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Charity websites good on content but not donor engagement, say Dotmailer

Howard Lake | 21 January 2009 | News

Cover of Hitting the Heart report by Dotmailer
Hitting the Heart

Digital marketing agency dotMailer has analysed the websites of 15 major charities and found that, while many follow best practice in terms of design and content, most fail to capitalise on the opportunities of building a loyal online visitor base.
As a result, dotMailer says that the charities “are failing to put their website at the centre of a wider digital marketing strategy and neglecting donor contact and up sell opportunities”.
The benchmark study, Hitting the Heart, is published today. It details the 15 charity websites against 26 best practice criteria, awarding each a total score out of 100.
Cancer Research UK leads the index with a score of 81% followed by Save the Children (80%), Action for Blind People (79.5%) and British Heart Foundation (79.5%).
Homepages generally scored good marks overall for design, layout and clarity of message with high average scores in particular for putting key messages above the fold (78%), fresh content (78%) and easy-to-use search (100%).
However, only one in three of the charities assessed managed to score over 70%, with Crime Concern at the bottom of the table with 47.5%.
Where charities scored low was in the important areas of collecting permission based email signups and contact data, encouraging existing donors to give more, and in following donations up with relationship building emails. The report reveals that “not one single charity surveyed” scored a point for sending a follow-up email campaigns to donors within 30 days of the transaction.
Dave Ivy, Creative Director at dotMailer said: “Our study identified several key areas in which charities should focus on making changes, such as providing up-to-date content that engages visitors, working harder to capture permission-based email signups, and using more intelligent web content and email follow-up to engage and upgrade prospects to donors and turn existing donors into repeat givers.”
The full report and a whitepaper based on this benchmark study are available for free download in return for agreeing to be contacted by dotMailer.
The document contains best practice advice for all website owners and include top tips and practical examples from dotMailer’s team of specialists who work with charities such as Fairtrade Foundation, Cancer Research UK and WaterAid.