Report Finds Most Nonprofit Web Sites Lack Information Donors Want
Want to increase the number of online donations you get and the amount given through them? Make it easy for Web visitors to find out who you are, what you do and how you spend donated funds.
This was a key finding from the recently released report "Donation Usability: Design Guidelines for Improving the Donation Process and the Usability of Essential Information on Charity and Non-Profit Websites" from the Nielsen Norman Group. The report studied test subjects ages 20 to 61 who had donated to at least one nonprofit during the preceding year as they interacted with and made donations to 23 nonprofit Web sites with missions ranging from animal rights to youth education. Some of the nonprofits represented in the study include Environmental Defense Fund, The Conservation Fund, American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, Action Against Hunger, Heifer International, Defenders of Wildlife, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and the “I Have a Dream" Foundation.
The report found that before they decide to donate, subjects want to know the organization's mission, goals, objectives and how it uses donations. However, only 43 percent of the Web sites studied featured their missions on their homepages, and only 4 percent said on the homepage where donors' money would go. While most of the organizations included this information somewhere on their sites, the report found that subjects had trouble finding it and this influenced their decision to donate.
Factors influencing donations to organizations were the organization's presence in the potential donor's community, and that organizations share the potential donor's ideals and values.
The report found that donations were deterred by poor page and site design (47 percent) — e.g., cluttered pages, confusing workflow — and unclear content (53 percent) — e.g., unclear and missing information and confusing terms. In fact, according to the report, banner-blindness and over-formatting led subjects to overlook donation buttons on 17 percent of the sites.