Your most awkward fundraising moment ever

Published by Maeve Strathy on

Imagine this.

You’re in a meeting with a donor. So you’ve done the hardest part already: you got the meeting. This donor really wanted to meet with you and she actually invited you to her home!

You’re in her kitchen, drinking tea and getting to know each other. You find out what made her interested in your organization, you find out what she’s passionate about, you find out what inspires her philanthropy… Things are going so well!

And then it gets better. You ask her for a donation, and she says yes.

Not only that, she decides to give more than you ask her for.

This is a perfect donor meeting. You’re feeling great!

So you thank her, warmly and sincerely. You start talking about some of the details and tell her you’re happy to bring a cheque back to the office, or take down her credit card number and process the gift immediately after you get back.

But she wants to save you the time, paper, and processing fees, so she says:

“How about I just make the donation online while you’re here?”

Even better! So she pulls out her iPad and you direct her to your online giving site.

And that… that is when things go sour.

Your organization’s giving website looks horrible on her tablet. It’s not mobile friendly.

toiler_12There are so many fields and it takes her forever to fill them in.

The drop-down menu for different areas of support is so long and has so many designations, but it still doesn’t have the one she wants to support.

As this generous donor struggles through the overly complicated online giving form, you’re sitting next to her holding your breath. It’s taking so long, the process is clunky at best, and even though this donor is patient and gracious and says nothing about it, you’re cringing and feeling more awkward than you ever have before in a donor meeting.

She makes it to the end… barely. Her gift was made, but you can’t help but think it’s a miracle she got through all the obstacles your online giving process threw her way.

Is this a fable I’ve written to illustrate how important the online giving experience is?

No. It’s something I personally experienced. I went to that wonderful donor’s house, I had a meaningful conversation with her, I felt the pure joy of hearing her say “yes!” when I asked her to make a donation…

And then I felt the pain of sitting next to her through this awkward online giving experience.

If I hadn’t been there, what would’ve happened? If I were the generous donor, I would’ve been totally overwhelmed by the online giving page and think to myself, “I don’t have time for this; I’ll do it later.”

But I wouldn’t do it later. Or maybe at all.

Chances are, many of our donors or prospective donors are like me. And we are turning them off giving.

brace-yourselves-for-the-webforms-apocalypse-is-nighAn awesome and slick online giving page and process isn’t a nice-to-have anymore. It’s a must-have. And it’s not about just looking good; it’s about being donor-centric, and ensuring we put no obstacles in the way of their giving.

Don’t put yourself in my position and sit cringing behind your generous donor.

Show them #donorlove and invest in your online giving today!



Maeve Strathy

Maeve Strathy is a passionate fundraising professional, focused on inspiring donors to make an impact on the causes they love through philanthropy. Her full-time work is as a Fundraising Strategist with Blakely, providing strategy for charities on integrated direct response campaigns. Previously, she developed the mid-level giving program at Wilfrid Laurier University, and built a young alumni giving program at Trinity College School. Maeve also supports the fundraising efforts of independent arts and culture organizations, namely MYOpera. In her spare time, Maeve likes to work out, watch TV and movies, read, cook, and write for her fundraising and philanthropy-focused blog, www.whatgivesphilanthropy.com.


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