Web Usability and Donations

July 13, 2009 by

Web usability guru Jakob Nielsen recently wrote an article entitled Donation Usability: Increasing Online Giving to Non-Profits and Charities. In it, he discusses the virtues of creating a usable online donation system with effective design and writing.

Copywriters, designers and information architects, pay attention. Nielsen has this to say:

Non-profits would collect much more from their websites if only they’d clearly state what they are about and how they use donations. Our new usability studies revealed considerable frustration as potential donors visited sites and tried to discern various organizations’ missions and goals–which are key factors in their decisions about whether to give money.

In 2008, non-profits got about 10% of their donations online, according to a survey by Target Analytics. Given the high growth rate for Internet donations, we estimate that they’ll constitute the majority of donations by 2020. If non-profit organizations get their sites into shape, that is.

Churches may think they’re exempt from this, but the same basic idea holds true. People want to know what you’re doing with their money. Since churches have a poor track record that’s even more important.

Post By:

Joshua Cody

Josh Cody served as our associate editor for several years before moving on to bigger things. Like Texas. These days he lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, and you can find him online or on Twitter when he's not wrestling code.
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2 Responses to “Web Usability and Donations”

  • dean craig
    July 17, 2009

    None of the sites Nielsen tested were churches.
    While he found that the sites he tested were “Donation Process: OK”, in the testing we’ve done, most churches use donation vehicles that ask way too many questions that have nothing to do with the transaction process. (age, gender, family position)
    When you remove these unneeded “requirements” from the process your donations will increase significantly.

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  • Church websites could do a lot with donations. I mean if you think about it sometimes the members are out of town. Giving online means they can still give even then.

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