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GiveWater

GiveWater

This site is graded C by One-Click Charity Check
This one-click charity is approved and has a grade of C.

NOTE: I usually provide links to the various pages within the site as they are discussed, such as the FAQ, etc. This site operates entirely using frames, so I cannot do that in this review.

Date of Review: January 16, 2002

Pertinent data for this site:

  • Owned by: The site (GiveWater) appears to be owned and operated jointly between its beneficiary, WaterAid, which is an independent charity, and WaterAid's main sponsor, Thames Water, a division of RWE. Sharon Brand-Self of WaterAid confirmed in an email that WaterAid is independent, but said the GiveWater site was originated by Thames Water.
  • Owner profit type: non-profit charity and for-profit utility company
  • URL: http://www.givewater.org/
  • Donations go to:
  • Percentage of revenue that goes to the beneficiary: not stated, but presumably 100% since the site is just an arm of a long-time partnership between the main sponsor, Thames Water, and the beneficiary WaterAid
  • Method of payment: not stated, probably direct
  • Geographic limitations: none, beneficiary works globally
  • Language(s): English
  • Calendar day for this site starts at: not stated

Jump to the summary of what this site should do to improve

Criteria that have been met will have a checkmark graphic, and criteria that have not been met will have an X-mark graphic, as shown below. Further details will be listed below each criteria specifying what elements resulted in the checkmark or X-mark.

[Checkmark] [X-mark]

How this site scored on the criteria (version 1.21):

Critical Criteria

  1. [Checkmark] I have confirmed that the beneficiaries are getting the money owed them as follows:
    • The beneficiary's website says on its main page, "By clicking on the GiveWater website you can help raise vital funds for WaterAid's work at no cost to you." Also, Sharon Brand-Self of WaterAid has confirmed the long-time partnership between the beneficiary and the main sponsor. The GiveWater website is just another arm of that partnership.
  2. [Checkmark] Contact data for the one-click company/individual is displayed on the site as follows:
    • Email or Form Mail (required) - shown on the contact page
    • Phone number (strongly recommended) - shown on the contact page
    • Postal address (strongly recommended) - not given, but can be found through the web links. It would be good for GiveWater to include this information right on the contact page.
  3. [Checkmark] There is a clear description of who gets the money, as follows:
    • WaterAid is stated as the beneficiary.
  4. [Checkmark] There is clear indication that the site is still operating (as of the date of this review) as follows:
    • The site manages the donations by preset blocks of time. At the time of this review, the current target was set in December of 2001, and the time limit is June of 2002. The FAQ says, "a total of two million clicks has resulted in Thames Water providing a total donation of 150,000 in 2001."

      I could find no other indications that the site is still being operated. I will give this site credit for this review for being current but only because it has been updated within the last six weeks. If this review had taken place in April or May 2002, I probably would have considered these bits of information to be insufficient proof that the site was still running. The problem with such long periods without maintenance is that a site could be abandoned and users would keep clicking, completely unaware that it's no longer doing anything worthwhile. Thus, I strongly encourage GiveWater to provide some other means of illustrating timeliness, such as running donation/click totals (not script-run), or even just monthly updates on the totals. A news page updated once a month would also suffice. If there are no other indications of maintenance by the next review, I will downgrade this point which will result in a failing grade.

  5. [Checkmark] The site does not require users to visit another site, nor perform any activity other than clicking on a donate button/graphic for a donation to count.
  6. [Checkmark] The site counts donations regardless of user input or registration.

