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NFPs overlooking the online donor experience

22 March 2019 at 4:58 pm
Luke Michael
Charities are being urged to make it easier for people to donate online, after new research found not for profits were struggling with the transition to digital giving.

Luke Michael | 22 March 2019 at 4:58 pm


NFPs overlooking the online donor experience
22 March 2019 at 4:58 pm

Charities are being urged to make it easier for people to donate online, after new research found not for profits were struggling with the transition to digital giving.

Digital fundraising platform GiveEasy analysed more than 50 direct mail Christmas campaigns from a mix of small and large charities, specifically looking at the donation URL that was included in the letters.

The research showed only 29 per cent of charities had a distinct mobile donation page, while just 15 per cent had a tracking URL different to their main donation page.

Just a third of campaigns had an alternative payment method to credit card, and of those campaigns, only 12 per cent offered PayPal as an option.

GiveEasy CEO Jeremy Tobias said these findings highlighted that charities were overlooking the donor experience and struggling with the transition to online giving.

He said with corporates spending vast amounts of money on customer experience, it was important charities were doing the simple things right on their donation forms.

“Charities are highly reliant on mail donations, but have not adjusted their methods for people to give online. This is a significant revenue risk for charities, with some people receiving the letter in the mail and wanting to give on the spot from their smartphone,” Tobias said.

“Charities are blindly rolling out the same giving mechanisms on their mail out. We know that more traditional [donors] are shifting from mail to online so it is so important that their experience is as frictionless and easy as possible when they want to give.”

Tobias said he was also concerned that all campaigns analysed had a URL which took donors to a form asking them for their postal address, despite charities already having this information.

GiveEasy marketing manager Tamara Rozentals said digital tools allowed charities to quickly and easily work out where donors lived and what they were responding best to.

She said this made it vital that charities were using effective tracking URLs.

“Without adequate tracking in place, you lose one of the key benefits that digital brings to the table and cannot meaningfully improve performance,” Rozentals said.

Charities themselves have noticed a trend in online donations – which reached $10.7 billion through PayPal alone in 2017.  

Maree Taylor, donor development manager at the Queensland division of the Royal Flying Doctor Service, said the charity recognised the significant growth in online giving and had tailored its donations strategies accordingly.

“We’ve seen the benefits of being able to track our donations from various sources as well as tailor the donation experience depending on the medium, to make it as simple as possible if they would like to donate online from any device,” Taylor said.

This analysis follows research from PayPal that found only 12 per cent of Australians have had the opportunity to donate to charity via mobile, despite 72 per cent of smartphone users already using mobile payments.

Tobias told Pro Bono News charities absolutely needed to make use of mobile.

“With email read rates and click through rates on the decline, channels like SMS are becoming even more important for communication and donations,” he said.

“We are also seeing a significant uptake in PayPal donations as supporters turn to digital wallets.”  

Luke Michael  |  Journalist  |  @luke_michael96

Luke Michael is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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