The Relevance of Persuasive Technology and their Influence on Online Donation Platforms in Pakistan
Senior Year Project (August 2017- May 2018)

Under the supervision of Dr. Suleman Shahid, I along with two other team members undertook the following research as our Senior Year Project at LUMS. The aim of our project was to study the effectiveness of online persuasion and the use of Cialdini’s principles of persuasion on the attitude and behavior of donors in Pakistan. Our research focuses on the comparative effectiveness of persuasive technology in online donation portals and whether the results of these principles vary in different countries. Our results reveal important strengths and weaknesses of all the approaches we adopted that could facilitate or hinder the effectiveness of online donations. We adopted the interactionists perspective to address the problem at hand


1. Primary secondary research

We started off with extensive secondary research of 60 participants which helped us identify current implementations of persuasive technology in charitable online platforms. We extracted persuasive elements from current charitable websites and tested them through questionnaires with the Pakistani audience. Users compared existing websites and their preferences were noted along with reasoning.

2. Website sifting and Categorization

We extracted persuasive elements from current charitable websites and made a list of the combinations in which they were currently being employed.

3. Cialdini’s Principles- The Pakistani Context

The elements were then categorized and were tested through questionnaires with the Pakistani audience in an attempt to grasp a view of how they work in this context.

4. The perfect framework

We extrapolated the findings to derive relevant principles applicable in context. After thoroughly examining several options for donation websites, we finalized on the idea of child sponsorship. Child sponsorship is a type of fundraising in which a charitable organization associates a donor sponsor with a particular child beneficiary. The sponsor receives updates from the child, typically including photos and translated letters, which helps create the appearance of a personal relationship with the child.

5. Lo- fi to Mid-fi prototyping

After deciding the framework, we were going to follow we made sketches of the main pages to have a clear idea of the flow of the website these lo-fi prototypes were converted to 30 mid-fi prototypes on photoshop. Prototype webpages were made one by one, changing one feature on a particular page and keeping the remaining constant.
6. Prototype testing
It was essential to design a methodology that would limit bias and at the same time, thoroughly testing all relevant principles. We designed a technique where each participant was assigned one of the 5 variants where each variant would be testing a unique principle on a unique webpage. This ensured that time and resources were efficiently used to obtain at least 20 responses for each variant.

7. Implementation

Deducing from an extensive 100 participant testing session, we concluded the features that would formulate our solution to a charitable portal that would compel the users to donate more.

The Final Questionnaire and Paper can be downloaded below.


Testing Questionnaires:
Final Paper:

Final Web Prototype

Final Android Prototype