Use Fewer Fields

All things being equal, fewer fields on a form will generally result in a better conversion rate.  Imagescape did a study where they found reducing a form from 11 fields to 4 fields resulted in a 120% increase in their conversion rate.  That is more than double.  In another study, reducing a form from 9 fields to 5 fields resulted in a 34% boost in the conversion rate.

How many fields are on your online giving or online event registration form?  Do you need them all?  Are they always necessary?  For example, I understand needing a large number of fields for the primary giving form for your site since anyone could be visiting it to make a gift.  However, what about an email solicitation to a specific group of prospects?  You should already know a lot of information about them.  Could you use a form with fewer fields?  If you know you are soliciting alumni, do you really need a class year field?

Related to fewer fields is also REQUIRING fewer fields.  Some studies have shown removing a phone number resulted in a 5% increase in conversions.  Furthermore, removing the requirement for a street address can boost conversions by 3%.  If you always require a phone and address now, do you need to?  For example, what if it is a free event?