NY Times: “Study Shows First-Time Online Donors Often Do Not Return”

A New York Times article today reports on the results of a study of charities.

Apparently people who give money online do not come back.

I find it strange that the article does not mention at all that the electronic payment systems in many charities are a mess, which is my experience. According to an article in the Communications of the ACM [1], a significant factor in choice of online retailer is users’ trust of the website. People will knowingly choose a more expensive offer from a web site they trust (e.g. Amazon) over a cheaper offer from an unknown or less trustworthy site. I’m not saying that charities are untrustworthy, but I do think that poorly designed payment interfaces which ask for way too much information appear more untrustworthy than well designed payment interfaces which only ask for an appropriate amount of information. This may explain why people prefer other ways of giving in preference to using a website.

[1] “Drivers of Price Premium in E-Markets”, Hee-Woong Kim and Yunjie Xu, Communications of the ACM, Vol 50, No. 11, November 2007.


ELECTRIC, originally uploaded by julianrichardson. This photograph is distributed under a Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Cover on the new California Avenue, Northbound platform, with the word “ELECTRIC” spot-welded into the plate.

An opportunistic iPhone photo, I think it could use a little post processing. But the subject has an interesting combination of smooth, regularly-patterned, metal with the rough spot-welded lettering and little balls of metal, frozen as they tried to escape.