Giving shouldn’t be so confusing.
The other day as we paid our bills, my husband and I pulled an appeal from our pile to make a donation. Then we turned the response form over and over, trying to figure out what to do.
It was a combination return envelope and form. But to mail the envelope, you had to figure out that parts of it were perforated.
Then fold and rip those parts away.
Then fold it again (though the lines provided didn’t work right).
And then put the check inside and lick and seal the envelope. Though it didn’t stick.
We resorted to tape.
That was a lot of frustration for a donation. Kind of counteracted any happy buzz we might have felt. I’m pretty sure we weren’t supposed to work quite so hard or get quite so confused.
So I wondered how many other things we do to our donors daily. Things that seem to make sense to us. Or save us money. Or make our lives easier.
But things that make donors feel frustrated or stupid or just plain tired.
That envelope was one example. But I suspect there are plenty of others.
That’s why it’s a great idea to have some people to “test” your appeals on. People who aren’t fundraisers. Ideally, people over 60. Watch them as they open the mail or email or look at the webpage. Are they comfortable? Are they sure what they’re being asked to do? Is it easy to give?
Or do they feel sort of lost, inept or frustrated?
We want to make our appeals the shortest connection possible between our cause – the people who need help – and the donor.
So why do we let things like envelope origami get in the way?
Here are some problems I can think of:
- Direct mail packages with no envelope at all
- Direct mail appeals that only offer an online way to give
- Websites with no development staff contact information
- Websites with no easy to find donation button – or one with language that’s unclear
- Email that isn’t optimized for mobile – and with a donation hyperlink but no button. (Try chasing one of those links around on your phone.)
- Online donation forms that require a captcha or a login
- No mail address on the website
Your turn – what have you noticed that makes donors work too hard to give?
Share yours in the comments, please, so we’ll all have happier donors.
Photo thanks to Ryan McGuire