If you think that November has a needlessly negative sound – it starts with NO, after all – then you should look into Movember, the fundraiser that puts ironic facial hair to work to fight cancer.  Grow a moustache, raise money for cancer research, everybody wins.

Well, almost everybody.

So I went over to the Movember site to make a manly donation, and selected three worthy mo-growers and made individual credit card donations to each of their pages.  It was relatively painless but I did hit a minor user experience snag or two, so I dashed off a quick note to the feedback address in the interest of continuous improvement.  I do know a little but about online fundraising, after all.  Here’s my note:

Great work guys, but I have some minor but significant gripes: the donation form forces you to enter cents – you can’t just put 50, you have to put 50.00 – why make people work? I clicked the button for “keep my donation and message private” but got an immediate tweet back from the person whose page I donated to. What does “private” mean? Can’t I donate anonymously? Thanks for your attention, David

I figure the first one is basic user experience.  Don’t make anybody do any extra work, no matter how small.  A quick check of online donation sites – including Livestrong, one of the organizations that receives Movember’s funds – found none forcing the decimal point.

The second item has been one of my annoyances with online donation services for ages, especially social-media-infused ones like Movember.  Why can’t I just make an anonymous donation?  I wrote about the roots of my thinking back in 2008 on FirstGiving’s Online Fundarising Blog.

Here’s what I got back from Movember, edited a bit for brevity, and not including the screenshots they emailed to illustrate their points:

Hey David,

Thanks so much for taking the time to send us in your feedback. We really appreciate your opinion as it helps our campaign grow and improve each year. Allow me to answer your comment in two parts:

Firstly, please forgive me, but is that a serious question re: entering cents? Typing “.00” is hardly work! J
The reason we ask people to type the cents is to force them to make sure the amount they are donating is correct. Last year when this was not a feature, some people donated $5000 instead of $50.

Secondly, when you elect to keep your donation private, it only keeps it private from the public and not also the Mo Bro themselves.

You can donate completely anonymously by using an alias in the online donation process, or typing Anonymous Donation, however your receipt will be generated with this faux name.

Hope this helps.If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me. Mo than happy to help!
Thanks again for your support and feedback. Have a happy Movember!

[redacted name]

Way to go there, appreciating my feedback and making fun of me for it.

On the decimal: no, it’s not work; yes, I am serious.  Maybe making three donations in a row the irritation built up.  I can’t deny that somebody probably has donated 100x what he intended but I’m not sure that’s a problem worth solving this way.  You get to view and confirm your donation before actually paying.  What do Livestrong and all those other sites do about this since they don’t force the point?  I expect they refund 99% of the donation.

On the anonymity: wishful thinking on my part, I read “private” as “anonymous” I’ll take my lumps for that, but why isn’t anonymous an option?  In the highly competitive world of moustache-growing fundraising, I might have only enough money to support one or two Mo bros but not want them to know that I didn’t support various other Mo bros.  Faking the name is not an option.  I doubt my credit card would go through if the name didn’t match, and I doubt the IRS would be very impressed with receipts with bogus names on them.

Let me wrap this up as best I can.  I insist that it should be as easy as possible to donate, and I also insist that anonymity from the fundraiser (Mo bro or for that matter FirstGiving fundraising page owner) is a choice to which donors are entitled.