How Concern Worldwide uses alternative gifts to generate revenue

International development organisation achieves 15% conversions with their alternative gifts site


SystemSeed has been working with Concern Worldwide for ten years, and this includes designing, developing and maintaining their alternative gifts site. However, the old gifts site wasn't performing as well as we thought it should, so we redesigned and rebuilt it to increase revenue and conversions.

An alternative gift site is an online shop where people can buy gifts which are actually donations that represent a specific item that is relevant to your charity. For Concern, whose focus is on ending global poverty, these gifts include mosquito nets, avocado trees, and chickens.

Concern gifts homepage

SystemSeed developed our online ethical gifts website - - using their Drupal 8 Falcon platform. This has meant huge improvements to the user experience, security, backend architecture and content editing of the website. 

Niamh O’Bryne
Digital Projects Manager, Concern Worldwide


Concern wanted to improve their gifts site, offering a range of gifts of different prices, with the option of adding a physical card or e-card to the purchase. We designed and built the new site, working closely with the team at Concern, and focused on real user data as the indicator of what worked and what didn't.

Concern gifts conversions - Christmas shopping seasons

Categories and filters

The Concern gifts site offers buyers the choice of browsing all gifts, filtering by price range, or viewing by category of gift type. Categories include education, farming and home. This makes it easy for gift buyers to find a gift of the type they wish to send, that is within their budget.

Physical and e-cards

For each gift purchased, buyers are invited to add a personalised card with an option of a physical card or email card.

Buyers are able to choose a sending date for the card and add a personalised message to the recipient.

N.B. During the COVID-19 crisis, Concern opted to continue offering gifts but with e-cards only.

Gift card personalisation and scheduling

Multi-purpose checkout process

The payment options for Concern gifts are PayPal or credit card (via Stripe). We set up and manage this process to ensure that even at high traffic times, such as after a Concen TV appeal, the site and payments processing still runs smoothly.

We designed the checkout process to maximise income generation for Concern, so buyers are asked to:

  • Add an optional donation
  • Gift Aid their purchase, and
  • Give permission for the organisation to contact them post, telephone, email or text

Along with their technical skills and Drupal expertise, SystemSeed provides a high quality, responsive service to Concern Worldwide and are totally focused on understanding and delivering on requirements.

Niamh O’Bryne
Digital Projects Manager, Concern Worldwide

How we did it

Clean design

To create a good first impression and keep the interest of visitors landing on the gifts homepage, we created a design with a large header image and clear message of impact at the top of the page.

Immediately, site visitors are also able to see some of the most popular gifts on offer in a grid format.

Concern chose to commission an illustrator to give the each gift a character of its own, and these are combined throughout the site with high quality photography featuring Concern's clients and volunteers.

Easy navigation

Although the site is not complex in its content structure, we made it easy for visitors to see what is on offer, incorporating category-based sub-navigation for gift types and a slider for price range immediately below the main header.

Gift detail page

Detailed gift pages

Each gift has its own details page, with prominent 'buy now' and 'add to basket' buttons at the top. Site editors are able to add a description of the gift, as well as an example of the gift in action, and full details of what the gift recipient will actually get.

At the bottom of each gift page are related gifts, which increase the likelihood of buyers adding an additional item to their baskets.

Government-level technology

We built the site in Drupal 8, using our Falcon distribution, for optimal security, robustness, and ease of use for content editors. 

We upgraded the security and backend architecture as part of this process, along with moving Concern to our own hosting platform for better performance and disaster recovery.

Concern gifts optional donations screen

CRM integration

Gift purchasing data is directly imported to the Concern CRM through our Microsoft Dynamics NFP 365 integration module

Smooth payments

We kept the ordering and payment process short, easy to use, and offered a choice of payment options. 

This smoothed the user journey through your payments process, to minimise drop-off, as providing the opportunity for gift buyers to use their favourite payment method.

Methods of payment include PayPal and credit/debit card via Stripe. We created the module Commerce Decoupled Stripe for this purpose.

Get our free guide to alternative gift sites

We've created a 35+ page guide to what makes a great alternative gift site. It's free to download, so if you'd like to repeat the success of Concern, get your copy now.

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