5 Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) Tactics for Charities

What inspires us to donate to one charity over another? Like it or not, our actions are often driven by emotions and subtle forms of influence, rather than rational thought. Drawing on real world examples, I cover five persuasive Conversion Rate Optimisation tactics for more effective charity landing pages.

1. Utilise social proof

Social proof is the concept that people are more likely to mirror the actions of others based on the assumption that those actions are the right thing to do in that situation.  When it comes to charitable giving, seeing others give to charity makes us more likely to give.

One of the simplest and most effective ways of using social proof to drive donations is to put the beneficiaries of your campaign at the heart of your creative message. Potential donors will be more likely to donate if they feel they can actually connect the message or creative to a real person, as opposed to generic stock imagery.

2. Make use of notable endorsements

Charity:water’s ‘birthdays’ campaign landing page provides an excellent example of endorsement in action. The landing page is designed in such a way as to tell the story of how and why people should pledge, before cementing the impact by introducing a raft of celebrities who have also taken the birthday pledge. Why do campaigns like this work so effectively? Studies have shown that celebrity endorsements can “magnify the effect of a campaign”, trigger emotional responses and even improve our ability to remember marketing messages.

3. Show testimonials from service users

As a charity, your biggest advocates are likely to be those who have benefited from your work. While charities often display the outcomes of their work on their website or in printed materials (and are often required to due to their funding), research has found that marketing which presents a charity's effectiveness doesn’t actually increase donations.

However, testimonials can have the effect of making your charity more personal and relatable. So, while an infographic might seem a nice way to present the value of your work, testimonials offer a human connection that's far more compelling and ultimately memorable.

4. Use directional cues to guide users

It’s important to remember that people don’t read web pages the way they read books.  Instead, when we view a web page, we tend to navigate towards visual cues such as arrows, contrasting elements or the eye-direction of a photographic subject.

Directional cues are critical to guiding users through a website, especially when the goal is to drive donations. As well as using more obvious visual cues such as arrows, War Child also tend to use photographs in which the subject is looking directly at the camera.  When this technique is coupled with persuasive copy such as “we need you”, it has the powerful effect of appealing directly to the user's sense of empathy.

5. The importance of colour theory in CRO

When it comes to landing page design, colour plays two incredibly important roles. Firstly, colours help to establish contrast between page elements and help with readability, and secondly, colours are often associated with emotional or psychological responses.  The following example from Oxfam’s donation landing page highlights these two principles in action.

Colour contrast enables key information to stand out so that users can gain a quick understanding of the impact of the work. Secondly, according to colour theory, the colours used here also help communicate the importance of the work in a more subtle way. It’s little surprise that blue is used here to represent factual information, as blue is often associated with trustworthiness, sincerity and loyalty. Green is of course a core brand colour for Oxfam, however in this case it plays the role of cementing user’s understanding of how money will be used. This is likely to be a deliberate move, as green has been known to be associated with financial themes and stability.  Finally, the colour orange is an active colour, suggesting energy and progress.

Key takeaways

As I've covered in this article, there are a number of persuasive Conversion Rate Optimisation tactics than can be used to design engaging charity web pages and experiences. Tactics like social proof enable us to tap into the influence of others, be it our friends or even the goodwill of celebrity ambassadors, whilst subtle design features can help orient users towards specific goals.

If your charity needs help boosting online donations, get in touch to find out about my Conversion Rate Optimisation services.