And in this vast maze of data fields and checkboxes, I find my North Star, a guiding philosophy: No optional fields. A philosophy distilled into a tonic of ruthless minimalism.

Imagine a toolbox, each tool representing a field in the form. Every screwdriver, every wrench holds value, but you wouldn’t carry every tool for every job. It’s the same with our fields. If a field holds weight, if it’s an absolute must-have for our endeavor, it secures a place in our toolbox. But if it’s something we could live without, we let it go. No clutter, no noise, just the essentials.

Why this cutthroat approach? Because clarity breeds engagement. It’s like inviting guests into a clean, well-organized room versus a cluttered attic. The former is welcoming, the latter, overwhelming. We need our donors to feel welcomed, not overwhelmed.

It’s more than just about keeping things tidy, though. Each question we ask is a precious nugget of opportunity to learn more about our donors. The quality of our questions dictates the quality of data we gather. Better questions aren’t just queries; they’re insights, whispers into the minds of our donors. They tell us more about our audience, help us tailor our efforts, sharpen our focus.

So, when shaping donation forms, we ought to be like master sculptors, chiseling away the excess to reveal the masterpiece within. We have to be as vigilant as night watchmen, ensuring only the essentials pass through our gates. In this realm of brevity and precision, we make our stand, our statement: If it’s important, it stays. If not, it departs.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand and Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2023 Stephen Boudreau.