Online giving grew by double-digits in 2013

Economic troubles in the U.S. over the past few years have led to a tightening of personal finances. Once charitable individuals have been forced to lower their gift amounts and in many cases people have had to stop giving altogether. However, a new report recently revealed that contributions in 2013 grew to the highest they've been since 2008.

According to research, a Forbes article confirms, charitable giving in the U.S. rose by 4.9 percent last year, and by 5 percent for organizations bringing in more than $10 million in annual fundraising revenue. Forbes explains that a large portion of the growth can be attributed to specific, galvanizing events, like the destructive storms in the Midwest and the Boston Marathon bombings. As expected, there were also significant gains as the year came to an end, with donations being bolstered by the holidays.

The power of the Internet
There were many areas of particularly impressive growth, and none more so than the rise in online contributions. The report found that for the second year in a row, revenue gains from Internet fundraising were in the double-digits. Web efforts boasted an overall growth rate of 13.5 percent, making accepting donations online an even more lucrative strategy than it already is.

If your nonprofit doesn't offer existing and potential contributors some sort of online donation form, then it's in your best interest to start. As research suggests, online fundraising is valuable strategy. But, what's more, it's affordable, not difficult to learn and it can introduce your organization and your mission to audiences far beyond your immediate area.

Build your site
According to a study from the Ipsos Social Research institute, public confidence in charities has risen over the past few years. When researchers asked subjects to rate their trust for nonprofit organizations on a scale of 1 to 10, 73 percent of the respondents gave a rating of 6. Compared to the early 2000s​, this number is up. However, there is still considerable amount of distrust among the public, which is why building a professional-style website is crucial to maintaining a solid online presence.

Your website doesn't have to be the greatest thing on the Internet, but it needs to stand out as a clear, clean, well-made website that offers visitors information about your organization and mission, links to your social media pages, a portal for accepting online donations – a must – and, if you can, be sure to include photos and videos to help tell your group's story.

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