To donate or not to donate?

Howard Lake | 22 October 2021 | Sponsored posts

Sponsored post

When you first become a fundraiser you’re often told to focus on the positives and don’t second guess the negatives when reaching out to donors. Tell them why they should support your cause, don’t assume they already have a reason not to.

This is generally good advice when producing content and having direct conversations, but it’s led to a culture in fundraising of failing to analyse why people don’t make a donation.

Before we look at how you can start boosting your donations, let’s first address the elephant in the room.

Some people don’t like you.

There, I said it. Donating is a voluntary act. Some causes will attract negative reactions from some people, ranging from apathy to hostility, and they will never donate to you.

Recognising the existence of this fact should also let you have open and honest conversations about who falls in this category, but also recognising who doesn’t. That brings us to the second elephant in the room.

There are people who do like you, but have decided not to support you.

Now we are looking at non-donors in a positive frame and it’s this group where you can see a marked increase in revenue. We fear the worst when someone doesn’t donate, but if you analyse why, you’ll be surprised to find out their issues are easily solved and you can build many more relationships through very simple steps.

“I was on my phone and didn’t have my card details – the site didn’t have ApplyPay”

“The form looked quite long, so I thought I’d come back when I had more time, but I forgot”

“I couldn’t see the donate button”

“I wasn’t sure I was on the right website”


All of these people saw a charity’s content, loved it, visited their website and tried to donate.

But they didn’t.

Each of these becomes a donor with tiny tweaks to the checkout page: having a full range of payment types, optimising forms, making things accessible and having strong branding are easy to do and will immediately let all of those people donate.

And it isn’t just those four people. ApplePay alone has 383 million worldwide users, and COVID has rapidly widened the range of regular mobile tech users, with many traditional offline donors moving to an online environment and expecting charities to provide the same experience as all the other apps and sites they use.

It is time to consider checkout and payment as a fundraising product in and of itself. Once we come to terms with those that won’t donate, we can start viewing an audience segment of people who can and will donate, with high quality checkouts being the best place to increase conversion and acquire new long term donors.

At iRaiser, we understand that you need to showcase the amazing work you do and deliver brilliant content to supporters, but we also understand that people who love you and love your work will also drop off if your checkout isn’t user friendly. We carry both principles of excellent storytelling and optimised user experience to ensure you can increase conversion rates on all donor segments.