Summer Festival of the Arts: A Donation Form Success Story

In 2014, Summer Festival of the Arts (SFOA) took part in our first ever Holiday Online Donation Form Special (which we decided to keep as a year-round offer). SFOA already had the ability to accept donations through their website via PayPal, but wanted a system that gave them more control over appearance and customer experience. Alex, SFOA’s Executive Director, shared a bit about their experience with the new donation form and the changes she’s seen (so far).


 “By having the donation form directly within our site, not only are we able to promote our ability to accept online donations much more, but we have seen many more come in.”

More Donations. Once they made the switch from PayPal to donation form, Alex noticed a surge in online donations. She happily reported that this year was one of the organization’s most financially successful.

With this type of donation form, you can customize the information you want/need to get from donors.

With this type of donation form, you can customize the information you want/need to get from donors.

The switch gave SFOA’s website a couple new advantages. First, the ease and convenience that online donations provide for the donor, allowing them to donate any amount they wanted without any headache. Second, as a service, PayPal got the job done (“the job” being accepting donations), but within certain parameters. For starters, when a person wanted to make a donation, they were automatically redirected to Paypal. This can be a frustrating process. It may be misconstrued as spam, plus it’s not always clear that you don’t actually need to create a PayPal account to make a payment or donation. In the end, Paypal is a service that does exactly what it says it will do, but it creates some unnecessary hurdles for potential donors, who may decide “This is too much of a hassle” and keep their money.

“I don’t think we would have been able to run the “$37 for 37 Years campaign without the online donation form. It allowed us to share the link directly on social media, thus driving traffic to our website, and pushing the campaign.


SFOA3Better Marketing. Having a link to a specific page on their website made sharing easier, whether it was through social media or email marketing. The organization felt more comfortable sharing the link to their new form rather than a post saying “Click on the PayPal button on our site.”  Part of the battle with PayPal was it’s marketability, or lack thereof. This creates a problem with awareness: when you have a service you aren’t in love with, how do you tell other people about it? It’s more fulfilling to direct people to a page that you have some control over. With the new donation form, SFOA was better able to inform people about their ability to accept online donations.

“We even got a recurring monthly donation (hope to get more in the future!)”

New Campaigns. SFOA didn’t just let their donation form sit on their website collecting dust. They created a fundraising campaign, “$37 for 37,” encouraging people to make a $37 dollar donation to commemorate the organization’s 37th year. Of course, the donation form is built to accept all donation amounts (yet another convenient feature that encourages people to donate). Having the ability to share a link to a webpage made the promotional material for “$37 for 37” more useful, and they saw an uptick in their website traffic.

The $37 for 37 Campaign was a huge success. In fact, this campaign was so successful that they’re making it an annual event (with a different number each year, of course)!

“We love our donation page!”

Happy Campers. The online donation form helped SFOA receive its highest amount of donations this year. With this money, they were able to grant aid to every student who applied for it (whether a full or partial scholarship). Overall, this translates to about 20% of the student body receiving financial assistance through donations. Additionally, SFOA was able to bring in three Guest Artists throughout the course of the summer (a landscape architect, an aerial artist, and the Barn Arts Collective).
We’re thrilled that the new donation form helped SFOA reach new heights in their fundraising, allowing their summer camp to grow and flourish. Here’s to your ongoing success, SFOA!