Brendan has a thing for #digital & #social #change. He blogs and tweets about #charity, #politics, #fitness, #music & #london #life.

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Campaigners! It’s time to grasp the basics of UX.

I enjoyed attending the Business LaunchPad Awards 2017 recently, held in the Royal Bank of Scotland offices in London. The night was enjoyable, and reminded me why I do what I do. It all boils down to trying to be a positive changemaker. Trying to be a proactive influencer, even if your influence is only small, it will eventually make bigger strides as you persevere with your mission.

I saw some really great examples of ambitious young people from all walks of life pitching to the audience there. It’s nerve-wracking to get up and speak, let alone to get up and pitch for the money of total strangers. There were some wonderfully enterprising individuals on that stage that night, and it was clear by the presence of two competing local politicians that they knew these people were important too. Each of these people were setting out to fix a problem, and that makes them incredibly valuable to the community, whether they end up being successful or not.

Each of these organisations are still crowdfunding, and frankly, you should consider donating to any one of them, they are all fantastic causes with very passionate project leaders.

One of the Project Leaders giving pitching their Crowdfunding campaign to the Business Launchpad Awards 2017

The problem is, I found myself convinced by each of their pitches and all of their attitudes. They were the real deal. But looking at some of their crowdfunding projects, some have taken off with considerably less gusto than they deserve.

I bet that has no reflection of the amount of work they put in to their projects either. I spoke with some of the project leaders at the event about how they were approaching their social media and it became clear to me that this is the biggest challenge in crowdfunding for startups, social enterprises and small charities today. They just don’t have access to the sort of expertise necessary to excel in what should be a very accessible world of online marketing.

The progress of any online marketing campaign boils down to one philosophy. Without which, your campaign will fail. Crowdfunding is no different, and in fact- I would say it applies even more strictly to fundraising campaigns.

Every campaign should be developed from the perspective of your audiences. It is crucial to consider their needs and experience just as much as the financial and internal planning.

How does the user get from where they are, and what they are doing to where you want them to be, to do what you want them to do and become a donor?

How do you get them from A to B? It HAS to be as easy as you can possibly make it.

Let’s pretend  I’m on the London Underground, and I see your campaign poster. “Visit MyCause and Donate Now! Visit our website justgiving.co.uk/sii3h491” it says.


But I’m on the underground, and I can’t connect to WiFi. I’m also busy – and I can’t remember that complicated URL – because I’m thinking about where I’m going. I’ve now ignored your campaign.

A number of things might have made that situation play out differently:

  • If the URL had been MyCause.co.uk I might have remembered it to visit.
  • If the poster had been somewhere I had access to the internet, I might have been able to use my phone immediately and act on my impulse to donate
  • If the poster had asked me to look up MyCause on social media, and each of those social media pages had a big “Donate Now” call to action, I might have donated.
  • If instead of the organisation name “MyCause” there had been a campaign slogan instead, I might have remembered that, and looked it up later.

All of these factors, would have provided a better user journey.

The user journey, or user experience, (sometimes called UX) is a term often used in digital marketing that applies to how easy it is for a user to navigate a website or a digital service. UX Designers have to train themselves to tweak websites to make important buttons and call-to-actions stand out.


As campaigners, you need to think along the same lines­!

What is the quickest way to get the busy Mum or Dad at home who is about to feed the kids and deal with his or her busy schedule to take 5 minutes to donate? By making it really, really easy. It’s not just about having the Donate Now buttons in plain sight, on every digital outlet, but it’s also about making sure the messaging is easy to digest, and easy to relate to. As campaigners, project leaders, we are often forced to be jacks of all trades, masters of none. This is not an excuse for a poor user journey.

If you ask your donors to jump through hoops they will not donate. Make it easy, and think about how they are going to get to your donation page, and once they are there – how easy is it for them to make their payment.

If you find it annoying, then they will, and that will cost you donations.

Hey, while you're here could you do me a favour?

I’m taking part in this massive 100km hike in July. It follows the training route of The Gurkha Signals, and I’ve pledged to complete it in under 30hours, which is a crazily ambitous goal for me. It’s all in aid of Oxfam & The Gurkha Welfare Trust.

I’d really appreciate any donations you can afford. Even just by texting GOBR99 £3 to 70070 you can contribute! or you can click the link below.

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