Important Criteria

  1. [Checkmark] There is no apparent conflict of interest.
  2. [Checkmark] All possible ulterior motives (such as religious affiliation, being part of another organization, being part of a marketing campaign from some corporate entity, etc.) are listed as follows:
    • The site is jointly owned and operated by the beneficiary and the principal sponsor. This is made clear throughout, including links to the parent company of the sponsor. The site also makes it clear that its primary function is to raise awareness, since the sponsor could just hand over money to the beneficiary instead.
  3. [X-mark] The site has up-to-date, accurate information throughout, as follows:
    • There are tidbits of information about totals and the need for clean water in some countries, but most of the facts given are missing citations and dates. The totals given are rounded and not very clear. Since one of the main goals of the site is to raise awareness, GiveWater should be striving to present more data and to do so with better citation. Users would probably be more impressed with up-to-date, cited statistics than just random ones.
  4. [Checkmark] The site has a good frequently asked questions (FAQ) area.
    • There is a FAQ, but it's fairly short and missing a lot of information, such as how often clicks count, when the new donation day begins, etc. It would also be better all on one page instead of making the user click back and forth trying to find an answer.
  5. [Checkmark] The money is not just being collected for the future; it is in use now.
  6. [X-mark] The site specifies how much each sponsor pays per click as follows:
    • There is no indication of a per-click amount. The site operates on a goal of a number of clicks, and if it reaches that goal, the principal sponsor pays a preset amount. But there is no mention of how much is given if the goal falls short or if any extra is given for exceeding the goal.
    • Type of currency is stated as British pounds.
  7. [X-mark] There is a clear privacy policy.
    • There is a one-paragraph policy as part of the FAQ that states that GiveWater doesn't collect personal information during donation and doesn't capture email addresses. This is not sufficiently clear. What about in matters other than donation, such as surfing around the site or using their tell-a-friend feature, which requires email input? Are email addresses saved from that form? How are clicks registered? Are IP addresses used? Those aren't personal, but it's still information being collected and should be stated.
  8. [Checkmark] Users can access information about the site, such as the FAQ, Privacy Policy, etc. before clicking to donate. Sites that require the user to donate before providing links to information are asking the user to donate blindly, and that is unfair.

Useful Criteria

  1. [X-mark] The site is accessible to the disabled or to slow computers as follows:
    • Bobby test results (for the main page, not the frame default):

      This page does not meet the requirements for Bobby AAA Approved status. Below is a list of 2 Priority 1 accessibility error(s) found:

      • Provide alternative text for all images. (20 instances) Lines 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 72, 76
      • Provide alternative text for all image map hot-spots (AREAs). (12 instances) Lines 81, 82, 85, 86, 89, 90, 93, 94, 97, 98, 101, 102

      User checks are triggered by something specific on the page; however, you need to determine whether they apply. Bobby AAA Approval requires that none of them apply to your page. Please review these 6 item(s):

      • Provide alternative content for each SCRIPT that conveys important information or functionality.
      • If style sheets are ignored or unsupported, are pages still readable and usable?
      • If you use color to convey information, make sure the information is also represented another way. (22 instances) Lines 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 72, 76
      • If this is a data table (not used for layout only), identify headers for the table rows and columns. (1 instance) Line 54
      • If an image conveys important information beyond what is in its alternative text, provide an extended description. (21 instances) Lines 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 72, 76
      • If a table has two or more rows or columns that serve as headers, use structural markup to identify their hierarchy and relationship. (1 instance) Line 54
      This site is not disabled-friendly at all. Images, including navigation graphics, do not have ALTs, making it very difficult for anyone who can't see the graphics to move around the site. Older browsers that cannot handle frames could also have difficulty.
    • Standard elements such as ALT tags are NOT present
    • Site is almost useless in Lynx. The combination of frames and image-required navigation makes it a guessing game for anyone viewing the site in a non-graphic browser. I was able to guess my way to the information because I've seen the graphical version, but I couldn't figure out how to donate. I very much doubt that many non-graphical users would bother to muddle their way through the site without that benefit.
  2. [X-mark] This site has good navigability as follows:
    • Navigation on this site requires frames beyond the main page, so if your browser doesn't support frames, navigation may be a major hassle. The navigation graphics do not have ALTs, so non-graphical users or people relying on screen readers may find navigation through the site difficult or impossible.
    • Some pages are not always reachable, such as the Thank You page. If you are reading the FAQ, you need to go back to the main page to donate, and the only link there is a graphic that doesn't always load properly in IE6.0. Once you've donated, the main page no longer has a donate graphic unless you refresh the page. The Thank You page has a "find out more" link that isn't available from anywhere else on the site that I could find, so if you don't go there right away when you donate, it can be difficult to get back to it.
  3. [Checkmark] The site is aesthetically pleasing and uncomplicated, as follows:
    • Colour scheme: the combination of washy reds, golds and greens sometimes make it difficult to read, especially when some words are in a very brushy script. People with vision problems may have trouble reading some parts of the site. The scheme looks nice enough, but may be sacrificing some usability.
    • no animated gifs
  4. [X-mark] The site does not promote, inadvertently or otherwise, poor behaviour such as spam.
    • The site has a tell-a-friend feature that uses email addresses input by the user. This could be abused by pranksters or well-meaning spammers. GiveWater should implore users to not abuse the feature, right on the page where the abuse could occur.
  5. [Checkmark] Cookies are not required for donations to count.
    • I was unable to use Lynx to donate, which is where I test for cookies since my graphical browser is set to accept them (except from third parties). I will give the site the benefit of the doubt that they do not use cookies. If they do, the FAQ should state whether or not they are required for the donation to count.
  6. [Checkmark] If the money collected is only going to one country or smaller geographical division, this is noted as follows:
    • Not applicable.
  7. [X-mark] There is detailed, accurate information about why the money is needed, and statistics are used in a responsible, contextual manner.
    • There are some factoids given about water needs, but they are not cited or dated, so it is impossible to tell how accurate they are. The main page has a graphic that gives a handful of statistics, but all without context, citation or date.
  8. [X-mark] Donation totals are posted. Non-daily totals or batch-posted totals include a statement as to how often the totals are updated.

