Saturday, October 19, 2013

I Hope the (Other) CSO is Embarrassed by This.

Columbus, OH music blogger Heather Brown tells you what it's like to make an online contribution to various nonprofits around town:
  • Opera Columbus: Five (5) steps.
  • Promusica Chamber Ensemble: Five (5) steps.
  • Columbus Symphony Orchestra: Up to twenty (20) steps. The process is so confusing that it's barely possible to determine how long it will take any particular individual.
As I've been saying for quite some time on my Web Site Basics page, make it as easy as possible for people to give you their money. The CSO is failing this, bigtime. My advice: put a PayPal button on your home page somewhere. Really.


giocosity.com said...

Well - technically - it works. Each month I write about it, I also donate $5, but think of all the casual donors who are completely turned off by that process. Heck - I even asked a CSO musician to try it out once and she gave up halfway through!

Online donations should not require work instructions. (But I do indeed have them - complete with visual aids - should you need them!)

You mentioned paypal. My tip jar on my website - was created with paypal solely to show how easy it is to set up. With 70% of the CSO's budget reliant upon the generosity of donors, requiring them to jump through so many hoops just seems silly to me.

Thanks for helping to spread the word.

Lisa Hirsch said...

The operative word in your posting is "technically." Yeah, it works, but if they've got analytics set up properly, they know how many people are dropping out part way through the process. I wonder if they have analytics set up properly!

I should put up a tip jar, but I feel slightly queasy about it.

giocosity.com said...

No idea. Heck - I'm not even sure they're set up to take all cards. I usually donate with my Visa card, but one time tried with my MasterCard / Debit card. It wouldn't run the transaction. I wrote and was assured that it was fine and that it was a problem with my card, so I went to my bank. My banker literally went through the process and tried with my card, but it didn't even run it. He said the transaction wasn't even attempted on their part because it would have shown up. Literally an hour later, I bought two symphony tickets with my Master Card in person at the box office and had no troubles. So - it'll take MC for a $60 transaction in person, but won't accept MC for a $5 online donation. In my response was a comment that they'd had 15 other transactions go through with a MC, because it uses the same server. I'm thinking that 15 isn't such a stellar number. Does that sound weird to you? So many steps but online, they don't accept one of the major cards?

Lisa Hirsch said...

That is crazy.

it's actually possible to determine whether a web site is using an analytics program by viewing the HTML source. There will be a JavaScript or other code in their someplace. I would recognize Google Analytics codes but they are not the only analytics provider.

Paul Muller said...

PayPal is a great idea - I only hope that most of the patrons can create an account and use it...

giocosity.com said...

That's the beauty of paypal. People donating or purchasing something do not have to also have a paypal account. They can still just pay by plugging in credit card info. A paypal account isn't required for the buyers/donors just because that's what the seller has. :-)

classicallife.net said...

Paul, I don't think the patrons need to have a PayPal account; just a credit card. The orchestra is the one that needs the account.

Paul Muller said...

Hmmm. I donated to a radio station recently with my PayPal account - took maybe 2 minutes and was super easy.

kalimac said...

Yes, it is now possible to place a PayPal order using your credit card, so long as the merchant is signed up with PayPal.

I'm just amused that the two efficient organizations are .orgs, while the inefficient one is a .com.

But they do one thing right that the others don't: there ought to be a "review your order" step. Because, especially if you try to change something, websites often get confused, so the user should be able to confirm they got it right.