‘Tis The Season To Give Online

Between gala season, #GivingTuesday, annual appeals, company matching programs, and charity gift-giving, consumers have endless options to spend their money for good. Nonprofits ramp up their fundraising efforts in November and December, tapping into the holiday spirit – with good reason: 38% of those who donate to charity are more likely to give during the holiday season. Some charities and causes make the bulk of their funds by tapping into this philanthropic mood.

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 today happens more and more online – and on very small screens.

How Donors Find Charities

If you’re in development at a nonprofit, do you know how your donors find you?

We do. Increasingly, the whole giving process happens online – straight through to the transaction (but more on that later). 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). International giving campaigns like #GivingTuesday are also gaining momentum and provide a platform for social media users to learn about and give to causes they care about.

In 2015, nonprofit discovery is mobile – one in four donors learned about a new charity, one they’d never seen before, on their mobile device. And it’s social: peer-to-peer giving – when friends inspire or encourage each other to give to a certain charity – increased 70% from 2013 to 2014.

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.

How Donors Decide Where To Give During The Holidays

Today’s 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.

All this research is critical: 81% of donors say that knowing the true, tangible impact of their gift is the most important factor when deciding where to give.

Finesse what donors see when researching your organization. Are you at the top of major web searches for your name? Is your website mobile-friendly? Do you present the information donors want to see? Tell them where their money will go, and why the people you serve need it most. Plucking at their heartstrings doesn’t hurt either.

How Donors Give

Once the decision is made, your donors reach for their preferred method of payment – and these days, 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. Last year, 25% of donors made their gift on a mobile device. 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.

As mobile devices become more and more ubiquitous, developers are making it easier to make payments and transfers with a few finger taps. With apps that save users’ payment information and even encourage repeat donations, “impulse giving” will only increase.

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.

The Story Still Dominates

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

Social media (especially video) is your opportunity to reach donors on a very personal, emotional level, and move them to take action. Using social networks strategically, you can build lasting relationships with your donors, so they hear from you on a regular basis and feel closely connected to the work you do every day. 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…

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.


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