Should My Donation Page Default to Recurring Monthly Gifts? Ask Trump

On Tuesday, I gave a webinar with 4 tips to improve your online fundraising. Tip #3: “Thoughtfully set up recurring gifts.” Well, “thoughtfully” means two things: 1) with a lot of thought and 2) “with consideration for the needs of other people.” (Google’s English Dictionary). I meant both.

When the Trump’s campaign set up their donation pages with WinRed, they used deceptive design techniques to trick people into recurring and multiple gifts, says The New York Times. According to Harry Brignull, a user-experience designer quoted in the article, “the Trump team’s techniques were a classic of the ‘deceptive design’ genre. ‘It should be in textbooks of what you shouldn’t do,’ he said.”

In the webinar I suggested that organizations test out defaulting to recurring gifts to see how that works for them. One of my colleagues who has thoroughly studied the success of online fundraising efforts advised me against straight out recommending organizations default to recurring because it really depends on the donor base.

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