Blog Growth Case Studies

Growth Case Study: Checkout Optimisation


Where: JustGiving – peer to peer fundraising platform
When: 2017-2020
Why: Drive more donations and higher donation values
How: Large scale A/B testing, collaboration between Growth SWOT team and Fintech team.

The Full Growth Case Study 🚀

In my previous role as the Growth leader and Crowdfunding Business lead at the world’s largest giving platform, we had a number of internal goals we wanted to hit and historically we did not have a dedicated team that could apply a true test, learn and iterate methodology.

The greatest impact the Growth team could have had was testing and optimising the checkout flow and test the number assets available to test and influence a positive increase in donations, value of donations and supporting JustGiving through the tipjar operating model.

JustGiving Opertaing Models

JustGiving is one of the UK’s largest e-commerce sites, enabling anyone raising money for great causes.

The JustGiving offering was essentially a large scale fintech company offering highly customised checkouts for charities and the personalised checkout for close to two hundred thousand crowdfunders every year.

JustGiving operates as a three sided marketplace:
(1) Fundraising and Crowdfunding pages
– Tipjar model supporting the business
– Marketing, Product & Growth driven

(2) Subscription model with charities
– Subscription models from £15 – £39 per month per charity partner
– Sales & Marketing driven

(3) Corporate Partners
– Partnering with businesses to raise money for charity partners and building whitelabel services
– Sales & Marketing driven

JustGiving Insights

  • Transactions: JustGiving transacted over £455m every year, large events and national events really helped the business to grow and support thousands of charities and millions of fundraisers
  • Daily traffic: From 350k to over 1m visits – on big news stories JustGiving often reached over 35k real time users, looking to support the causes covered in the news or on viral pages
  • Annual Pages: Averaged over 850k pages created for charity and crowdfunding causes
  • Traffic: 70% of traffic is driven from Social Media, Facebook although a competitor into my tenure still drove the majority of traffic.
  • Competitors: Includes GoFundMe, Facebook, Large Charity & peer to peer crowdfunding sites.
Slide explaining how to think about the distribution of your product. Given at a masterclass given at General Assembly. Scroll down to the bottom for full presentation

Network Effects

Sites like JustGiving where built deliberately and rely on their users networks, so leveraging network effects is essential.

Users ask for donations via social networks and 1-2-1 communications and send their friends, family and colleagues to donate to their page.

The product was build to encourage donations and in both the Growth team and Crowdfunding department we optimised the reach of the product and gaining support from fundraisers friends, family and colleagues alongside leveraging local communities and ultra relevant internet groups.

As the Growth SWOT team we knew we had a large number of areas we could influence and opportunity to build out offerings to improve the product for the customer, while improving the results for the business.

Example of networks connected to fundraising and how to promote the product to the person raising money for a great cause

Performance Indicators

JustGiving had a number of key performance indicators we knew were imperative to our success, including:

  • The number of pages created
  • The number of donations
  • The average donation amount
  • Time on site – (TTD) the time to donate (speed to donation) – unlike other sites, time on site ideally as low as possible
  • Source of traffic and driving more traffic by using the external tools in the most effective ways
Slide explaining how to leverage your assets for Growth success, from recent Growth masterclass

Leverage Your Checkout Flow

The crowdfunding donation flow from fundraisers page to the optimised checkout page. With checkout’s many people consider only a couple of features whereas there are many more features and assets you should test with A/B testing.

The Goal: Increase The Amount Donated On Every Donation

Simple Rules You Can Learn From & Test

  • Use what you have already built for your advantage  
  • Highlight the clearest signals – reduce the noise. Show and tell users what to do and start the journey for the user (leverage goal gradient effect)
  • The Checkout is the most important part of the flow for the consumer and for the business – be deliberate and hyper focused when optimising and testing
  • Never add more steps – speed and less clicks = highest conversion rate
  • Influence visitors with clearest CTA – many visitors won’t donate and that’s ok. you can reengage on other channels or through other tests
  • Be crystal clear with the next steps the visitor has to take – donate, read more, and in some cases leave
  • Vary the amounts shown on large scale testing – this is something that surprised many, leveraging the number of options and the value of the defaults had 10%+ improvements in average donation size  
  • Increase lowest recommended amount – Increasing the base or lowest amount had a hugely positive impact on average donation size. It is important to note, humans are conditioned and influenced by what they see and are concerned by how others act.
    Be careful of paradox of choice, adding many more choices will not help, it will on many occassions hinder. performance
  • Increase the highest recommended amount – you will be surprised how much people who care will donate to their friends, family and even strangers if the story is powerful enough. There were anonymous donations of over £20k.
    The key here – people donate to people, not pages or products.
  • Show Business Model & Fees Clearly – The TipJar Business model shown on page helped to be more transparent around our business model especially when we changed from 5%+ flat fee to a tipjar model. Conjoint analysises will be an incredible process to go through if you are looking to improve your operating efficiencies and business effectiveness.

Breakdown Of Tests Ran

The number of optimised assets, included how to test recommended £ amounts displayed to changing the default amount shown to users. Testing these led to incredible results for charities and great crowdfunding causes.

It is important to note we had a great Fintech team who were forward thinking enough to enable large scale A/B test and testing important elements, testing could be implemented at:

  • Payment provider – the partner who would appear and the preferred payment processer to appear
  • Business line level – we could have ran tests on crowdfunding and separately with fundraising (charity) business lines
  • Charity level – each charity could have had their own tests and customisable assets, including buttons, icons and imagery
  • Category level – each page was self selected into a category and sub category that enabled us to run different tests
  • Page type level – not all pages are created with same quality or input, this allowed us to test across different page types with different messages or CTA’s
  • Page level – each page could have had a different test. This was particualrly useful when pages were going viral or were going to be on the national or international news.

Want To Roll Out Something Similar But Don’t Know How?

For growth advisory and Marketing coaching, hit the button below to contact me for more collaboration and growth coaching.


Facebook made numerous product changes once became a direct competitor in raising money, including tactics such as
(1) Automatically adding in their own offering under JustGiving URL’s and
(2) Constantly changing newsfeed algorthimic could have negatively impacted growth without a huge team effort and numerous product changes and Marketing messages.

Growth SWOT – a dedicated unit with core set of specialist members, including a Product Manager, Product Designer, two full stack developers and me as the lead.

Tipjar – rather than charge a flat fee or varying fee, tipjar is decided by the user and they select what % tip they want to support JustGiving with.

General Assembly Masterclass Presentation

Important Related Resources

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