Have you taken a look at your website lately on a smartphone or an iPad? In a perfect world, your charity would have a responsive website. This means that your website would be optimally viewed on desktop computers, tablets and mobile phones alike.

Can you navigate around without having pinch and pull to make the copy bigger? Can you easily click on links? And, here’s the big one of course, how cumbersome is it to complete a donation online?

You know you have a problem (and if you’re still not sure, have a look at how donors see your site). But you also know that your charity isn’t yet ready to take its online presence to the next level. There’s no budget for a website redesign. What if you could change one thing that would have a big return on investment?

You’re likely losing money because donors are coming to your site and don’t complete their gift transaction. And the likely culprit is that donors are using mobile devices and tablets, and you don’t have a mobile-friendly donation form.

Here’s how you can gain some insights as to whether or not you have a problem, and build the case for having a mobile optimized donation page.

1. How Donors Read Email. Email is the workhorse of any online fundraising program. It’s a direct communication with your donor that you use to drive them to make a gift.  This group also will respond better to your emails than any other segment.

How many of your donors open your email on a mobile device?

If you use an email service provider like MailChimp, you can find out that stat out easily enough.

Here’s a real live screen shot of what you will see. You might be surprised to discover that 30-50% of your donors open your email on a mobile device.

Now, it goes without saying that your email template should be mobile optimized. If you haven’t already done that, do make it a priority. Donors want to be able to easily read what you have to say.

Put yourself in your donor’s shoes for a moment. You open and read an email that moves you, an email that motivates you to click through to the donation page. You’re reading this email while waiting in the doctor’s office, on the bus on the way home, or while eating your lunch at the office.

You make the decision to donate, and in that instant and you land on a page that is not mobile friendly. You have to persevere to make your donation because the form is so cumbersome, and let’s face it, most donors of your donors are not that patient and committed to you.

Ask yourself, how many people are failing to make their gift to your cause because you’ve made it just too difficult for them?

2. How Donors Visit Your Website. Google analytics can provide you with a lot of insight on your visitors and their behaviours, and to build your case, you need to demonstrate that you have the website traffic to warrant this type of investment.

Open up Google Analytics, and take the following search path – Audience > Mobile > Overview

Now that you know how your audience accesses your content – by desktop, tablet or mobile – what do you see? The general rule of thumb used to be if 10% of your traffic came from a mobile device, then you needed a mobile optimized website.

3. How Donors Access Your Donation Form. Now that you know how people are accessing your website content, let’s see what they’re doing on your donation page.

First, take a look at the difference in experiences from your donor’s perspective. Pull out your smartphone for this one. For example, Movember and War Child  have mobile optimized donation pages, while the Canadian Red Cross and Sunshine Foundation do not.

In analytics, take the following search path – Behaviour > Site Content > Landing Pages

From the list of landing pages, pull up your donation page. Here’s a helpful primer on how you can make sense of the data here.

Now I want you to dig a little deeper. Let’s find out what device people are using when they access your donation page(s). Right below the graph there’s a secondary dimension option. From this menu select visitor and then device option. Now you can see which devices your donors are using to visit your donation page.

Have a look at your traffic to see how much of it is coming from mobile or tablet devices. Now, look at the average time on page. Is it really short or really long for mobile devices? That’s a clue that you might have a problem. No one can make a donation in 10 seconds or less.

You’ll also want to have a look at your bounce rate. If people come into your donation page via their smartphone, and then also leave your website right away through that page, it’s a sign that you’ve likely missed your opportunity to close that gift.

4. Building the Financial Case.

Admittedly, this is a bit loose and imperfect (I’m presuming that you don’t have eCommerce tracking installed and haven’t set up goals or other funnels), because we’re working with the data that you’re likely to have access to today.

How much money did your charity raise online last year, or in Q1 of 2014? How many gifts were made and what was the average gift?  What was the conversion rate? What percentage of your visitors come to your website on a tablet or mobile phone? Do you know or can you estimate from what you’ve seen in analytics?

Here’s an example to help you pull your case together.

CharityDoGood raised $10,000 in Q1 of 2014. There were 2,500 visitors to the donation page where 150 gifts with an average value of $82 each were made.

During this time frame, 24% of web traffic to the donation page came in on a mobile device. Of the visitors who came in on a tablet (9%), the average time on page was 6 seconds. It’s pretty safe to say that none of those visitors likely made a donation at that time.

Of the visitors who came in on a mobile device (15%), it’s a little harder to tell what happened. Their average time on page was 1m52s – nearly two times longer than a desktop checkout. The clue to what’s happening here is in the bounce and exit rates. For mobile devices, it was double that of users on a desktop device. This means that twice as many people on a mobile phone are likely not completing their gift transaction in comparison to those on a desktop illuminating that there’s likely an issue with the form itself.

Using this data for Q1, I’d estimate that CharityDoGood lost roughly 33 gifts for approximate revenues of $2,700 – that’s ¼ of revenue raised during that time period!


There you have it. Now you know what data you can ask for, how to make sense of it, and find out if you have a case to build. And, even better, it should take you less than a morning to pull all of this together to present to your supervisor or Board of Directors.

If you’re numbers are as sweet as CharityDoGood’s, then you may be able to raise 25% more this year with a pretty simple tweak.


This article first appeared over on The Hilborn: the leading provider of information to Canada’s nonprofit sector.