Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Wired Wealthy and Online Giving - A New Study Provides a Fresh Analysis

Whenever I write about anything related to fundraising I always begin with the disclaimer that I am NOT a fundraising consultant. However, I do blog about online giving in particular because I see it to be an important and growing trend that many nonprofits have not effectively tapped into. Today's Chronicle of Philanthropy reports on results of an interesting study of wealthy people giving online.

This post summarizes the results of this survey of over 3400 donors who had made gifts of at least $1,000 to a single cause in the past 18 months and donated an average of more than $10,896 per year to charities. 64% of the donors were age 45 to 64, and 57% had incomes of at least $100,000. 23 nonprofits participated by providing contact information for the study.

Here are some highlights of the results:
81% had made an online donation
51% preferred donating online
46% expect to increase the percentage of their giving online

56% say they get too many emails from charities
92% like getting year-end tax receipts by e-mail
83% want to get electronic updates on a charity’s finances and spending
81% dislike messages that take an urgent tone in seeking a repeat donation

The study put people into categories: Relationship Seekers, All-Business, and Casual Connectors. Although all groups are well educated, have good incomes and use the Internet for purchases, banking and other important transactions, their needs and what they respond to is very different.

Relationship seekers want to have a way to be emotionally connected to your organization. They will look for that emotional connection on your website and are much more likely to view a video than those in other groups.

The All-Business group is interested in a well organized website with an easy donation on line process and recognition. They like getting a tax receipt online at year end. They are not interested in reading all the interesting stuff on your website.

The Casual Connectors group is in the middle. They would like to get a thank you and annual report via email. They may do some research other than your website about your organization but they are not really emotionally connected and not really interested in monthly emails.

Another interesting finding - Most online givers thought of the process as efficient for them and for the nonprofit. They are not bothered at all by the 4-5% processing fee. People like to get the donation done when it is fresh in their mind. These givers also noted the benefit in rewards on credit cards as a plus over writing a check.

There is an important lesson to be learned here in addition to "Isn't this an interesting set of statistics?" It may be a good idea to tailor communication with large online donors according to their interests. Some smaller nonprofits I know obsess over written communications with donors who make $1000+ donations. They think it is important that the thank you be hand addressed and never use a label. They may include a hand written note in addition to the typed formal thank you. But we all seem to think that when it comes to email one size fits all is all right.

Why not provide an email thank you with a brief survey and find out what the $1000+ online donors want from you via email - Monthly newsletter, event notices, annual report, tax receipt, etc. Then tailor you correspondence with your online donors to meet their needs. Hmmmmm.....Just a thought.......

Click here for more information...click through for a copy of the full report.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy

Marion Conway Consulting

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