Changes in Online Giving

Believe it or not, the US lags behind other countries – including many developing nations – in the use of online fundraising and mobile technology. But one thing is for sure: online philanthropy is here to stay. Nonprofits are beginning to get on board by developing robust social media communities and by creating many opportunities for online giving.

But . . . many nonprofits still have  questions and concerns about online giving. What is it? How is it done?

Network for Good recently published a useful infographic charting a 10-year evolution of the online donor. This infographic shares some of the key changes in online giving.

Here are some of the trends:

People are more comfortable giving online than ever before. Ten years ago only 4% of people had given online. Today, more than 65% of people have given online. 65% is the majority. This means that a) people are more comfortable giving online now than they were ten years ago and b) that nonprofits are creating more giving opportunities online.

Online giving is great for emergency needs like disaster relief.  While only 1 in 10 gifts in 9/11 were given online, a full 1 in 3 gifts to the recent Japan earthquake relief efforts were given online or through mobile technology. In this way, online giving allows for “impulse giving.” However, do not think online philanthropy is only for spontaneous gifts.  A well-planned online fundraising campaign operates with many of the same strategies as a traditional campaign including: it has a beginning, middle and an end; it has a goal; it engages donors in the celebrating the progress; it may start out with a lead gift to get the ball rolling; and it incorporates donor appreciation as often as possible.

Small gifts add up. According to Network for Good, the average online gift through their system was $226 ten years ago. Today it is $73. One explanation of this, according to Network for Good, is that “Giving has gone mainstream.” This means that everybody – not just the wired wealthy – gives online. Many nonprofits are telling me that the younger generation is giving online. In fact, this generation is giving significantly (with respect to their income levels).  For them, it is all about the relationship. Online giving, largely fueled by social media, is a relationship-centered approach.

Social media is key. According to the Wired Wealthy report, almost 70% of online donors was some sort of relationship from charities; however, they rarely visit the charities’ websites. What does this mean? It means the charities must find to them. One of the best ways to do this is through social media.  By building a strong, engaged online community, nonprofits are setting themselves up for future successful online fundraising.  

What can an nonprofit do to increase online philanthropy? Stay tuned for next week’s blog and an exciting opportunity to increase your online giving in 2012!

P.S. Do you have questions about online fundraising? Ask me on Facebook and I’ll be sure to answer!


2 responses to “Changes in Online Giving

  1. Pingback: Online Fundraising, Social Media, and GIVEBIG San Diego | Jenny's Junction

  2. Pingback: Moving Millennials to Donate: Easier than You Think | Jenny's Junction

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