Online Giving is Up!

online-givingAlthough nonprofits have been hurting like the rest of us during these past few years, 2010 saw a significant increase in online giving. According to Blackbaud (they’re the big dogs when it comes to nonprofit consulting) 2010 Giving Report year-over-year growth was 34.5% compared to 2009. Apparently, funds for Haiti relief spiked the data a bit, but online giving nevertheless is very much on the rise. The larger organizations benefitted the most with 55.6% growth compared to 15.9% for smaller organizations – which makes sense since larger organizations can employ stronger web fundraising tools.

How does online fundraising look against other means of income? Well, the percentage of total fundraising that comes from online giving has grown to 7.6%. Since the last analysis of this kind, large organizations have shifted from having the lowest percentage of online dollars to total funds raised to the highest percentage. International Affairs and Health Care sectors now bring in more than 10% of total fundraising from online giving.

Why is online giving becoming popular? It’s simple: donors what to get their donations to work as fast as possible. In the past several years we’ve seen mega-disaster after another, from the Asian Tsunami of 2004 to the Japanese Tsunami of 2011, and when people see a crises they want to help now. Moreover, they now instinctively know to go online rather than pick up the telephone or wait for mailed solicitations. As Blackbaud pointed out, online giving is becoming the first-response method of choice for donors. Major events like the Haiti earthquake are going to continue to increase the use of online and mobile technologies to engage with donors. Nonprofits across all sectors can learn valuable lessons from Haiti and other disaster relief programs and apply them to their fundraising efforts.

Not just small gifts anymore. From the analyzed data it was found that significant online donations have been made for the third consecutive year. In 2010, 88% of nonprofits had at least one online gift of $1,000 or more. This was an increase from 77% in 2009.The largest online gift made in 2010 was $100,000 and there were 10 gifts of this size. This was up from 2009, when the largest online gift was $60,000. The median online gift of $1,000 or more was $1,250.Online gifts of a significant amount are likely to increase and be a greater source of fundraising results for nonprofits.

So, how is your nonprofit faring? Are you taking advantage of Internet tools to your advantage? If you’re not sure, you may wish to click the “Your Website” tab on this site to see what you might be mission. But ask yourself this right now: Are the donation results shared with other sectors of your fundraising team? (E.g.: when you get a large contribution is it fed to your major/corporate gifts person for follow-up?) Are donors immediately added to the mailing list and email alerts? Are you showcasing larger contributions on the website (with permission granted, of course) to inspire others? Are you “Sharing” on Facebook and other social media networks? Within your online appeal, do you offer donation amount suggestions and how that money would be invested? And, do you have sections and/or pages for Planned, Corporate and Major gifts? Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, are you showcasing your appeal prominently? Your Home page should prioritize your need for contributions now, and what it will be used for. Having a compelling image on the top of your Home page with a simple message (e.g.: “Free HIV Testing Program to close. Please give now to ensure it doesn’t.”)

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