Optimising the charity donation process - real examples


Many charities include 'we want to increase donations' as one of the key objectives for a new website project. Achieving this requires attention to detail at many levels including content, user experience and a sometimes challenging integration of tech systems. 

To pay close attention to user experience this week I decided to test out 5 charities by donating £10 to each. I decided that I was happy to be upsold to £20 if challenged. Here's what happened.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF)

There was a lot to like about donating to MSF. It only took one click from the homepage to select the amount to donate, and had pre-defined donation amounts telling me exactly what my donation would fund.


The page for entering my information was clear and simple, with a 'find address' function if inputting a postcode. The banner at the top of the process showed which stage I was at in the process. I was automatically signed up for their newsletter unless I opted out, and the Gift Aid option was really clearly presented. 

I liked that the payments page allowed me to select from different currencies and also to change the final donation amount, though there was no specific challenge or incentive to increase my donation. 

After I donated I was presented with this video which reinforced why I'd donated. A thank you is always nice!

Here's a slideshow of the entire donations process from start to finish. 

MSF Donation


Blue Cross

Next up, Blue Cross. Again, it was only one click from the homepage to select the amount to donate, with pre-defined amounts related to what the donation would fund. The payment forms were easy to fill in with address auto-fills based on postcode and an easy Gift Aid option.

This was another really slick process, made as easy as possible, though again there was no ask for me to increase my donation. Instead of a video I was presented with a photo of a puppy with endearing eyes. Hmmm.


Here's a slideshow of the process:

Blue Cross Donation

The Childrens Society

It took me three clicks to get to a one-off £10 donation option as the donations function on the homepage defaults to a monthly recurring donation. Then the payment and personal information were all on one page which I found slightly clunky.

The Gift Aid option was simple, but there was no incentive to increase my donation. This could have been worse, but it was not as slick as MSF or Blue Cross.

Here's how the whole process went:

TSC Donation


The donate button on the homepage was not as obvious as the other contenders, and there were no pre-defined amounts or explanations of what the money would fund. However, the form to fill in and the Gift Aid option were easy to navigate thanks to a 'find address' function.


I noticed that there was no option to sign up (or opt out of) their newsletter, which is a missed opportunity, and as you can see from the slideshow the 'thank you' page could have a bit more imagination injected into it. 

Here's the process in full:

SANE Donation


Finally, I donated to the RNIB. Although it's only two clicks from the homepage to selecting the donation amount, the next page is very unwieldy with personal and payment info, donation and Gift Aid all on one page.

They were also the only charity I looked at who required an opt-in for communications. Overall the process was not as easy and fast as some of the others. 

Here's a slideshow of the process:

RNIB Donation

Next Steps

How does your donations process match up? Here are some things to look at:

  1. Is the donate button in a prominent place on the homepage?
  2. How many clicks does it take the user to donate?
  3. Do you suggest different amounts with examples of what the money could fund?
  4. Are the forms easy to navigate?
  5. Do donors know where they are in the process?
  6. How do you thank them afterwards? (The image below is taken from an email Blue Cross sent to me after my donation.)
  7. Do you try and up-sell?
  8. Finally, how mobile friendly is your donation process?


19 August 2014
Andy Pearson