Better align your online donation journey with supporter expectations

Always start with research

During the global pandemic the non-profit sector took a massive hit. However, as the vaccine roll out continues around 3 in 5 charities are now feeling optimistic about the future for their organisation. Key operational challenges are expected to persist and understandably, more than half of charities say they need to shift more to an online fundraising approach.

We have worked with various non-profits, most recently RSPB. Our approach combines data and deep customer research insights to create impactful experiments which drive measurable growth across the supporter journey. So we knew we could help the third sector with this challenge to optimise their online approach.

We therefore decided to use our knowledge to investigate to what degree charities were tackling optimisation of their online journey, to ascertain what they were doing well and areas of opportunity for further testing and optimisation. We selected and audited 10 brands’ subscription journeys using a heuristic analysis - this is a technique based on best practice frameworks. (Take a look at the charity audit report here).

We identified that there are several key areas where supporter expectations are not being met online
Comparison with the private sector
  • A donor arriving on a site isn't comparing your brand with their last donation experience 3 months ago. They're comparing a charity's site with their favourite ecommerce and fintech sites and apps. Failure to be seen as holding the same standards as highly optimised ecommerce platforms can create trust issues in donation platforms.
Identifying intent
  • Charities, like any other brands, will have some inbound audiences that are very warm and others that are less so. On a binary level, the goal of a warm donor is to donate in a frictionless manner, whereas a new supporter might need further information, enhanced value proposition and donation distribution content to ensure they make the right decision to donate. Charity landing pages often don't take differing audience needs into consideration. This leads to needless friction for their repeat supporters or missing out on new donors because they haven't served enough of the right content.
Value Proposition
  • Limited space can mean charities struggle to write impactful copy to inspire donors while still ensuring that value propositions are an appropriate representation of how money will be spent.
Brand recall
  • One reason supporters decide not to give is because they are unsure that they are on the right organisation’s site. Failure to serve consistent experiences throughout offline and online touch points can result in supporter uncertainty and abandonment. The goal of a digital experience is to transition from "I think I'm on the right site" to "I know I'm on the right site".
Range of payment types available
  • Donors expect to be able to give with their preferred payment method, meaning charities will risk losing donors if they can't offer a full range of payment options, including American Express cards and ewallet services like PayPal and ApplePay.
How can experimentation help?

A heuristic audit (and recommendations that you can find in the report) is just the very first step, the most effective way to tackle these challenges and improve your donation page / checkout performance is to first conduct robust audience research to gain a deep understanding of your customers. This can range from pop up surveys, heat mapping and scroll depth analysis, through to remote user testing and face to face sampling. The value is frequently updated customer research insights is they offer an explanation as to why your supporters act in the way they do.

By combining data, with customer research-driven insights you can begin to get under the skin of your potential supporters, defining actionable insights which can drive winning experiments.

Research helps answer questions such as:

  • What are your supporters’ expectations?
  • Why don’t certain audiences perform as well as others?
  • Why are users dropping off at certain points?
  • What is the best way to move a cash giver, to a regular giver?
  • How do I increase giving value without impacting conversion?

Focusing on gaining this level of understanding about your customers means these are all questions you can seek to address with a high degree of confidence that an experiment or test will overcome specific customer conversion issues (like the challenges outlined earlier in this article).

If you leverage actionable, customer-driven insights to unleash existing analytics data potential, you can improve key page performance by at least 5%. What would a 5% uplift in your donation flow conversion rate mean to you? Especially if this was in addition to an increase in average donation value through the same experiment.

If this sounds interesting and you want to find out more please get in touch, we're always happy to chat.

Osh Rice

Managing Director, Daydot