11 Fascinating Facts About Online Fundraising | npENGAGE

11 Fascinating Facts About Online Fundraising That Will Inspire You to Action

By on Nov 16, 2012


Is your nonprofit raising money on its website?

I’m guessing the answer is yes. Most nonprofits are now days. Having a simple donation form and a “donate now” button is commonplace. You know what I’m talking about – The big red/green/orange button in the upper right section of your homepage.

But did you know that only 6% of all funds are raised online. That’s right – only 6%. Direct mail, special events and other forms of raising money account for much more of the total funds raised.

Why so much focus on raising money online then?

That’s a great question … one that I’m hoping the 11 fascinating facts about online fundraising I’ve listed below will help you find an answer to.

Online Giving Continues to Grow

Direct mail still rules in the fundraising world, but online fundraising continues to grow. Since 2009 most nonprofit sectors have seen double-digit growth in online fundraising. Watch your back direct mail! If you let online fundraising continue to grow at this rate you’ll be out of a job soon.

Online Giving Growth Since 2009

Online Giving Grew by 13.1% Year Over Year

Nonprofits have figured out how to boost online fundraising results. From 2010 to 2011 fundraising via the Internet grew by just over 13%. Not to shabby if you ask me. Now, the caveat to this growth is that large international affairs organizations saw a large drop off in online donations due to the spike they had in 2010 when the earthquake devastated Haiti.

Year Over Year Online Giving Growth

Online Giving Accounts for 6.3% of Total Giving

Although online giving only accounts for 6.3% of total giving it’s an important channel for more than just raising funds. The web is a great channel for acquiring new donors who are younger and have higher net worth. Don’t be deceived by the seemingly small number.

See below for more insight into why online donor acquisition should be an important part of every nonprofits strategy.

Total Fundraising From Online GIving

Double Digit Online Giving Growth Year Over Year

While the average growth in online giving was just above 13% it’s important to point out the fact that a few nonprofit sectors saw even greater growth. Both K-12 and higher education saw 21% and 26.3% respectively. That’s pretty impressive.

Int'l Affairs Takes and Online Fundraising Hit

End of Year Giving Still Dominates

Despite the fact that fundraising can happen online 24/7 365 days a year, end-of-year giving accounts for 34.8% of online giving (Q4) and December represents 20.3% of the total. What’s interesting to notice here is the mid-year revenue spikes created by certain types of nonprofits who have unique situations.

End of fiscal year, special events, big anniversaries, disaster relief and many other things can contribute to mid-year spikes in online fundraising. I’d encourage every nonprofit to figure out a way to generate revenue throughout the year rather than depending on the giving season.

End Of Year Giving Rocks

Donors Are Getting More Comfortable Giving Online

A few years back folks made the claim that people wouldn’t give big gifts online, but that’s becoming more and more untrue as the Internet matures. The largest gift given in 2011 was $260,000.00 and over 87% of nonprofits had at least one gift of $1,000.00 or more. People are comfortable giving online. Simple as that.

Thousand Dollar Donations Do Exist Online

Online Fundraising Isn’t Just for Kids

Another common misconception is that folks online are younger. Although that may be generally true it isn’t stopping 30-60 year olds from giving their first gift on the web. As you can see in the data below, in 2010 more 25-64 year olds gave their first gift online vs. giving it offline. The 65+ stuck to offline sources as expected.

Online Giving Isn't Just For Kids

Online Donors Actually Give Offline

All this talk about online giving might be making you sick by now, but rest assured direct mail is still alive an well. As a matter of fact, online donors actually give offline gifts when they renew. It might seem counter intuitive, but it’s true.

Direct mail and the Internet go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Online Donors Give Offline Too

Moving Online Donors to Offline Giving Matters

Peanut butter and jelly is right. You can’t have one without the other when it comes to online giving and direct mail. Take a look at the data below. If someone gives their first gift online, but isn’t converted to a direct mail donor in subsequent years their chance of being retained goes way down.

MultiChannel Fundraising A Must For Retention

Online Donors are Worth More

Are you getting the point here? Direct mail is the key to retaining online donors and the secret sauce to increasing lifetime value. If you can get someone to give their first gift online and then move them to an offline giving channel you increase their lifetime value by close two and a half times that of a donor who is originally acquired via direct mail.

If I were running a development office I’d be seriously considering ways to grow my online fundraising efforts while creating a very active direct mail follow up and cultivation strategy.


Social Fundraising is Unproven

We couldn’t leave without mentioning social media. It’s all the rage, right?

The thing about social media is that by it self it’s not a great fundraising vehicle. As you can see below, not many have raised over $10,000.00 via social media. Check out our social media fundraising report for more insights.

Social Fundraising Alone Stinks

Grab the presentation slides …

Including tips on how to grow and improve your online fundraising efforts! You can download the .pdf version of the slides here and/or listen to the recording on YouTube.

[slideshare id=15197763&doc=hotornot-fundraisingin2012-121115160814-phpapp02]


Frank Barry, formerly worked at Blackbaud helping nonprofits use the Internet for digital communication, social media, and fundraising. He’s worked with a diverse group of organizations including LIVESTRONG, United Methodist Church, American Heart Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters, ChildFund Int’l, InTouch Ministries, Heifer Int’l, University of Notre Dame and University of Richmond. Along with writing for industry publications like Mashable and Social Media Today, Frank facilitates discussions, presents solo sessions and organizes panels for industry conferences such as NTC, SXSW, BBCon and numerous others. When he’s out and about he enjoys talking to interesting people about how they are changing the world – check out his interviews. Say Hi on Twitter – @franswaa or Google+