Is Online Giving the Future of Fundraising?

[fa icon="calendar"] Nov 22, 2016 10:51:21 AM / by Sean Finnegan

Computer_Highlighted.jpgWhat percentage of total fundraising is coming from online donations?

I recently came across an excellent article from Upleaf. Published in June of this year, it has some very valuable information, and will be of service to all your fundraising efforts. (Read the full article here: ONLINE FUNDRAISING TRENDS).

It tackles the question of online fundraising and where it is headed. I recommend a full reading of the article and Blackbaud's report quoted in the article. Below I have summarized the three key points I took away as most valuable.

1.) The Future and Digital Fundraising

According to Blackbaud's 2015 Charitable Giving Report, the vast majority of funds for non-profits come through traditional fundraising channels. As cited in Upleaf:

93% of funds given to nonprofit organizations came from traditional means in 2015 - major gifts, annual funds, fundraising events, checks, snail mail and by phone. Only 7.1% of donations to nonprofits came in online.

The conclusion to draw is obvious: Most of your fundraising efforts need to be geared towards the traditional means of fundraising. This is a bitter pill to swallow for a lot of people, but if you do not utilize the tried and true methods of fundraising you will simply not raise as much as you should.

This is not to say that digital fundraising isn't important. It is. Online giving has been increasing year after year.

Online giving has been steadily growing over the last couple of years, up 9.2% from 2014 to 2015. (Blackbaud found a 13% increase in the number of gifts. This means not only is more money coming in, but more people are donating.)

2.) Integrate Offline and Online Giving Channels

Integrate all your fundraising channels.

"Joint online and offline campaigns improve donor engagement. People who give both online and offline are more likely to keep giving than those who donate exclusively online or offline. Organizations retain about 58% of multi-channel first time donors as opposed to retaining only 29% of offline-only donors and 23% of online-only donors (2013)"

3.) Focus your efforts online at the end of the calendar year

Remember that your online giving strategy should be geared towards the end of the year. 19% of all online giving occurred in December. There are two year-end campaigns strategies LDMI employees for our clients to take advantage of this - Giving Tuesday and Year-end tax deduction campaign. Throughout the year, spend time trying to figure out which messaging and design works most effectively and then employ those findings in December.

In conclusion:

Digital Fundraising is very enticing to non-profits, especially new non-profits. It seems to be easy, inexpensive, and easily executed. But in fundraising, all non-profits need to let the data dictate what they do, and, in the case of online giving, it continues to represent a small fraction of overall donations. The traditional means of fundraising continue to deliver the vast majority of donations and non-profits need to recognize, and act upon, this fact. Online giving is indeed important, but remains secondary to direct mail, major donors, and grant-writing.


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Topics: Email Fundraising, Online Donations, Non-Profit

Sean Finnegan

Written by Sean Finnegan

Sean Finnegan is the Online Marketing Director for Lawrence Direct Marketing.

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