How might we create a donating experience so fun, people actually want to donate?

The Donation Challenge

Contactless is fast-overtaking cash as a means of payment, with over 50% of payments under £30 in the UK now made via the paywave technology. Couple this with reports that charities saw 3x larger donations via contactless payments, compared to cash, and the fact that the Natural History Museum increased donations by 22% by installing contactless donation payment machines. Cash is out. Contactless is in.

Photo by Jonas Leupe on Unsplash

This has significant implications on all kinds of fundraising, charities and poses a particularly difficult problem to those sleeping rough.

For the culture and heritage sector, it’s no secret that donation and funding is an ongoing core challenge. We’ve seen this first hand, working in culture and heritage for the past 4 years. For institutions that charge entrance fees, donations become even more difficult.

So, we challenged our CCD Re: team to tackle the problem, and ‘re:imagine donations’. We used the Design Sprint methodology developed by AJ&Smart, which takes you from challenge to prototype to user feedback in just 4 days.

Source: AJ&Smart

Step 1: Long-term goal

Deciding the long-term goal — a ‘big ugly goal’ for the sprint:

To set an unprecedented benchmark for the collection of visitor donations in the cultural sector through making donation enjoyable for visitors.

Step 2: Sprint questions

Decide on three sprint questions. The concept (ideally) would need to address these three questions:

Does a cool donating experience make people think that is where their money is going?

Can we get visitors to make a personal connection to the importance of donation?

How can we make our donation concept enjoyable for all culture & heritage visitors?

Our Long Term Goal and Sprint Questions

Step 3: User journey

Looking through the eyes of our users, the visitors, we drew out typical journeys different visitors might take through a cultural venue.

We considered questions like:

Where would it have the most impact? Where could we do something innovative? Where are visitors crying out for fun?

And (many!) more. We agreed to focus on what we deemed as the ‘mid-section’ of the visit: the visitor is at the venue, exploring and experiencing all there is to find.

User journey mapping

Step 4: Concepts

With that decided, it’s promptly onto the Steps 4 & 5.

We looked for inspiration and benchmarking and prioritised wants, needs and nice-to-haves before moving on to blue sky thinking and some early concept generation.

Concept ideation

Step 5: Rapid Prototyping

Now for the exciting stuff… rapid prototyping! The focus of the rapid prototyping phase isn’t to produce a polished, final concept. It’s to quickly produce something that represents your ideas.

We decided on our concept story and began building our prototype. We had to revisit the drawing board on a few of our early ideas that, as time went on, seemed less feasible or less relevant.

Step 6: User Feedback

The proof was to be in the pudding — now we had to show people! User feedback is crucial to validating ideas, testing and spotting areas for improvement.

Some of the feedback our prototype gathered was:

“More willing to pay because it made me smile and laugh”

“It’s new, funny and personal”

“Short and sweet, grabbed my attention”

In the end, we landed on an engaging, different, excitingly new way to think about encouraging visitor donations.


What did we learn?

At the end of the Sprint, there were 6 key things we learnt from the Design Sprint process, donation behaviours and encouraging donation:

  1. Attract attention
  2. Make it personal
  3. Do something different
  4. Cater to everyone
  5. Tech that’s useful
  6. Consider practicalities

About CCD Re:

CCD Re: is our internal design research capability. We take briefs from partners, collaborators and clients, always ask ‘why’ and remain curious. Through CCD Re: we are able to think freely about a brief allowing us to spend time understanding the motivation behind specific human behaviours and how the service or product can be improved to better the experience.

CCD Design & Ergonomics

Written by

At CCD, we design, driven by human behaviour. We believe that designing for people starts with understanding their behaviours, needs & motivations.

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