Dec 1, 2014
Online donation forms are one of the most valuable tools nonprofits have at their disposal. The Internet allows you to reach a greater number of potential contributors at once, but it can be a challenge to stand out from other organizations.
The Web has dramatically increased people's access to information, which may make donors more aware of certain causes. With the rate at which social media users share articles, you may encounter information on a cause without even looking for it. While this can benefit nonprofits, it can make marketing efforts difficult because there's more competition, according to npENGAGE. In addition, contributors can use Internet research to ensure they are giving to responsible organizations that put the majority of their donations toward their missions.
Giving Tuesday and the rise of online fundraising
Online donations represent one of nonprofits' biggest opportunities to increase revenue. Citing data from Blackbaud, Forbes reported that total charitable giving rose by 4.9 percent in 2013. This was the largest growth since the recession. However, online contributions jumped by 13.5 percent. Even though some charities may have been skeptical about getting involved with Internet fundraising, it's clear this channel is here to stay. Online giving displayed double-digit growth in 2012 as well. Although digital gifts have fluctuated up and down, it's expected to be important in the near future.
In fact, smaller nonprofits experienced greater growth in digital fundraising. These groups saw an increase of 18.4 percent, compared to 12.7 percent in larger organizations. Specific events, such as the Boston Marathon bombing, led to a spike in online gifts. Giving Tuesday, the international day of online charity, has been gaining popularity and increasing people's awareness of certain causes. Many nonprofits are collaborating with for-profit companies to take advantage of their larger audiences.
Similar to how Black Friday is considered the start of the holiday shopping season, Giving Tuesday is seen as the end-of-year campaign kickoff. The event started in 2012, and gifts increased by 90 percent in 2013, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, citing a separate report from Blackbaud. This could be a positive sign for this year. The average gift size grew last year as well, rising 40 percent from $101.60 in 2012 to $142.05.
Millennials are driving growth in online fundraising
Much has been made about Generation Y and its charitable giving habits. Because millennials grew up with technology, they are very comfortable with online donations and are responsible for a great deal of the growth in this channel. As this age group continues to enter the workforce, they will have a stronger impact on charities. Members of Gen Y use the Internet and social media to research causes, and they may make a gift immediately if nonprofits have the right technology in place.
There are countless opportunities to increase donations through the Internet. As more people become comfortable with this channel, nonprofits may see even more growth from their websites.