It’s been hard times for many in New Zealand this last while, what with earthquakes, snow, landslips, storms and other turbulence. In such times of turmoil there’s much to think about and do.
In Christchurch organisations had very immediate concerns after the 7.1 magnitude earthquake on 04 September 2010. Some could not get into their own buildings to access computers and records, and some were dealing with large-scale calls on their services, helping people or animals in need.
Is it too hard to donate?
Within a few hours people around the country, moved emotionally by the events, wanted to find out what was going on, to offer help and money.
That was a good moment to capture interest and donations. It was also likely a time when organisations were expending more time and energy than usual on basic operations. Attending to the website was a secondary concern.
How hard is it for people to make a donation to your organisation? Take a look at your website from the point of view of someone wanting to donate funds.
- Is it easy to find the page or place on the page to make a donation? Remember, the visitor may have found your site through a search and may not arrive at the home page.
- Is it easy to actually make the donation? Can people donate with Paypal, direct credit, a phonecall, an SMS or some other instant method? Or do you require them to find their cheque book, an envelope and a stamp and to mail in a donation?
- Will they receive a receipt?
- Will you capture their information and add them to a mailing list they may not choose to be on?
These are all things to think about before they become urgent. In the midst of a crisis isn’t a good time to be trying to organise Paypal or information about bank accounts.
Cheques are a barrier
Cheques are old technology now. It’s easy to find people who have no idea where their cheque book is or when they last used it. If you make donation by cheque the only possibility then you’ll probably miss out on a lot of funding. You also lose the spontaneous moment of impulse giving.
The easier you can make it for people to give, the more likely it is they will.
Take a look at your website now, before a crisis happens, and consider how you can accept donations. Do you have a Paypal account? Can you accept direct credit?
What information do you need to add to or change on your website so you’ll be ready when the time comes?
Written by Miraz Jordan for, and reproduced from CommunityNet Aotearoa Panui, October 2010. This article has been modified for publication here.