We frequently advise our Charity clients on how to improve their supporters’ digital experiences, or “journeys”, as they tend to get called. Specifically, a lot of our work focuses on donation journeys – the online experiences that educate and encourage potential donors to give generously – and then reward them for doing so. In this work, we aim to stand in the shoes of the donor, to help them decide how much, and how often to give – and with what aim in mind. We then help them to feel great about that giving – before, during and afterwards.
This sort of work gives us a pretty comprehensive overview of what makes donation processes work really well. And hence what a really good donor experience feels like, for both donor and charity.
The 6 Dos of Donation offers our specific market insights into the experiences that underpin effective donations. It then distils these insights into six key donation principles.
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The six principles we focus on are these:
1. Do be direct.
If a user is confused about how to donate, or is forced to take detours around your site to give you money, the chances are they won’t bother. Say what you want them to do and let them do it. Fast.
2. Do be simple
You may think it’s cool to show off all the myriad things you can do with donors’ money, but supporters expect your to edit their choices. Only put in the ‘shop’ window the thing you really want to sell, and make it stand out. Give your users what they need, where and when they need it – and nothing more.
3. Do be inclusive
Let as many users as possible give to you. Review your welcome through the eyes of rich and poor; corporates and individuals; mobile users and web-users. Can they all see and sense that the giving experience honors them as individuals?
4. Do be confident
Don’t undersell your cause by expecting low, infrequent and unrepeatable donation levels. Configure your site for your best hopes, not your worst fears.
5. Do be consistent
Doubt is the enemy of donation. Every time something on your site does not do what it says it will, doubt grows and drop-off occurs. First and foremost, build an experience your donor can have faith in.
6. Do be appreciative
At the end of the day you are asking for money. You need the donor to trust in your ability to spend that money well, but also to understand your rationale for asking. So be welcoming and be grateful to your donors – before, during and after they spend time on your web-site.
These six guiding principles are centred around the user and supported by 24 more detailed pieces of advice. But a great donation experience depends on even more than this. Crucially, your Charity’s offer will be constrained by the sort of giving culture (frequency, size and ‘style’ of donation) you are trying to instill among donors; what giving ‘products’ you can create for them; how you will support them post-donation and also what other experiences you may want them to undertake.
At a tactical level choices will often be determined by the specific technologies your charity is working with. And at a strategic level by what your brand promise is. But wherever you are in your own donation strategy, we hope the 6Dos offer a valuable contribution to the debate about the importance of donor focus within your own Charity.
Tim Kitchin is client service director and director of consulting at Copper, the digital marketing agency.