Have you tried giving money to yourself? You might find the process enlightening.

A new study published by Jakob Nielsen, one of the most respected names in usability, focuses specifically on nonprofits and the giving process. We are happy to report that Kimbia solutions are used as examples of giving processes done right.

We recommend purchasing this highly valuable piece of research. Some key points from the study:

  • “Given the high growth rate for Internet donations, we estimate that they will constitute the majority of donations by 2020. If non-profit organizations get their sites into shape, that is.”
  • How important is usability – of the “donation killers” analyzed “50% were usability problems.”
  • “… donations don’t exhibit nearly as streamlined user experience as most e-commerce sites.”

We live in the iPhone era where donors have very high expectations for interactive products. As the study points out, donor expectations are set by leading brands like southwest.com and Amazon.com. Would you rate the giving process on your site as highly as your favorite ecommerce site?

We also live in an era in which it is likely more than 90% or your donors have email accounts and spend money online. But if your an average non-profit you are probably only getting 10% of gifts online. Why the disconnect? The study chalks up much of the reluctance to give online to bad donor experiences and outlines several steps to improve the process. Like the authors of this study, KIMBIA believes that an excellent experience can radically improve the online giving experience for donors and strengthen the online giving channel for your organization.

Does your giving process measure up? Kimbia has put together a simple quiz you can use to rate your process. This scoring system is based on some of the key points in the usability study.

Simply go through the process of giving a gift on your current site and answer the following questions.

Question 1 –

Site consistency

  • 2 points. The donor stays on your site at your domain throughout the entire process.
  • 1 point. The donor is sent to a vendor domain but it still looks like your site.
  • 0 points. The donor is sent to a different site.

Why this is important?
Donors want to donate directly to your organization. If they are sent to a different site confidence is drastically reduced. Mimicking your site’s look and feel helps matters somewhat, but donors still notice that they are on a vendor site. Big online brands, like American Airlines and Apple, never take a user away from their domain. Those are the other places where your donors use their credit cards online and they expect you to meet the same standard.

Question 2 –


  • 2 points. The donation process requires just one or two data screens and a confirmation screen.
  • 1 point. 3 to 5 screens.
  • 0 points. More than 5 screens.

Why this is important?
Simple. More steps equal fewer people completing the process. And, yes, all those landing pages, marketing pages, and qualifying pages where the donor picks a gift type count as steps in the process. Obviously, fewer steps and questions make it much more likely a donor hit submit and give a gift. Some gift types and transaction types require more questions, but they should still be as streamlined as possible.

Question 3 –

Page loading

  • 2 points. The web page never reloads between steps in the donation process.
  • 1 point. The page reloads but does so quickly and without changing the appearance.
  • 0 points. The page reloads with “blank” time in between steps and/or the interface changes.

Why this is important?
Once a donor has committed to giving a gift, there should be no delay in the process.Donors waiting for screens to load are much more likely to give up and go away.

Question 4 –

Live feedback that makes sense

  • 2 points. The donor is given natural language feedback as they move through the process.
  • 1 point. The donor is given feedback at each step in the process.
  • 0 points. The donor is only given feedback at the end of the process.

Why this is important?
Guiding the donor through the giving process reduces frustration and increases the likelihood that a donor will complete the process successfully. Most online giving options only provide feedback after the donor hits “Submit”. Worse, the feedback is often not inline with the data field that needs to be corrected and/or is presented as error message rather than polite instructions. Giving donors polite, instructive feedback while they are filling out the form is the best way to ensure that errors are corrected quickly and donors are pleased with the experience.

Question 5 –

Giving options

  • 2 points. Your site has giving options for all of your organization’s programs and efforts.
  • 1 point. Your site has just a few general giving options.
  • 0 points. There is just one generic donation form for all online gifts.

The usability report stresses the importance of telling donors where their money is going. The best way to accomplish this is to provide clear options for each of your programs and present the donor with a confirmation screen and receipt that verifies that the donors wishes have been respected.

How did you score? Kimbia would like to help you score a perfect 10. We can also help you implement many of the other recommendations from this study. We have done a lot of engineering work to make sure the donor experience is excellent. That means you can build an ideal giving process with minimal effort.

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