SiteLines: Charity.ca

In this regular feature, Strategy Direct + Interactive asks an interactive marketing expert to give us their candid assessment of a Web site selected by us. This month, Michael Sachter, vice-president of Toronto-based online men's clothier Just White Shirts & Black...

In this regular feature, Strategy Direct + Interactive asks an interactive marketing expert to give us their candid assessment of a Web site selected by us. This month, Michael Sachter, vice-president of Toronto-based online men’s clothier Just White Shirts & Black Socks, gives us his impressions of Charity.ca.

Description:

Described as Canada’s first charity portal, Charity.ca went live on the Web last May, providing visitors with news and information pertaining to a wide range of charitable causes across the country, along with an extensive list of profiled charities to which they can make direct online donations. Among the key features on the site are a national ‘in memoriam’ obituary database, which gives users the ability to search for published obituaries, identify the charities supported by the family of the deceased, and to make their donations online. Donors who register on the site also have the ability to create a ‘donor portfolio’, in which they can keep track of their donations and receipts and receive regular news updates regarding the charities and subject areas of their choice. Charity.ca says it wants to act as an alternative fundraising source for charities, while also providing them with cost-effective administrative support.

Michael Sachter, Vice President, Marketing

Just White Shirts & Black Socks

The Charity.ca site is very well laid out and straightforward. I especially appreciate the fact that they’ve taken care to focus on the aspects of privacy and trust, including where the donor’s money is going. Their ability to identify the key aspects of each charity and provide information about each one within its navigation stream is great. I also think they do a very good job of segmenting the different ways and reasons people would search for and use charities, be it tributes or donor opportunities tied around disaster relief.

I do, however, think there are some areas where there is room for them to build on what they’ve already created. Although I don’t doubt that they’re working to get some more national, well-recognized charities on board, there were a couple of specific charities that I was looking for on my visit that I couldn’t find, so I found that a bit of a let-down. Obviously, it’s early for them, so I’m sure they’re going to build out some relationships and opportunities as they go forward.

As for site design, I think they might be able to refine their search function a little, because even when I used the advanced search function, I got some returns that I wasn’t looking for. Really, the only other shortcoming I found was at the point of donation, where there was an opportunity to confirm or change the amount of the donation. When I decided to increase the amount of my donation, I ended up having to re-key all of my credit card and name information. Certainly, not having an opportunity to alter the amount at the point of check-out is a bit of an inconvenience.

Overall, though, I thought Charity.ca was a pretty good site, and it definitely had some right ideas. I give it 4.5 out of 5.