12th April 2017
Poor accessibility, complex journeys, slow loading page speed… Issues that affect most websites, but are especially problematic for some online pages like your charity website. You see, giving is an emotional decision, not a rational one. We buy food because we need to eat, but we only donate because we feel compelled to do it, whether that is caused by a sense of duty, compassion or the urge to help.
Last year, a survey concluded that the charity sector was still failing to make the most of online fundraising, both on the web and mobile versions of their websites. The study showed, for instance, that 40% of the charities interviewed did not optimise their donation platforms for mobile devices.
If charities are failing to act when emotion strikes the user, they are not providing a good user experience and failing to identify the user’s needs. Investing in digital innovation might sound risky, but, if well done, could potentially lead to more online traffic and more conversions. Still, not all improvements require a huge amount of investment. We put together a list of 15 tips for charity websites with the help of our partner charity PHASE Worldwide.
1. Make sure your charity website is easy to navigate and your message is clear
According to Jonathan Scorer, Communications Manager at PHASE, having a “concise mission statement or tagline is important”. Landing on a homepage and being able to quickly understand what a charity does and why the visitor should donate makes all the difference.
2. Make the ‘donate’ option easy to find
This should be one of the first things that catches the user’s eye when they land on your page. Also, the call-to-action should always be available or easy to go back to, regardless of how many pages the user wants to browse. The PHASE Worldwide charity website, for example, has a static menu at the top of the page that stays visible no matter which page the user opens.
3. Make your charity website and donation forms mobile-friendly and properly coded
We all know that, no matter how well you build a website or form, there will always be one user that experiences some sort of problem. Although the many components that make up the online experience make it almost impossible to secure a flawless experience for everyone, your website’s code should not to be a part of this list.
4. Create donation reminders
Sometimes people need a little nudge in the right direction. Identify the most popular pages on your charity website and improve them with donation reminders that strengthen the main call-to-action.
5. Use smart donation defaults to encourage people to give more
It’s important to give people options (such as allowing them to make a unique donation versus setting up a monthly donation), but it is a good idea to use a smart value default to encourage people to donate a certain amount. It’s important to test and find the perfect default donation or donations – you wouldn’t want to scare potential donors away by being too ambitious or making them feel like their donation is not good enough.
6. Translate donations into actual goods
A good tip shared by PHASE Worldwide: “encourage donations by clearly highlighting what each size donation can provide. This could be a goat, school toilets, a year’s salary for a health worker, etc.”
7. Choose a reliable payment processing provider
If you are going to choose a third-party provider to handle your online donations, choose a trustworthy one that your website visitors are likely to trust. It is ideal to find a provider that can track data so people don’t have to re-enter their banking details every time they wish to donate.
8. Make sure your website is fully accessible
Whether your charity aims to help disabled people or not, having a fully accessible website is essential. For instance, you wouldn’t want to miss donations from visually impaired people because your button doesn’t have the metadata that allows screen readers to work…
9. Make it personal
Jonathan’s advice is to “use case studies to tell real stories” and share the experiences of people helped by the charity. PHASE Worldwide’s blog offers some good examples of this.
10. Engage with your visitors through strong imagery Working for a charity usually means having a source of strong, empowering imagery that will engage users on a more emotional and real level. Make the most of it!
11. Identify your audience
Who are you trying to reach? Research your audience and make sure that your content is relevant and accessible for the right people.
12. Show that you are a trustworthy organisation
Partnering up with other organisations and businesses, sharing real testimonials and endorsements, and linking your website to your social media network are simple steps that go a long way.
13. Make sure donors can easily sign up to your newsletter
Sending your newsletter to previous donors will help you keep them up to date on how their money is helping others and this gives people a sense of accomplishment. Besides, it doesn’t hurt reminding them about your charity’s work and goals.
14. Go for diversity
Some people like to donate and some people prefer to help in different ways. “Make sure it’s clear that there are many ways people can help as well as donating” – this might include volunteering, fundraising for your charity, buying from your online shop or sharing your social media posts.
15. Share your work
Jonathan advises other charities to “clearly show what the work you do has achieved so far and why it’s important for this work to continue”.
Maria Santos, Head of Marketing and Data Protection
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At People for Research, we recruit participants for UX and usability testing and market research. We work with award winning UX agencies across the UK and partner up with a number of end clients who are leading the way with in-house user experience and insight.