Designed to Be Ready When You Are

Through Frontier Marketing Co, I rebuilt a website for a local charity a couple years ago. The purpose of the website was to generate revenue (get online donations). As a strategist, I took into account what a potential donor needed to know and/or see before making the decision to donate. Consider the user completely new to the organization. How do I guide them through to perform the desired behaviour?

a peek into the strategy

Indeed, I considered the home page and top navigation prime real estate. Using a large image with 1–2 lines of text oriented the donor to a strong call to action (CTA) right away. Also on the home page is the mission statement or a brief summary of what the organization does. The home page is quite simple and has a focused CTA. There’s only 1 thing to do.

The website also included a narrative as users went through subpages of the top nav. Perhaps someone entirely new to the organization isn’t ready to give — they can learn more about the organization by reading its mission, heritage, services etc. No matter how deep a user goes into the site, there’s always the option to donate through the large distinct button in the top nav and also a secondary donation bar just above the footer on every page. Should a donor feel inspired to give after reading a story about life transformation, the donate button is easily accessible and simple to use. Moreover, we created a form that takes less than 30 seconds to fill out and process.

There’s SO much about this site that is optimized for giving, I could go on and on…

This charity website is for the skeptic who may not trust charities. There’s accountability and documentation available to help form trust. This website is also for the person that’s on the go, but has 30 seconds to give on mobile. It’s also for loyal donors who donate time and time again.

Why is the site made for a skeptic? Because I wanted to take it to the lowest rung of who would possibly donate. Cast as wide of a net as possible. If we get the skeptics, we would get everyone else as well. The loyal donors would give no matter how cumbersome the process was anyway.

More into the worldview of the skeptic — these may be people that want to do good and want to give, but they need to see the facts and figures first. They likely just want to do their due diligence in researching an organization before giving. They want to feel like they are the ones in charge of the decision of whether or not to give. Skeptics want to be convinced. Maybe they would even look up a charity’s tax records with the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) since it’s all public. The point isn’t to appease skeptics and beg for their donation, but rather to simply be transparent. Lay it out there — and they can decide. They want the final say. Therefore, there’s annual reports dating back to 2012, financial statements available for download also dating back to 2012, there’s a “Ethical Fundraising Policy” to tell donor exactly what happens to the data that’s entered and how they go about fundraising etc. These elements shouldn’t distract from the main CTA, but it’s available — that’s the point.

The WHY behind this product is to care for the homeless and addicted. It’s directly in the mission statement. Donations make it possible. I want to transform not only the lives of the people the charity serves directly, but also make the donor experience so euphoric they’ll want to do it again.

When I say euphoric — another way to put that it is “transformation not transactional”. We want a donor to feel like they did something amazing because giving IS amazing. We don’t want donors to associate their giving with negative terms like “payment” “billing information” “tax” “add this [sponsor child] to your cart”… That’s exactly why we designed Glass Register. There wasn’t another eCommerce system that we could customize and remove these words that are typically for a shopping experience.

It isn’t the most elegant website that embraces the newest technologies. It’s simple and easy to navigate. The target demographic is between 45–75 and there was a user that accessed the site with IE7 in 2017 — I KID YOU NOT!

There isn’t anything to buy or sell other than the feeling of doing something good. If generating over a million dollars in less than 4 days is any indication, I’d say it’s accomplishing its goal quite well.

Serving charities globally through fundraising consulting. Passionate about charity, simplicity and adventure. Writing about work, life, and random musings.