Considerations outside of criteria

This site is operating under a slightly different model than most free donation sites. Instead of sponsors giving a fixed amount per click, GiveWater sets click goals and if met, the sponsor, a long-time partner of the beneficiary, hands over a lump sum to the beneficiary. It is stated on the site that the reason for having the site act as a go-between is to raise awareness, so the implication is the beneficiary will continue to be supported by the sponsor anyway.

Thus, in order to make the site worthwhile, it needs to actually raise awareness. It does a very minimal job of this. Statistics are tossed around casually without citation or dates, making them fairly meaningless to the average user. People who click on free donation sites are well aware that there is suffering and strife in the world, and random statements like, "X many people die from Y cause per Z time" become repetitive and meaningless. However, reports that suggest more people died last year than in previous years, or less people died because of projects supported through this site, could give users a better sense of how their efforts could make a difference. That kind of useful awareness is what brings repeat clickers and encourages word-of-mouth spread.

Because of GiveWater's click-goal setup, the site could be left unmaintained for months at a time. This could make users question whether or not their clicks are still counting for anything. In order to maximize awareness, make that awareness useful, and keep users assured that the clicks still count, I strongly encourage the site administrators to set up a regular news or updated section. Even a once-a-month newsletter on progress, projects, related news links, etc. would have a significant impact on the site's educational value and keep users coming back more often.

However, any improvement without a change in the site's graphical setup would still be meaningless to the many people in the world who do not have fast computers and Internet connections, or are visually impaired, and as a result need to browse without graphics. The site is almost unusable without loading the graphics. Navigation is a mess because of missing ALTs and a reliance on frames. Non-graphical users may not even be able to "click" to donate at all. GiveWater needs to provide a disabled-friendly option in order to reach a wider audience.

In many ways, this is a minimal setup that needs improvement. The site appears to be legitimate, but the frills have gone into backgrounds and fancy fonts instead of usability.

Summary of what this site should do to improve

Postal addresses should be given on the contact page.

Better indication of current maintenance is required. Statistics and other information needs to include citations and dates in order to be more meaningful. More information about the need for clean water should be provided.

The FAQ is missing some information such as how many clicks per day count, when the donation day begins, whether or not cookies are required for donation, etc.

The site needs a more thorough privacy policy.

The site is not disabled accessible. Frames and graphical navigation make the site almost impossible to use in non-graphical browsers. An information page is only accessible from the Thank You page, which is hard to get to since it's difficult to navigate back to the main page, and once you've donated, the donation graphic goes away unless you refresh the browser window.

The colour and font scheme can be difficult to read, and might be harder to read for the visually impaired.

The tell-a-friend feature could encourage spamming. This would only hurt the site's reputation.

No running donation totals posted, just a final figure from the past sets.


Review History:

  • Original Review
    • Date: January 16, 2002
    • Grade: C
    • Problems:
      • Postal addresses should be given on the contact page.
      • Better indication of current maintenance is required.
      • Statistics and other information needs to include citations and dates in order to be more meaningful.
      • More information about the need for clean water should be provided.
      • Missing information: how many clicks per day count, when the donation day begins, whether or not cookies are required for donation
      • Needs a more thorough privacy policy.
      • Not disabled accessible.
      • Poor navigation because of frames and graphics. Isolated information page.
      • Tell-a-friend feature could encourage spamming.
      • No running donation totals posted.

This page was last updated on January 16, 2002.

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