Recently I was at a networking event about Social Media analytics for non-profits. It was full of great information from two social media specialists from the BC SPCA. But one of the things that stuck with me was that we should think as donation forms as products. In fact, treat all conversions as products. Why? Because the entire web especially social media is optimized for e‑commerce! So looking at your offerings as products puts you in the right frame of mind. 

But this got me thinking and it’s something that has bothered me for a little while. Why is it so enjoyable and easy to buy a pair of jeans online but donating to a cause I never feel the same way. 

Your organization is just a vessel to support a cause. So we should emphasize what people are buying’ for their support and incentivize them by helping them connect with your cause and make it super easy for them to donate. 

For example, recently we were analyzing a site during a proposal for an animal rescue website. They had a section for their residing animals with images and names and a short description. This is great except there was no really easy way or call to action for me to donate to help these animals.

Even though if I click through a few pages I was able to find a way to sponsor an animal I would like to sponsor. Instead I have to find this page and then click back to learn more about their story and then select their name! Seems like a lot of work.

Instead, why not put the call to action right into it. Then used tried and true e‑commerce UX patterns to make a very intuitive checkout/​donation form. 

Some things that could go into this are

  • Details about how the donation works
  • Frequently Asked questions
  • Pictures about the animal
  • A brief history of the animal
  • What the money goes to
  • Present amounts
  • Monthly / One-time payment options

Here the ollection of animals with filters per animal species. Each animal has a sponsor button that will take the user to the checkout’ page. 

A more standard checkout’ page for sponsoring the selected animal with details about the animal, images and how sponsoring works.