Should charity websites follow the Guardian’s lead?

Guardian readers will probably have noticed that it has been trying a new way of making money from its website over the last few months.

guardian-ask
The Guardian’s request for support

It now puts requests for financial support at the bottom of articles, arguing that falling advertising and sales revenue means that producing quality journalism is becoming increasingly difficult.

“If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps to pay for it,” it says, “our future would be much more secure.”

It’s a really good idea. If it works, the Guardian could potentially unlock an important new revenue stream. If it doesn’t, it hasn’t really lost anything.

So given how challenging many charities have found it to raise money through their websites (and I mean raise it, rather than just collect it), I’m a bit surprised not to have seen charities trying this.

Lots of charities, of course, ask for donations on their homepage. Some even use most of their homepage to make a fundraising ask.

So with charities increasingly taking a brand newsroom approach t and having lots of high-quality, expert content, why not put a fundraising ask at the end of web content, too?

There’s nothing else competing for the space at the bottom of a web page, so doing this wouldn’t mean prioritising a request for a donation over other messaging.

And you would be asking for a donation at a point when the readers should be feeling well-disposed towards you because they have just read something they have found informative and useful.

Even if following the Guardian’s lead didn’t raise much money, it would be unlikely to have any significant negative impact and so would be a low risk way of trying something new.

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