Digital Research and Innovation to drive change for non-profit organisations in Australia


Website Donations. Email appeals. Good user experience for supporters and donors. Non-profits advocating for change.
I’m so excited, and grateful – to our collaborative non-profit industry and for the good things that lie ahead!
So my time living outside of Sydney has given me space and time to get re-inspired and creative.
While I’ve been working abroad I’ve started planning and researching my next book.
I’ve got 2 research projects started (I’ve contacted many of you to participate already and I have a long list to go).
And I’m still working on the Charity Matchmaker site (and Chatbot) to try and generate quality donor leads for my favourite charities.
Today I want to tell you a bit about the research that is coming – as I think you’ll be excited too!

Website Donation Pages Research 2.0


Basically, we’re revisiting the research we did in 2015/16 and the insights we shared with you then, but are adding an international spin.
For those of you who don’t remember or didn’t see the first research – here’s the short version.
We made a donation to 100 Australian charities across all sectors and sizes. We measured them against 56 points of criteria – that included the number of form fields on the page, if you had dollar handles, the thank you page experience and the follow up experience.


We created a scorecard and ranked all 100 charities we donated to, against the top 12 criteria – which you can see via the link.
Scorecard for Australian charity website donation pages

Scorecard for Australian charity website donation pages

We also created a report of the insights we found and shared all the information with our clients and made a pretty good summary report for everyone else – which you can see here: Website Donation Pages research summary report.


What’s different 3 years on – how have Australian Charity website donations changed?

  • More than 25 charities from the last research (that we know of) have updated their donation pages since last research released in 2016. And I’m so grateful that so far 16 have agreed to share their donation pages data to compare 2015 with 2018 results.
    • In general, donation volumes and income have gone up considerably but average gift has gone up and down over the last 3 years
  • So far, we’ve only made 15 donations (top 10 charities from the scorecard included) and we’ve had 4 errors! Imagine how many donors you’re missing out on, or losing at the first donation due to a bad experience!
  • Donations are much faster this time round because browser saves cc details
  • This time we’re also looking at referral source for traffic to donation pages and which channel drives the donations. I think this will be important as email is declining for the first time in the history of digital marketing and fundraising and more organisations are starting to focus on search engine optimisation and using their Google Grant more effectively.


I will be releasing the research to you at the F&P Fundraising Forum, so get your tickets now if you want to see it 🙂


Email Unsubscribe Research – and how it correlates to Active Donors?

Why do people unsubscribe from charity emails

This is the one I’m really excited about – because it’s new (of course) and because I really want to know if our assumed knowledge is really correct? Such as:
  • Understand why donors unsubscribe from Charity Email communications
  • What type of communications cause them to unsubscribe?
  • Does the length of time they’ve been on the database (short or long) influence the unsubscribe rate?
  • Do Supporters unsubscribe/ stop giving if we ask them for money too often?
  • What is the right number or type of communications to maximise active support and giving?
  • How do unsubscribe rates vary by sector/ cause/ type of organization?
I’m thrilled that we’ve already had confirmation from five charities that they will open up their complete email subscriber data and reports to us and will allow us to use these findings to correlate against donor data.
Thank you to these open-minded fundraisers who had the vision to jump in first!
  • Jo from World Animal Protection
  • Vikram from Fred Hollows
  • Maisa from Cerebral Palsy Alliance
  • Maddalena from Vision Australia
  • Cath from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
  • and Rania from Cure Brain Cancer Foundation
I’m also grateful to those who have said yes in principal – Plan International, Australian Marine Conservation Society, National Breast Cancer Foundation, White Ribbon and Environment Victoria.
Each charity that contributes will get a full analysis of their subscriber and donor behaviour and correlations. All charity data will be aggregated in the final report or broken into industry categories.
I’ll be working my way around to many other organisations but if you’re keen to be involved or see the brief – please get in touch, it will make the whole process faster 🙂

When will the Unsubscribe Research be out?

The short answer is – I’m not sure.
We haven’t started digging into the data yet – as I’m still seeking approvals/ getting access, but I will in the coming months and I hope to release it early next year (2020).
The challenge will be finding a common ground across all charities that we can fairly compare and provide accurate insights from. But I think every org that participates will get several actionable items that will drive an immediate impact in their supporter comms and donor retention.
But I’m excited and I know the insights are going to be great!