Give a Little More…We’re Talking Average Online Gifts | npENGAGE

Give a Little More…We’re Talking Average Online Gifts

By on Mar 28, 2014


Last week, I was talking with a customer sharing ideas for increasing their event revenue. One idea was to increase the average online gift. I shared that if they increased their average gift by $2 that would generate $3 million in new revenue. A small increase garnered big results. The next logical question was asked “how do you increase the online average gift?” That’s a fabulous question. Are you ready to tackle it?

On April 16th, we’ll be releasing our annual Peer to Peer Fundraising Study and hosting a webinar to discuss our favorite findings. I always look forward to annual Study, but this year we’ve added a ton of new metrics to tell us more about P2P fundraising events. In this year’s Study, we’re able show several new views including: three-year trend for average online gift.

Here’s a preview.

The chart below shows the average online gift for the four event types featured in the Study. As you can see the average online gift has been steadily growing year over year. This tells me donors are willing to give more. So how do you get them to give more?

online gift

Let’s first start with who should give more? When first looking at this chart, you’re probably thinking I need to start messaging $62 dollars to get my Walk donors to give more. If I message the average I’ll increase revenue. But, that’s actually not the number you want to message.

Averages are a combination of lots of little gifts and a few large gifts. To increase your average gift you want to get the big group of $10 and $20 donors to give more; but $62 is probably too big a leap. Here’s what you do, find your mode online gift – the mode is the most common number. I’m fairly certain that your mode for a Walk or 5k is around $25. It’s also helpful to know your median gift – the median is the true middle. Often the mode and median tend to be the same.

To increase your average online gift, you’ll want to get your largest population of donors to give a little more.

How do you do this? Make it easy for these donors. Pick an amount that will make an impact, but make sure it’s not too big – you don’t want to intimidate donors.

I like 3’s. How about $35? Now that we have an amount, let’s talk about how you present the ask. Influencing donor behavior isn’t just about asking for $35, but you must ask. I often look at the standard text on a personal page and there’s no ask. Personal pages are the most visited pages, make these high traffic pages work for you.

It’s not all about asking for a donation amount. You can make subtle decisions in your email and web design to influence behavior. For example, if you want people to give $35 then use images of three people, group buttons together in threes, develop messaging around the number three in email templates you provide to your participants. Donors will already be thinking three before they get to the donation form.

Make sense? I know you’ll want to message the average gift is $62 so please give $62. But, getting a donor who’s comfortable giving $25 to give $62 is a big leap – and maybe a little unrealistic.

Do me a favor and try this exercise. Run a donor report and find your mode gift – what is percent of donors giving that amount? 50%? If you can get half of your mode donors to give $10 more – what would that be? I’m willing to bet it would be a significant increase.

Get ready the Peer to Peer Fundraising Study is coming to an inbox near you on April 16th! Join me and fundraising favorite Nancy Palo on April 16th as we share a few of our favorite things! We’re not talking rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens, but we will be talking about self donations, good fundraisers, great fundraisers, returning participants and more!


Amy Braiterman, principal strategy consultant at Blackbaud, supports customers with their peer-to-peer fundraising events with a process she refers to as “data-driven strategy.” Amy’s data driven strategy analyzes how effective event participants are using online fundraising tools and takes those results to develop an event fundraising plan. Prior to joining Blackbaud, Amy earned her fundraising stripes managing events for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Alzheimer’s Association and Share Our Strength. She shares her fundraising know how here on npENGAGE, by hosting educational webinars and speaking at customer conferences

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