The Agitator has released the third and fourth in its new series of DonorTrends White Papers, based on our proprietary donor survey research. These papers, both dealing with online fundraising, are available only as a benefit for subscribers to The Agitator’s new Premium Service.

Our first two White Papers dealt with generational trends and differences in giving.

Our third paper is titled Online Giving: Postage Still Dominates … But Mouse Gaining. It examines online giving habits across three generations of US donors: Seniors – born before 1946; Boomers – born 1946-1964; and Newbies – born after 1964.

Mouse Gaining identifies a variety of factors and trends that have significant fundraising implications, for example:

  • online giving is accelerating across all generations, including Seniors, and for all types of giving – charities, issue advocacy, and political;
  • education level is the primary driver of online giving;
  • online giving is “democratizing” as more and more people become comfortable with the medium;
  • major donors are the heavy users of online giving; and,
  • online giving seems to have special appeal with non-Caucasians.

At the same time, our DonorTrends results confirm the continuing dominance of direct mail as the giving vehicle of first choice. Donors have higher resistance to online solicitation than to direct mail. But, an important distinction, this significant level of resistance to online solicitation does not mean that donors are opposed to online giving. The documented dollar growth in online giving is undeniable.

Our fourth paper is called Online Giving 3.0 … New Approaches for Early Adopters.

Not content to linger over refining their email fundraising campaigns and improving their website “Donate” processes and pages, many nonprofits have begun to experiment with newer platforms and tools for online fundraising. Prime examples include use of personal and institutional pages on social networks like Facebook and MySpace, building donor relationships through blogging, using online videos, and offering personal fundraising “buttons” or widgets as tools to encourage individual fundraising campaigns by existing donors.

Based on our DonorTrends survey data, Online Giving 3.0 concludes that while e-consultants and in-house techies are enamored with these opportunities, they remain for now just that … opportunities, just beginning to gain traction, especially with older, traditional donors.

Our analysis shows that Newbies are far more likely than Seniors, and even Boomers, to engage in each of the "Giving 3.0" activities surveyed. No real surprise there. But even among Newbies, these activities are engaged in “frequently” by very few donors. Collectively, the opportunities of "Giving 3.0" do represent a new kind of engagement with your supporters, a new level of relationship-building personalization, and a huge potential for improving donor retention.

Both White Papers include our recommendations for how to seize the opportunities that online fundraising offers, while keeping in perspective the continuing strength of direct mail, the importance of integrating fundraising channels, and the nascent state of donor adoption of "Giving 3.0" tools and platforms.

Here’s where you can subscribe to The Agitator Premium Service, which includes your copies of all DonorTrends White Papers.


P.S. We’ll soon be releasing two more DonorTrends White Papers – both on donor loyalty and retention. These also will be available only to Premium Service subscribers.

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This article was posted in: DonorTrends / DonorVoice, Nonprofit management, Online fundraising and marketing, Research, Social media.
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