Digital giving options reduce fundraising overhead

Recent studies analyzing trends in online and mobile donations indicate more organizations are embracing online donation tools to reach contributors at reduced costs. As more individuals rely on mobile devices and digital communication throughout their daily tasks, it is only natural that nonprofit campaigns migrate to online platforms to offer more convenient forms of giving.

Online giving trends
According to the Network For Good's Digital Giving Index, 65 percent of people gave to nonprofits online in 2012, compared to just 4 percent in 2002. This past year, $163 million donations were submitted via digital donation pages to 40,000 charities worldwide. Breaking down online giving based on digital platform, the study revealed:

  • Generic donation pages collected an average gift of $95 and accounted for 8 percent of overall giving in 2012
  • Branded donation pages averaged a gift size of $127 and made up 59 percent of overall giving

  • Portal donation pages reported an average gift size of $113 to account for 12 percent of overall giving
  • Social donation channels averaged a gift of $67 per donation to make up 13 percent of overall giving

Comparing donations between 2011 and 2012, the research showed:

  • Overall giving increased 18 percent, while portal giving remain stagnant

  • Generic donation pages increased activity by 4 percent
  • Branded donation pages saw a 20 percent jump in usage as more donors sought direct transactions from a nonprofit's website

  • Social donation channels enjoyed a 21 percent bump in gifts, driven by giving events and peer-to-peer campaigns

Benefits in overall costs
Many nonprofits are not only enjoying the high response rates to online donation pages, but also reaping the benefits associated with digital platforms compared to traditional fundraising protocol. After deploying an online donation page, many organizations report reduced overhead costs even when hosting the same style of fundraiser that has been offered in the past.

The Mizzou Dance Marathon held annually at the University of Missouri, for example, was able to lower its overhead costs for the highly-anticipated event while still increasing contributions from the year prior. In 2013, the dance marathon collected $170,396.56 in donations and $13,780.23 in expenses, for an overall gain of $156,607.43 for the year. In 2012, nearly $19,000 of donations was lost to overhead costs and unnecessary expenses, accounting for almost 25 percent of total amount raised. The fundraiser decided to revamp its donation channels to funnel all gifts to a single source, as well as make it easier for donors to submit gifts online before and after the event was held. Using an online donation page ensured all money raised was sent directly to the charity, preventing planners from dipping into gifts to pay for event expenses.

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