‘Tis The Season To Give Online

Between the gala season, #GivingTuesday, annual appeals, company matching programs, and charity gift-giving, consumers have endless options to spend their money for good.

This isn’t anything new, but the holiday giving scene certainly does look different in the digital age! From learning about charities to researching them and finally making donations, philanthropy now happens more and more online – and on smaller screens.


Increasingly, the whole giving process happens online – straight through to the transaction. It starts when donors read an article about a charity, or see one of their connections posting about it, or view an online ad, or get pulled into a viral campaign (like the ALS Foundation’s hugely successful Ice Bucket Challenge in the summer of 2014).

Here are some top tips to attract donors:

  • Make sure your most likely donors will find your nonprofit while using a mobile device.Within 24 hours, 40% of donors will do more research (also on their smartphones) and decide to give. And then they share your charity on their favorite social network, inspiring their friends to do their own research and donate.
  • Make it easy for donors to give online, and especially on mobile devices. Make it clear exactly where to go and what steps to take to complete a donation. They should be able to easily input credit card information and get a receipt – and then share their benevolence (and a link to your organization’s branded donation page) on social networks.
  • Social media (especially video) is your opportunity to reach donors on a very personal, emotional level, and move them to take action.
  • Show them the impact of their gift, the services you provide and the people you serve. This visual, tangible connection can inspire them to become a bigger part of your mission, to give more and to give more often, and to be a lifelong supporter of your cause.


Consumers have almost infinite access to information, literally at their fingertips. And they use it. 75% of donors turn to online resources to learn more about a charity. The top two sources are web searches and nonprofit websites.

This decision is social, too. Donors ask friends, consult their networks; internet users can directly contact and build relationships with someone in a community served by their charity of choice, anywhere in the world. They compare reviews of different charities; they check resources like CharityNavigator to find out how much of their donation will actually provide services.


Once the decision is made, your donors reach for their preferred method of payment – and it isn’t a checkbook. Online giving is growing three times as fast as overall giving. Text message gifts are still fairly popular, used by almost one-tenth of donors worldwide. Branded giving pages remain the most popular and most successful in gathering donations, bringing in the highest average gift and the most dollars raised overall.


One thing hasn’t changed: for nonprofits competing for donations, the story is the most powerful tool.

Leaving you to do what you do best: save the world.

Call GillespieHall to learn how we can help you capture the attention of your donors year-round.

This blog was originally published in November, 2017. It has been republished.

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