By now you’ve probably heard—online is a thing. It’s a big thing. As consumers, we are always connected.

Does this sound like you?

After hitting snooze on your mobile phone alarm 3 times you roll over and check your Outlook inbox, your Gmail inbox, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You get sidetracked by that old high school friend who seems suspiciously happy in her new relationship. You think to yourself – “Oh come on, you don’t have to show every single teensy tiny thing that man does!” Ooh look at that video of brownies stuffed with Oreos and drizzled with chocolate sauce…

OK, OK, time to drive to my first appointment. “Siri, give me directions to Central Coffee Shop.” You drive along listening to your latest Audible book as it plays through your car’s speakers connected via Bluetooth…

You get the point. There is no longer much in our lives that goes unplugged.

So, let’s make one thing clear – your donors’ lives aren’t either. In fact, the data on giving state this very clearly. In the recent 2015 Charitable Giving Report by Blackbaud, the numbers reveal that, while overall giving in the United States went up by 1.6%, online grew by 9.2% in 2015 compared to 2014. That’s impressive.

Charitable Giving Report

Charitable Giving Report

What’s even more impressive? Consumers spend 7.4% of total retail sales online, matching donor behavior almost to a T—the study found that online giving represents 7.1% of all giving. You should not only expect the same behavior from your donors as we do of consumers, but you’d also better build an experience like they have come to expect in the market!

We often think of our donors as forgiving of our less-than-seamless experience because, hey, we’re a nonprofit – not a major corporation with tons of marketing dollars. Wrong. Just try making another fundraising ask of a donor before you send a thank you and you’ll learn how little they forgive that kind of faux pas. Even Boomers, the largest cohort of donors, have gotten into the act. According to the Next Generation of American Giving, 42% of those aged 49 to 67 now give online.

Instead, take a lesson out of the commercial market playbook and build an experience that caters to your constituents, not you. The report also shows that 14% of all online donations were made on a mobile device in 2015. So, hold yourself accountable to the technological reality of the market today. Think of how you can build a web experience with your supporters’ habits in mind. And, when Amazon says, “Welcome back Ashley, here are some things ’Related to Items You’ve Viewed‘ and some items ’Inspired by Your Wish List,’” you’d better take notes.

Download your copy of the full report for free here or check out the full infographic here.


Ashley Thompson is the senior marketing manager of communications at Blackbaud. She is the Editor of npENGAGE magazine as well as driving many of the company’s extensive benchmarking reports and best practice guides. She also manages some of the company’s greatest relationships such as the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) International and stays involved locally in Austin through board service with AFP’s Greater Austin Chapter and as a Social Venture Partner through Mission Capital. Connect with her on Twitter at @EttaMT or on LinkedIn.

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