Our host welcomes James Goalder, the Partnerships Manager at Bloomerang, to discuss an intriguing topic: the $25 donor experience experiment. The experiment aimed to explore how nonprofit organizations interact with donors who make small $25 donations. The conversation highlights the importance of providing a positive donor experience to retain and engage supporters, offering insights and actionable recommendations for NPO’s and NGO’s to enhance their donor interactions.
James begins by explaining the research was initiated by a friend and colleague, who used to donate $25 to various organizations and track their responses. James decided to conduct a similar experiment but focused on national accounts, including Feeding America, Humane Society, Boys and Girls Club, Habitat for Humanity, Free Clinics, and Meals on Wheels.
The experiment involved James donating $25 to 50 organizations in each category, across all states. He assessed the online donation process, including the ease of finding the donate button and the functionality of the donation forms. After donating, he evaluated the thank-you process, which led to several noteworthy findings.
James revealed that the donor experiences varied significantly among organizations. Some had streamlined and user-friendly processes, while others had broken links and frustrating experiences. He emphasized the importance of organizations reviewing their online donation process from a donor’s perspective and fixing any issues.
One significant discovery was that only 10% of organizations offered payment options other than credit cards, such as ACH bank draft, Apple Pay, Google Wallet, or Venmo. James highlighted the importance of diversifying payment options to accommodate donors who may not have credit cards.
Furthermore, James discussed the impact of landing pages after donations. About 58% of organizations redirected donors to third-party pages, which can be disorienting and reduce the chances of engagement. James stressed the value of keeping donors on the organization’s website after a donation, making it easy for them to explore further.
Regarding post-donation engagement, James found that less than 1% of organizations followed up with invitations to volunteer or attend events. He suggested that organizations should take advantage of these opportunities to engage and retain donors.
In terms of thanking donors, James observed that less than 20% of organizations sent hard copy thank-you letters. He encouraged organizations to implement a purposeful and diverse communication strategy, involving emails, personalized messages, and thank-you phone calls.
Finally, James recommends that organizations periodically review their donor communication cadence and seek feedback from donors to improve their processes. He emphasizes that this evaluation should happen whenever new technology tools are introduced or at least on an annual basis.