Tue, June 25 2013

Online giving continues to grow—how to grow along with it

Caryn Stein's avatar

Director of Content Strategy, Network for Good

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The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that online donations rose 14 percent from 2011, reaching $2.1-billion in 2012. The study was based on data provided by Blackbaud, Network for Good, and PayPal, and examined online giving totals from 115,000 nonprofits. This latest analysis underscores just how online giving is growing at a more rapid pace than overall giving, which had a growth rate of only 3.5% in 2012, according to Giving USA. Going beyond numbers, the Chronicle also highlights quotes and examples from several nonprofits—tons of good food for thought! (For more details on this online giving data, you can browse the information from the Chronicle’s annual survey of online fundraising or view the interactive State of Online Giving report.)

So, how can your cause experience its own online giving growth spurt? Here are five recommendations:

1. Get online and make it easy.  You absolutely must have an easy way for donors to give online—a PDF download of your paper giving form doesn’t count. Get an online donation page that allows donors to quickly give and be sure you have the ability to track gifts and send thank yous. (Of course, we’re partial to Network for Good’s DonateNow service.)  For more ideas on improving your online fundraising, read 6 Steps to Maximize Online Giving via fundraising123.org.

2. Make it easy.  This is so important, it bears repeating. Do everything you can to make it dead simple for your donors every step of the way. Remove anything that is a barrier or distraction. Remove unnecessary options or anything that may cause confusion—or it will cost you donations. When you think you’ve made your donation process easy, try simplifying it even further. Then ask yourself, is it easy enough?

3. Foster the relationship.  Online fundraising offers a unique opportunity to customize the giving experience and to forge ongoing relationships with your donors through your website, emails and social media. Use these channels as donor retention tools to keep your supporters updated on your success. Create a personal connection with a multichannel experience for happy and loyal donors.

4. Encourage recurring gifts.  Online giving makes this simple to do—make this a standard part of your fundraising appeals and donation forms. Again, make it easy for your donors to give a recurring donation and clearly show them the impact their ongoing support will have. Need some inspiration? Read 3 Ways to Encourage Monthly Giving.

5. Go mobile. Your cause is already mobile, whether you’re ready or not. A good chunk of your email appeals will be opened on a mobile device this year. Make sure that your donors can give whenever—and wherever—the generous feeling hits.


Do the latest trends in online giving match your experience? How do you plan to invest in online fundraising this year?


posted by: Caryn Stein

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