Poor experience takes away from nonprofits

A couple experiences I’ve had in the past week left me wondering whether a nonprofit would suffer from bad customer/user experience in the same way a business would. I figure that good causes can be cut a bit of slack because they usually operate on very small budgets and, if some process isn’t great, I still feel good helping something important. Both of the problems I encountered were with fairly large endeavours and were either about the security of my data or my ability to raise funds for them.

IMHO, it’s all the more important for NGOs and nonprofits to ensure their constituent relationships are good, with the economic situation undoubtedly impacting donations. In the second example below, I’d think that the CIBC title sponsorship or ownership of Run for the Cure would ensure that the web application is usable and helps runners actually do their fundraising.

What are your thoughts? Is the first dialogue over reactive? What about the second web user experience issue?

Amnesty Canada

I’ve been a monthly supporter of Amnesty for some time. This past week I received the following email:

Your 2008 Income Tax receipt has been returned to us by Canada Post. Please e-mail me your correct mailing. Address so we can re-mail your 2008 receipt.

They had my name and email address right, but I have always updated my information via a secure online form. Since I moved a year and a half ago, and had forwarding on my mailing address for a year, it’s possible they wouldn’t have the correct one.

I went to their secure online form, updated my contact information and then sent them the following reply:

You should never ask customers or subscribers to send personal information by email. From a security and theft identity perspective this is horrendous. You have a secure web site (where I’ve just gone and ensured you have my correct mailing address – but it’s been the same for a year and a half) and you should direct people to update their information through there.

This really makes me question how secure my data is with you. I’ve also sent this to the info email address for Amnesty and I would like a response as to, first, the validity of this note and, second, why this would be a practice for you.

My biggest concern about this one is that I asked for a response, CC’d their official contact email address on my note and haven’t heard a thing in a week.

CIBC Run for the Cure

Far be it from me to say anything negative about this event; my problem is with their web site. My wife’s a cancer survivor who ran an all-woman’s team last year, raising an impressive $12,000. When she decided to do a co-ed team this year, I was definitely on board. I finally got around to signing up to be on her team this past weekend. The experience of, both, signing up and having the slightest clue about making use of the fundraising application afterward, are failures of epic proportions (I will not say EPIC FAIL any more, but if ever it applied …).  My wife confirmed that a lot of people had difficulty knowing what to do last year and that she provided considerable feedback on the experience.

  1. What’s the problem with the email invite, below?
    email invitationIt would be nice if ‘Click here’ was actually enabled in this. In other words, I was forwarded the invitation to my wife’s run team, but had no way to sign up without asking her.
  2. Trying to sign up

    registerThis small tile was in the middle of the left-hand column. Since everything is pastel and pink hued, it doesn’t stand out, but I still found it.

    register pageI then had this page open in a new window, but all that draws my eye is the large form assuming I have a user ID. I still have no idea what to do. A HA! There’s a little pink link to register above the login text inputs. Everything on this site is pink and I can only imagine what this would be like if I was colourblind. Signing up as a new registrant should be the biggest single thing on the page, as returning users have already interacted with the site!

    register 2If you can imagine, after self-identifying as a new registrant, I’m taken to another page which still presents a returning user login as the biggest single item and a small pink link at the far right side of the page for me. So far, that’s three different pages and I’m no closer to my objective.

  3. Joining a team
    I won’t continue presenting screen captures at this point because, while it was still not great, I got through it and didn’t have another surprise new window open on me. I’m pretty sure it was at least another 5 or 6 clicks and page loads to get to the point where I had an ID on the site and had found my wife’s team. OK, so I joined.
  4. Now what?
    You’d think that I’d get some kind of information after that, right? Nope. No email confirmation of my registration, no email notification to my wife that I’d joined her team and absolutely no instructions of any kind as to how to use their site for fundraising, what link to send people to so they can donate – absolutely nothing.

How would either of the above experiences, repeated multiple times, affect the bottom lines of each of these organizations? More than they would understand, I’m willing to bet.

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