Last year, our inaugural mobile study was launched with a bang when we discovered that 10% of donors gave on mobile devices during the 2014 giving season. This year, we’ve done another deep analysis of 2015 mobile giving across 249K online gifts and 1,193 small and medium-sized organizations. The results were even more surprising this time.

Between November 1st and December 3 of 2015, mobile donations climbed to 14%. That means that in one short year, mobile giving increased 45% from the 2014 giving season to the 2015 season. 

Moreover, 14% of donations were mobile throughout last year, which means that 1 in 7 donors were on a handheld or tablet device in 2015. We also discovered that the number of mobile donors giving on handheld devices was equal or greater than donors on tablets during 2015, which is a shift from 2014 when iPad dominated mobile giving.

Graphic: Summary of mobile donation stats for 2015
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Why the steep increase in mobile giving for 2015?

There are three big trends likely playing into the dramatic increase.

  1. Mobile devices continued to proliferate
    By end of 2015, 64% of Americans own a smart phone, 45% own a tablet, and 36% own a smartphone, tablet, and desktop computer. Wow! And those numbers only surge with education and income. Increasingly, you and your donors are switching between multiple devices.
  1. More donors feeling more comfortable doing more complex mobile tasks
    I find this fascinating. Mobile device ownership has steeply climbed for five years, but desktop and laptop ownership is flat. Your donors are increasingly relying on their mobile devices over more traditional computers to do tasks beyond content surfing, email, and social media. Case in point: mobile online purchases climbed to 26% by November of 2015.
  1. A mobile-friendlier web for everyone
    Mashable giddily declared 2012 the year of responsive design, but progress hasn’t always been fast enough. However, in early 2015, the web got a sharp kick in the pants when Google changed it’s search algorithm to favor mobile-friendly websites. The impact was immediate as 5% of websites became more mobile friendly within the first two months. The whole web is adopting responsive experiences, so individuals are not feeling the need to switch to desktop for better experiences as often. This “tide rising all the boats” effect is certainly impacting mobile donations.

Some other notable findings…

Mobile donor behavior still evolving

In 2014, iPad was the dominate device at 61% of all devices used but dropped to 43% in 2015.  iPhone mobile gifts climbed from 30% to 42% and also Android from 8% to 14%.

That’s an important indicator that more and more donors are staying on their handheld device when they hit your donation form instead of switching to their tablet, desktop, or laptop. So much so, that handheld devices could conceivably become the most dominate device for mobile giving in the near future.

All of this only underscores the continued importance of a responsive design, since an unresponsive site might still work clumsily on a tablet device but will likely bomb completely on a handheld.

Graphic: Mobile devices used for online donations in 2015

Where did we get the data for study?

We measured 1,193 small and medium-sized nonprofits all using Blackbaud Online Express. The websites were managed across a variety of publishing platforms such as WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla. We analyzed 249K donations and 95K event registrations captured between January 1st of 2015 and December 31st of 2015. All of the embedded fundraising forms were responsive even when the nonprofit’s website was not.

Teaser image: 14% of donations mobile in 2015

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brandon Granger is a Senior Interaction Designer at Blackbaud for Online Express, MobilePay, Friends Asking Friends, NetCommunity, and other products. Brandon has been crafting user experiences for the web and mobile apps for nonprofits for 15+ years. He has a passion for user research, usability testing, high-fidelity prototyping, responsive design, mobile design, and web accessibility. Brandon graduated from the University of North Texas with an undergraduate degree in Film Studies. You can follow him at @bkgranger.

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