How we made the Leprastichting more urgent again

As a manager of a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) or private purpose company you are always looking for donors. But how do you ensure that these generous givers find you? And better still, that they give generously?

The time in which powerful (and sometimes shocking) photography was a main communication tool for NGO’s has long past. But exactly what came in its place? The answer is as commonplace as it is true: with the exponential rise of NGO’s, thus rose the number of sensible destinations for donors to contribute to. Making a difference as an NGO, means keeping a sharp eye on detail on all communication touch points, especially your website.

So, how on earth do you  ensure that your NGO is given the priority it deserves? And that your target group turns from interested and sympathetic, to giving?

  • 120%

    Rise in Number of Visitors

  • 20%

    Rise in Average Session Time

GRRR works from a user-centered perspective, taking the customer journey as vantage point and working from there. This led to a clear concept with a well thought-out design. We are very satisfied and see a clear increase in relevant visitors.

Susanne Heijstraten, Project Manager Online, Leprastichting

The psychology of giving

The Leprastichting also saw a challenge in this. And approached us to help them make their charity more urgent again. Their questions to GRRR:

  • How do we ensure that visitors stay on our website?
  • Can we make our message stronger?
  • How do we make lepra urgent again and ensure that people donate?

All valid questions. And actually they are about the same: the psychology behind giving. Luckily, we have exactly the right in-house expert for this at GRRR: our house psychologist and UX strategist Dave de Bakker.

“To answer questions like these of Leprastichting, you first have to make an overview of the chain of considerations (customer journey) that a donor makes when he makes a donation” says Dave.


Three secrets about giving

Below, Dave shares three secrets that we all have in our basic psychology as a human being, and furthermore explains how you can use those basics in the design of your website. In that way you make sure  your NGO will collect more donations, and thus help more people.


Secret 1

Ask precisely enough

Sounds too obvious? That’s right. Speaking of open doors. Have you ever opened the door (or picked up the phone) for an annoying salesman? One that starts with some warmup questions which you can only answer with ‘yes’? Until the real question follows. And that question always comes down to: buy this product / take this subscription / register for this gym. Ever experienced this? Irritating isn’t it. And above all: not effective.

Because you don’t buy it. And many others with you. But when is the right way to ask a donation then?

Dave: “Donation for a charity is just like friendship. First you explain who you are and what drives you. If it turns out that you have shared interests and motives, you can tell more concretely what you are doing. And just like a friendship, you first drink a few a cups of coffee or go for a beer before you ask someone to help you on their free Saturday afternoon to carry that heavy cupboard up.”


“And if you apply this to donations?”

“Then you first ask for a small sign of connection: a like on Facebook, signing a petition or sharing a news item about an activity of the Leprastichting. Next, you give a number of concrete options on your website about how people can contribute more. Make sure that giving money is not the only option, but also to do work as a volunteer for example.”

Secret 2

Talk about the goal, not the gift

“That money surely goes to the fat salary of the director.” As an NGO employee you have heard this argument more than once. And where it says ‘salary of the director’, you can probably fill in five other things such as ‘office costs’, ‘overhead’ and ‘business trips’. That the vast majority of good causes for the most part just do super good work, and very little overhead. That’s something we know, but a lot of donors don’t. Therefore, show very clearly what exactly happens to your donor’s donation.


Secret 3

Be positive

As an NGO you want to do justice to the often miserable situations that your employees encounter in the field. So you want to show images of how bad it still is with leprosy. Because: “We have to do something about that!”

Still, as an NGO manager, it is in this case better to make a rational decision. And there are piles of hard scientific evidence for that. Dave:

“A simple example. The BOB advertising from the Dutch government to promote sober driving is a huge success. The scary pictures on cigarette packages don’t work at all. These negative emotions tend to lead to denial or escapism. And will therefore won’t motivate to make a donation.



Also want to make your NGO urgent and push donations?

Mail or call Dave de Bakker at 020- 320 7708.

  • Dave de Bakker
    UX Strategist

    Dave de Bakker