Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 14 seconds

Humanizing Information Collection for Nonprofits

information collectionA pain point for many nonprofits is not having the right data to make informed organizational decisions. It’s difficult asking volunteers and donors for personal information, such as gender, age, and home addresses without coming off as intrusive or demanding since these supporters are already doing so much for the cause.

But the thing is, asking for this information is vital to a nonprofit’s success because having well-rounded data helps organizations know who their audience is, tailor marketing efforts accordingly, and make informed business decisions that result in more volunteer sign ups and higher donations.

Most data collection tools are outdated. When nonprofits do collect data from volunteers and donors, they tend to use tangible paper forms or long-form style online forms (I’m personally guilty of this!). These forms are functional, but they lack emotion and don’t play into volunteer and donor pathos. As people are presented with these text heavy, monotone forms, they don’t have a visual reminder of the cause they’re contributing to, which isn’t motivating doesn’t inspire form completion.

Some nonprofits try different techniques to make their forms more customized, but the options for doing this can be pretty limited. At my last position, we had a long-form style online donation form and our only choice for making it more “personalized” was to modify its color. We tried changing the color from gray to our branded pallet, but it didn’t do as much as we’d hoped--the form still came off as bland and unfriendly.

When forms, especially volunteer and donation forms, aren’t friendly and don’t remind respondents of the nonprofit’s cause, people care less about the questions they’re being asked. They don’t want to take the extra time to fill in their information, and when this happens, nonprofits miss out on important data.

A solution to this problem is to use a form with humanized features and visuals. This will resonate with individuals because seeing an image or a video of the nonprofit that they support is convincing and empowering, and it encourages them to finish filling out their forms.

A type of online form, JotForm Cards, does just this. It has revamped traditional online forms and transformed them into a friendly experience where images, videos, icons, and emojis can be added to the background of a form and to the form fields. JotForm Cards also taps into volunteer and donor psychology by only showing one question per screen, so respondents can focus on what’s being asked. See for yourself in this volunteer application  and donation form. A natural swipe feature was also added so individuals on the go can quickly and easily sign up for a shift or make a donation via mobile. Lastly, with a new tech trend, Smart Embed, the forms automatically match with the style of a nonprofit’s website, which I know from experience can be a pain when trying to integrate new apps into it.

JotForm Cards is a friendly middle-man between nonprofits and critical supporters. They humanize online forms by making them feel like you’re talking to a real person. In the nonprofit world, maintaining strong relationships with constituents is key to getting valuable information, more volunteer sign ups, and higher donations. By providing these individuals with a friendly form that reminds them of how great your organization is, you will likely increase response rates and get the valuable data you need to succeed.

Annabel Maw is a Marketing Communications Specialist at JotForm, a popular online form-building tool based in San Francisco. Its simple drag-and-drop interface, along with conveniently sortable submission data, allows you to create forms and analyze their data without writing a single line of code. JotForm is the solution for online payments, contact forms, lead collection, surveys, registrations, applications, online booking, event registrations and more. Twitter: @AnnabelLMaw

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PMG360 is committed to protecting the privacy of the personal data we collect from our subscribers/agents/customers/exhibitors and sponsors. On May 25th, the European's GDPR policy will be enforced. Nothing is changing about your current settings or how your information is processed, however, we have made a few changes. We have updated our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy to make it easier for you to understand what information we collect, how and why we collect it.