case studies, fundraising, guest posts

One Donor’s 2012 Giving Tuesday Challenge Test

2 Comments 30 November 2012

Lynne Wester, Director of Stewardship and Donor Recognition at Yeshiva University in New York City and a fundraising stewardship consultant, conducted a brilliant donor user experience test this week during Giving Tuesday, effectively doubling the value of Giving Tuesday for 15 organizations. She donated to all, carefully documenting the experience, assessed the donation process, and blogged about it. I first saw a tweet from Lynne the night before Giving Tuesday:


Of course I was curious…and was thrilled to learn that Lynne was going to put Giving Tuesday to use for everyone. Crowdsourcing names of nomprofits for the Giving Tuesday donation test, she used her social media channels and coworkers, asking “if given $1 million and it had to go to one charity, who would that organization be?”  She donated to many organizations, from Gorilla Fund to charity:water, donating online in amounts ranging from $10-$1000.

While donating, Lynne carefully watched and compiled information on the following experience indicators:
  • How many clicks it takes to get to their giving site
  • How long the gift takes to complete
  • Is the site mobile friendly
  • How is she receipted and acknowledged?
  • Is the donation linked to social media for sharing
  • If I tweet the org saying I just gave, will they tweet back?

This is what she learned, reprinted with permission from Lynne’s original blog post.

The Bad:
1. Not enough social media exposure
2. Giving websites were not mobile-friendly
3. Not enough places gave me the option of giving in honor of someone and even then, only in written format and not through email. The Red Cross told my honoree how much I gave – ARGH!!
4. I’ve already been solicited again!! (Feed the Children)
5. There is no excuse for having a “CAPTCHA” hurdle in order to give
6. Sites are arduous and repetitive, too many sites prescribe the dollar amount to give
The Good:
1. Showing the impact: look at charity:water
2. Sites are starting to be better about where to find them on social media
3. A good response from those that I tweeted (5 out of 15)
4. I saw one site’s button that said “Save a Life,” which is much better than “Submit” or “Add to Cart”
5. We have room to grow
Lynne documented everything in an open spreadsheet that you may view here.
(The following are screenshots reprinted with Lynne’s permission.)

Here are some screenshots of The Good from Covenant House, American Cancer Society, VCU Massey Cancer Center:

Lynne told me that “American Cancer Society was good because they embedded social media, Massey had a great acknowledgment page, and Covenant House told me what my donation would do!”
Here are screenshots of The Bad from Colon Cancer Alliance, Feed the Children, New York Charities, and UMass Boston:

As you can see, there was a problem donating to NY Charities and Colon Cancer Alliance barely acknowledged the gift. Lynne explained in a follow-up email to explain why she included Feed the Children: “Along with the Feed the Children acknowledgment was another ask to buy items in the store! And an additional note, they solicited me again today, TWO days after I made my first gift… Horrible!” She notes that she included UMass Boston “because in their thank you, all the bullets were about giving, not my gift or the impact of it…”
…and some things we can implement
Charity Water Wins the Response Screen Messaging
In Lynne’s words: “Charity water was the great because of the amazing on screen message and immediate impact of my gift!”
Lynne also offered this in her blog post: “I will make a gift to anyone and discuss their online giving site and response should they want it… be ready for honesty. I would love to hear what you think, we have one more step to go to find out how I am formally acknowledged and how fast they re-solicit me! I look forward to your commentary and let me know if you want to join the experiment.
Lynne notes that she will examine acknowledgment and stewardship for the gift, how quickly she is re-solicited, and whether or not this happens before she is properly thanked in a follow-up blog post…stay tuned to her blog for that post! You can find out more about Lynne through her Donor Relations Guru website and chat with her on Twitter @donorguru.


Debra Askanase is an experienced digital engagement strategist, non-profit executive, and community organizer. She works with mission-driven organizations to develop digital strategies and campaigns that engage, create trust, and move stakeholders to action. Debra speaks at conferences worldwide on the intersection of technology, social media, and nonprofit organizations.

Follow Debra

Subscribe via email




© 2020 Social Media Strategy for Mission-Driven Organizations.

Site by Arrow Root Media