Alphonse move over! Here’s the donation button!

Published by Victor van der Veen on

Have you met Alphonse? At presentations perhaps? Seminars? Maybe he has even been to your office! For those who do not know Alphonse (by exeptbasses), please watch this short clip:

Alphonse talks blah. Social media blah. And Alphonse loses out when it comes to getting in donations. From what? The old and loyal donation button.

The forgotten donation button
A short while ago, someone asked me to have a look at the design of  a new website. It looked stunning! Great design, lots of emotion, logical interaction design, good integration with the outside world (Facebook, Youtube, Twitter etc.), but…. I couldn’t find the donation button anywhere. Finally I figured out where it was: a red button hidden in a red background…

A website should click
The discussion reminded me of the importance of the donation button. We are all busy updating our websites into the 2.0 era, integrating video’s, adding feeds to the website or creating emotion through images. However, are we not forgetting the donation button? Below you will read more on how the get your donation button clicking:

The color
A lot of research has been done into the effect of color on emotion and response. Red, for example, makes our hearts beat quicker. It is the color that stimulates the pituary gland (this part of the brains secretes hormones). If you want to enhance the call to action, it is good to think about the color. Below you will find an overview by the Web Wise Business News of the most used colors in buttons and what they do to us.

Best colours for Call to Action

Orange is definitely the best call to action. If you want people to donate or become a member, this is the color you want. You are not the only one! Check out these examples of two large online retailers:



I have done my own, not very statistically valid, little research. I looked at websites of 10 Dutch charities. Just three of them (WWF, Wakker Dier and Unicef ) had an orange donation button!

Location, location, location
People are creatures of habit. This also applies to how they look at web pages. A lot of websites have a set design: logo upper left, a navigation bar underneath and the buy/donate button on the right. And that’s logical. Eye tracking research shows that people look at a website according to an F pattern.

The right picture is the ‘about us’ page, with a lot of text and therefore not comparable with your homepage (if you’ve done it right, that is). The left one is a Google result page. The picture in the middle is the eye track result of an ecommerce website.

You probably made out by now that I am a great fan of the conversion tactics (and we have just touched the surface!) of web shops. They know about optimizing conversion! And this the aim of my argumentation: the donation button is essential if you want to convert your website visitors to donors. As you can see in the picture in the middle, the upper right position is looked at most frequently: the location of the call to action! You can see this as well on big online retailers like amazon.com or bol.com. 

Victor van der Veen

Senior Consultant @ RaisingResults, the digital agency voor social good. He has a passion for online marketing and creating new online campaigns, with a focus on measuring online results. Victor is always looking for new online marketing possibilities.


Tom Allen · February 14, 2011 at 19:29

As you can imagine I’m very keen to get my hands on a highly desirable “I click on Orange!” t-shirt, but in completing the survey there wasn’t any opportunity to leave my email or name. I’m assuming the best plan is to leave a comment here with deets to confirm entry to the competition?

Helen Wright · February 14, 2011 at 22:34

Very interesting re the orange donation button, ActionAid might need to consider changing its Corporate colour!!

Tom Allen · February 15, 2011 at 16:38

This is a really good article, and I think I’m familiar with the design you refer with the red donate button… I do think you should mention the context of the colours however. An orange donate button on an orange background is not going to serve you very well. I know that you know, but just thought I’d mention it…

Loraine · February 15, 2011 at 22:37

Superb information, neat website theme, maintain the good work

Clare Bickerdike · February 16, 2011 at 11:52

Or maybe you suggest Orange as you’re a Dutchman ;> Good article, I’m with you on the Forgotten Donation Button…

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