Blog posts

6 fantastic online donation journeys - and what to learn from them

Chris Houghton
November 13, 2019

Having a great online donor experience is more important than ever. The percentage of giving that happens online is going up every year - it reached 8.4% in 2018.

With this in mind, I thought it would be great to highlight some of the online website donation experiences.

While taking donations online sounds reasonably straightforward, there's a lot to it. There's all of the different payment methods, single vs monthly donations, mobile friendliness, Gift Aid declarations, address auto-completes, security, and common donor questions.

Plus - making a form look good and usable is a lot harder than it sounds.

Without further ado - let's jump right in!

1. Battersea Cats & Dogs home

Battersea rebranded back in 2018, and now have one of the best looking websites out there. They've correctly highlighted the need, and the fact that the donation process is secure:

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Unlike many organisations, Battersea have opted for the "whole donation experience on one page" approach, something we're big fans of here at Beacon.

Additionally, they have possibly the best Gift Aid declaration section of any charity I've seen. Declarations are hugely valuable, but not particular exciting from a donor's perspective. Good design really can go a long way here:

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2. WaterAid

WaterAid's entire website is also stunning. Their online donation experience is quite different - it's a multi-step flow, (often hard to get right!) but the folks at WaterAid have done a pretty good job here.

Additionally - they support all major payment methods, including Apple Pay. Bonus points for you, WaterAid!

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WaterAid also provide real and tangible examples about where your money goes, based on the donation amount selected, providing donors both reassurance and a "feel-good factor".

Their address auto-complete is also a nice touch:

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3. Charity Water

The only way to describe Charity Water's donation experience is minimalist. There's no separate "checkout" or donation page - just a small and effective form within the website itself.

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As mentioned above, form design is one of those things that sounds simple - but it's not. Charity Water have managed to get all of the key form fields into a small space, without making the form feel cramped.

Additionally, Charity Water are one of the few organisations out there that have branded their monthly donation experience to be a kind of "club" - which can really help donors feel part of the solution.

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4. Red Cross

The Red Cross have done a fantastic job with the web design on the pages leading up to the actual donation form itself.

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Additionally, they've gone out of their way to provide answers to commonly asked donation questions about donating - which can help to reassure donors during the process:

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The actual donation form itself isn't particularly noteworthy - where the Red Cross have really nailed this is on their website before the actual donation form.

5. Friends of the Earth

Friends of the Earth have done a great job making their cause front and centre in the donation flow. There's literally a picture of the Earth in the background to the donation form!

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I mentioned this with WaterAid above - it's a nice touch clarifying what the donation amounts will help with. It would be even nicer to clarify specifically where my £25 would go though!

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The donation form also looks great on mobile:

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6. Baggy Trousers

The approach that Baggy Trousers take is definitely not for everyone. As soon as you reach the website, you're quickly confronted with a rather... noticable donation call to action:

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On clicking through, Baggy Trousers are using a Beacon-hosted form, which looks a lot like a Google form -and supports single & monthly payments via Apple Pay, PayPal, and credit/debit cards.

Baggy Trousers are another great example of an organisation taking their core mission and making it a big part of the donation experience.

That's about it for this week! Know any other particular great online donation experiences? Let us know!