Don’t Ask Constituents To Submit

By default, the button used to send the contents of an HTML form to a server is labeled “Submit”.  While this makes sense in the context that you are submitting information for approval to a server, it definitely sends the wrong message to your donors or event registrants.  Considering that the other definition of submit is to yield, it is always better to choose a different label.

As I have been reviewing nearly every giving and event registration site of traditional four year colleges and universities in the US, I still see a great many forms using the default button label of “Submit”.

If you have a form using the default now, what should you change it to?  Ideally, you should choose a verb or phrase that conveys the action taking place.  For example, a donor will either be giving or donating.  So, you could use “Give” or “Donate” as the label.  Optionally, you could add an immediacy indicator such as “Give Now” or “Donate Now”.  These are far superior to “Submit”.

In the case of an event registration, you could use a button label of “Register” or “Complete Registration”.  If a payment is involved, you might want to use “Register and Pay” or something similar to communicate the fact their credit card will be charged.

When you have multiple steps or forms that a constituent needs to complete, take the time to choose the best labels for these buttons as well.  You could choose something simple and to the point like “Next”, “Continue” or “Proceed”.  Alternatively, you could choose something more descriptive such as “Continue & Enter Payment Information”. 

Don’t use the default “Submit” label for your buttons.  Choose something else that better conveys what your constituent is doing.  This will reduce confusion and should result in more conversions.