B2B Articles - September 20, 2016

Is Online Fundraising Effective?

There are more donors and donor dollars out there. The Association of Fundraising Professionals reported a 2% gain in net donors from 2014 - 2015 and 5.3% gain in dollars donated in the same period. Nevertheless, those same professionals may be wondering: “Is online fundraising effective?”

Online fundraising is a powerful source of revenue. In fact, 7.1% of overall fundraising revenue, excluding grants, was raised online in 2015, according to Blackbaud’s 2015 Charitable Giving Report. The report also found:

  • Online giving was up 9.2%
  • Mobile device donations were up nearly 14%
  • #GivingTuesday continued to grow in size with a 52% year-over-year increase.

Online giving trends

Why, though, is online fundraising effective?

Online activity allows the nonprofit to efficiently expand its donations and support base. Using the Internet and online fundraising, the nonprofit can reach a much wider audience with less time spent and at a lower cost. The savings from cutting postage alone may motivate moving a funding drive online.

online giving

Number of online donors in the United States in 2015, by number of donations made

Number of online donors in the United States in 2015, by number of donations made. Statistics and data on nonprofit giving trends

Sources: Chronicle of Philanthropy ; Network for Good

Online fundraising can also reduce administrative headaches. The donor information comes in via online transactions as guaranteed funds that are more immediately accessible to the nonprofit. Additionally, the nonprofit staff no longer have to type in donation information or take checks to the bank.

62% of donors worldwide prefer to give online.


Average donation amount in the United States in 2015, ordered by number of donations made

Online donations average amount - Median amount donated by online donors in the United States in 2015, by number of donations made (in U.S. dollars)

The donor database can be more efficiently maintained with online donations. Integrating donor information data directly into an online database, the organization can better identify potential larger donations and personalize follow-up communications accordingly. It becomes easier also to cultivate relationships by updating donors about events, campaign needs, and breaking news.

online giving generations

Related reading: Nonprofit Sector Stats & Trends in the Nonprofit Industry

With online fundraising, using marketing automation and/or a customer relationship management software with a donor-focused website, the nonprofit can more effectively nurture one-time small donators into recurring monthly donations. Recurring donations are beneficial as they enable efficient planning, tend to be larger donations and engage more loyal givers. Fundraising websites need to be optimized for sustainability and donor lead nurturing.

“We are now past the mobile tipping point when it comes to digital giving….Nonprofits must continue to invest and perfect how they engage donors using the right channel on the right device at the right time.” — Blackbaud

The online donor database, too, can help engage staff in more creative, nimble use of data. More frequent data reviews can provide deeper insight into donor demographics, giving patterns, interests, affiliations and annual giving level. When this data is captured in an online tool search functionality is enhanced with the ability too to track trends and gather insights that can drive action regarding campaign approach or preferred giving channels and more.

Related reading: Nonprofit Marketing KPIs — Metrics That Matter

Overall, online fundraising enables nonprofits to operate more efficiently at lower cost, to nurture small donors into advocates while recognizing large donors personally, and to grow the base of support and reach of the donor campaign.

Looking for insights into better-exploiting email campaigns in nonprofit fundraising initiatives? Keep an eye out for a coming blog addressing email as a foundational relationship-building tool.
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The Association of Fundraising Professionals. (n.d.). 2016 Fundraising Effectiveness Survey Report. https://afpfep.org/reports/
Blackbaud. (2016). Charitable Giving Report: How Nonprofit Fundraising Performed in 2015. https://www.blackbaudhq.com/corpmar/cgr/how-nonprofit-fundraising-performed-in-2015.pdf
Nonprofit Tech for Good. (2016). 2016 Global NGO Online Technology Report. https:// www.techreport.ngo/
Online Fundraising: Cost Effectiveness of Online Fundraising in Reaching New Donors. (n.d.). https://home.nps.gov/partnerships/online_cost_effectiveness.htm
Chronicle of Philanthropy ; Network for Good, Release date: January 2016

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