Rutgers-Camden University Professors Find Web Security Seals to Increase Donations

Two Rutgers – Camden University accounting professors find that a security seal on a website meant to bring in charitable donations will receive more donations than websites intended for the same charitable purpose without a security seal.

One of the accounting professors and researchers on this topic, Erica Harris, says “When you go to a nonprofit organization’s website, you might see a seal from WebTrust, Symantec or another third party administrator. That seal is there to let donors know that the website is legitimate and they shouldn’t worry about submitting credit card and other personal information.”

When donating, users are used looking for the small lock symbol that is in the right hand corner of the URL bar. This little image lets them breathe easy and know that the transaction as well as their personal information is safe without the risk of an unknown entity retrieving it.

Harris and her research partner, Joseph Canada, also found that many colleges and universities don’t have a seal on their donation pages, which both found to be rather interesting. The pair believe that the larger the organization the less questions asked by those donating.

Harris says, “What we’d like to know now is how many more donations an organization gets after it implements the Web seal. Are they getting more donations than before they had the seal in place?”

The research of Harris and Canada is still ongoing as they wait for various web security administrators to get back to them in regards to organizations they have worked with and when the security seals were put in place. In the meantime, they continue to work on their research paper and hope to have enough data compiled to complete and publish it this spring.

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