Want online donations? Let donors lead web design
The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported how the American Heart Association redesigned its website so it worked better as a donor giving channel: Better Design Nets Charity More Online Donations (subscription required for this article).
Before the changes, only 12% of would-be online donors completed the process. Now 70% do. Nice, huh?
They started by analyzing their site's traffic statistics. Then they asked users what they wanted via an online survey. Finally, when they started to design improvements, they made sure it worked with Web usability testing.
Discipline. They based what they did on donor behavior, not on somebody's opinion of what things ought to be like.
Christian A. Caldwell, who oversaw the changes, said, "It had a lot to do with changing the perspective from our financial department wanting to know how much the donation is to 'What is it you're here to do? Who is it you're here to honor?' ... Everybody came with their own ideas about why donors were going away. Instead of getting into that argument about what the donors' intentions were, I said, 'Let's just take it right to the donors, and try to get them to tell us.'"
That's how you do good work in fundraising: Pay attention to donors.