What’s Your Score? A Review of the Online Giving Experience of 56 PBS Member Stations

Online donation forms pages are necessary for all nonprofit stations, but all forms are not created equal. To understand how PBS member stations or general outside non-campaign specific donation forms stack up against other stations (as well as other non-profits), PBS Development Services partnered with NextAfter to donate $20 to 56 stations using their online donation form. 

Each giving experience was analyzed to produce the report: PBS Digital Fundraising Scorecard: A look at the online giving experience of 56 PBS member stations. The report findings focused on four key donation form elements.

  • Ability to convey the local value proposition
  • Simplicity and ease of the donation process
  • Incorporation of post-donation actions
  • Integration or upsell of Passport offer

Elevating the Local Value Proposition

Adding copious amounts of copy is counterproductive. A few appealing or convincing sentences could make the difference for a prospective donor. 

More than half of member stations (55%) used less than a sentence on their donation page to introduce and reinforce the local value proposition

Ease of the Donation Process

Eliminating the main friction elements on the donation page can go a long way. Many prospective donors will be turned off by too many options, overwhelming text, links that take them to another page, CAPTCHA (which is unnecessary for donation forms), and over-complicated wording.

We found that 43% of member stations had three or more steps required to complete a donation compared to only 30% of their peers. 

Purposeful Actions Post-Donation

While additional actions can confuse and overwhelm the donor before and during the donation process, they are beneficial to add after the donation is finished. Thanking the donor is a must, but this time is also important to delve further into the impact of their contribution. Additional steps to add include: upgrading to a recurring gift, activate/upgrade to Passport, or request to complete a short survey.

Three out of four (73%) member stations had no additional actions for a donor to take.

Passport and the Donation Experience

Passport is a valuable service that can be utilized during any stage of the donation process. As of now, it is underutilized, but can be a great was to gain sustainers. 

Only four member stations (9%) used Passport as a way to incentivize gifts, and just five stations (12%) discussed Passport on the ‘thank-you’ page.

Take These Steps to Review Your Donation Form Experience

First, look at your donation forms from the donor’s point of view. This means go to your website, locate the general or non-campaign specific donation form, and make a donation. Take screenshots of each step and review with your team. 

The goal of this study was to analyze the experience associated with station donation forms. Specifically, review how easy and enticing it is for donors to donate. While some sites scored better than others, all have room for improvement. 

Small steps toward greater improvement can go a long way. The first step is to simply take a look at the experience with an outsider’s perspective. Questions that every station should ask include:

  • How long does it take to process and get through the information on the first page? 
  • Do you still feel inspired to donate, and appreciated afterward?

For more information, download and read the report, PBS Digital Fundraising Scorecard: A look at the online giving experience of 56 PBS member stations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *