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Considering a Customization to Your P2p Fundraising platform?

Let’s Weigh the Pros and Cons!

by Tatyana Yermakov

As soon as you start working with Luminate Online platform, you think of customizations. At the very least, you find yourself changing logos and colors. You create your first wrapper, and you’re already getting into customization with CSS and occasionally JS.

Then, a day comes when you’re crafting your first donation form and notice it’s too plain, or the functionality is somewhat bewildering, and you think that just a small change here and there could work wonders for the donor experience. Chances are, your consultant or developer will agree, saying that your requirement is doable – with customization.

Tatyana Yermakov

Director of Web Dev & QA
Charity Dynamics

Types of Customizations


Customizations come in all shapes and sizes. You can think of them as falling into two categories: “something everyone is doing” and “tailored for my unique website.”

For instance, you’ll probably want to add donor cover functionality to your LO donation form. Having different donation levels for one-time and monthly giving would be one common customization. Additionally, displaying the donation amount on your “Donate” button, like “Donate $10.55” instead of the standard “Donate,” requires a bit of JS magic. If it’s a feature that everyone desires, there’s a good chance it will find its way into the product. Sometimes, however, you need that functionality for your website now, and you don’t want to wait.

On the other hand, larger customizations involve things like API-based donation forms, event calendars that gather guest information, custom TR (TeamRaiser) participant centers, and various custom TR leaderboards. Typically, those customizations are stand-alone. You can continue using the standard donation form, calendar event, or start a TR event from scratch, and the functionality of your custom element won’t interfere.

If you have a web development team at your disposal, you might even consider extending customization to your entire site and building your LO site with GitHub source control and deployment tools.

Pros & Cons:

Pros


  • Tailoring the platform to your organization’s specific needs.
  • Improved user experience for donors and supporters.
  • Enhanced branding and visual consistency.
  • Increased fundraising effectiveness through custom workflows.

Cons


  • Increased development time and costs.
  • Complexity and a learning curve for staff.
  • Maintenance challenges and potential disruptions.
  • Risk of over-customization.

Finding the Right Balance


Customization might seem minor, but it can consume hours. Before settling for 10 hours instead of 20, ensure that your estimates include everything, from custom error checking and thorough QA to discovery meetings and documentation.

While customization may seem enticing, it often requires a substantial investment of time. Consider discussing alternative approaches and workarounds with your consultants and developers.

Remember that any customization demands maintenance and an understanding of how it works. For small customizations, make sure you have documentation. For larger ones, ensure you have technical staff capable of maintaining them.

Beware of over-customization. In a couple of years, you might find yourself in a situation where even a minor change, like tweaking content, requires you to find a developer. That’s why an extensive UX discovery stage is essential for larger customizations. Even if it seems like this stage consumes many hours, those hours are an investment in your future.

Conclusion


In Professional Services, we’re eager to collaborate with you on your customizations. As developers, we thrive on solving puzzles and embracing challenges. However, our primary goal is your success.

So, rest assured, if we believe that a customization might be too extensive or require an excessive effort for its intended outcome, we’ll provide you with a candid warning.

We’re here to guide you towards solutions that make the most sense for your organization, ensuring that your journey with the LO platform is as smooth and effective as possible.

Learn more about how Charity Dynamics can help increase your outreach and fundraising potential