Written: March 24, 2017

Charity Web Site Fail

There are a handful of charities that I support and The Salvation Army is on that short list, so when I received their phone call for support I replied yes, and they mailed out a contribution letter. In that letter I saw that I could donate online so I browsed the site provided, www.tsacascade.org which oddly enough redirected me instead to cascade.salvationarmy.org.

Salvation Army home page

Home page

Next, I clicked on the Donate button which then sent me to a third web site at give.salvationarmyusa.org. Filling out the form I expected it to say Thank You, instead it did nothing, so I took a look and discovered that this secure form was throwing two errors and wouldn’t submit, so I was totally stuck:

Salvation Army, failed donation

Failed donation

At the bottom of the page there was a phone number of 800-725-2769 so I called and talked to a live operator and it went something like this:

Operator, “Welcome to the Salvation Army, how may I help you?”

Me, “My name is Daniel and I just tried to donated online, but your form is broken and throwing errors.”

“Uh, what page is that?”

“It was https://give.salvationarmyusa.org/. Can you tell me if the donation went through OK?”

“Wait just one moment. Please call us back in 48 hours to see if your donation was accepted.”

“Would I receive an email confirmation if the donation worked OK?”

“Wait just one moment. Please call us back in 48 hours.”

“Is there a procedure to report your broken donation page?”

“Yes. Please call back in 48 hours to see if we have fixed the page.”

So what did I learn?

  1. The Salvation Army has a hodge-podge of three confusing web domain names. Instead, they should use one name to earn my trust.
  2. Web sites with secure donation pages need to be tested for proper operation and fixed before the public wakes up, or else confidence and trust decreases.
  3. Telephone operators aren’t trained to help donors when the web site breaks.

So, do I still trust the Salvation Army? Yes, although their web developer needs to quickly fix this donation bug to restore my confidence.

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