Why Charity Water Doesn’t Have a “Donate Now” Button

Whenever I do training about improving websites for better fundraising, someone usually asks about the best location for a “Donate Now” button. It’s as if adding a “Donate Now” button will magically improve their website’s fundraising ability.

If this is true, why doesn’t charity:water have a big fat button on their website?

Charity Water’s primary goal is to engage people around the topic of clean water. They realize that people are more passionate about the outcome then just simply making a donation.


They also realize that asking people for money right away can be a turn-off, squelching whatever passion someone had when first visiting their website.

Instead, they use language like “Start a Campaign,” or “Give Clean Water.”

Financial Loss vs. Emotional Gain

Let’s face it, there really is no WIFM (what’s in it for me) to donating money to a nonprofit. That money is given and never seen again.

Giving clean water, or starting a campaign puts the donor emotionally closer to the outcome.

They use language that communicates gain, not loss:

  • Start a Campaign: Do something meaningful.
  • Give Clean Water: Have a direct impact in a community.
  • Donate Your Birthday: Don’t be so selfish. 🙂
  • Join Pipeline: Join a movement.
  • Invest in the Future: Leave a legacy.

If people care so much, why not ask for money right away?

Passion grows slowly for some people. Charity Water recognizes this, focuses instead on engaging people in meaningful actions, like starting campaigns or learning more about how water impacts every aspect of a small community.

What do you think?