Hard to Give: Friction in Online Donations

Friction in online donations has always been a huge issue for campaigns and a dilemma for our team at Winning Mark. When it is time consuming or difficult for supporters to donate, campaigns lose supporters and dollars.

Account-based (“one-click”) donation applications like Blue State Digital, NationBuilder and the VAN provide technology that is a step in the right direction, but they are still behind the times.

One strong example of effective one-click giving is ActBlue, which provides supporters the opportunity to use a simple system, and one account, to more easily donate to various campaigns.

Carly Fiorina's "Ready Beat Hilary" microsite iuses 'Spark" for account-based giving

Carly Fiorina’s “Ready Beat Hilary” microsite is using ‘Spark” for account-based giving

As a trusted and recognized online payment method, PayPal is still one of the best ways to simplify the process of contributing online.

Any third-party payment platform will present some friction on the campaign’s side because those donations are not necessarily tracked effectively in your existing CRM. Solutions will be needed to integrate the data, but it’s far better for the challenge to be on the campaign’s end than the donor’s end to make it as easy as possible for supporters to give and give again.

Check out a good article on mobile payment friction from the NY Times: One-Tap Giving? Extra Steps Mire Mobile Donations

Why are political campaigns still stuck with mediocre CRM and contribution software? The main tools they use for voter and supporter contact, organizing, communications, and fundraising are sadly lacking in features that are standard for non-political applications.

While others excel at features that political campaigns do not–email and other process automation, responsiveness, analytics, optimization, and low-friction payments, to name a few–these technologies have been slower to change in the political campaign sphere, and it’s primarily because campaigns do not understand, expect, or utilize these features enough to demand them from CRM providers.

Interested in the future of political campaign systems and applications?

One group that is working to speed integration and innovation is Open Supporter Data Interface.