Nearly two-thirds of Americans plan to give online to charities in November and December, and their donations could exceed $4-billion, $1-billion more than they donated during the holiday season last year
A new study conducted by Forrester’s Technographics® on behalf of Convio, reveals that in the US more than 63% of online consumers plan to use the Internet to donate to charities of their choice during the upcoming holiday season, up from 51% in 2008. Nearly 6 out of 10 people surveyed plan to give the same amount or more, while the current state of the economy will lead 23 percent to give less to charity this holiday season. A full 20 percent are still undecided about the size of their gifts as we enter the final four weeks of the holiday giving season. While 65 percent of the survey respondents have delayed spending on non-essential consumer products this season, their support for charities remains high.
Other survey highlights show that:
- Charity websites have the biggest influence on the online consumer’s donation decision (44 percent), followed by “word of mouth” (40 percent);
- Email and direct mail from the organization have virtually the same amount of influence on the decision to give at 27 percent and 28 percent respectively;
- For nearly 25 percent of the respondents what family and friends say on social media and in personal emails influences the charities they support;
- More than half of those surveyed (56 percent) think nonprofits have made it easier to donate online, while less than half (46 percent) think that charity websites make it easy to find the information they need to make a giving decision;
- When it comes to taking action 39 percent of online consumers report making an online donation after visiting a charity site, while more than half shared their email address, registered for an enewsletter or otherwise opened the door to a relationship with the nonprofit, and
- In addition to their online preference, today’s online consumer gives through a multitude of channels as 61 percent report mailing a check (most, after checking the website), 38 percent gave at an event, 17 percent used the Internet to sponsor a friend or family member in a run, walk or ride, while 16 percent responded to a phone call in addition to their personal online giving.
“Regardless of the size of the gift or the final method of payment consumers are going to charity website and using technology to learn about and engage with charities,” added Convio’s CEO Gene Austin. “With consumer dollars being tight and the competition for donations growing, online marketing and fundraising continues to grow in importance for donors and organizations alike. It is clear that online giving has joined traditional channels as mission-critical part of the giving mix and successful organizations are investing accordingly in their online relationships. If it is difficult for donors or prospects to find information and give to your organization online consumers will find an alternative.”
Based on the survey, results from the Convio client community and reported historic results from other industry studies, Convio analysts are able to estimate that those consumers will donate more than $4 billion online during the holiday season (November 1 through December 31, 2009). As a result, nonprofits need to make sure that their efforts to attract supporters via their website and other electronic communication mediums are inspiring, engaging and move people to support their organization.
“When you look at what consumers are saying, nonprofits need to make sure that their website is optimized to tell their story, explain why giving is important, make sure the user experience matches consumer needs, then make giving easy and secure,” explained Austin. “By making every email count and incorporating compelling content the nonprofit can also reach and engage people in support of their organization. Finally, empower your supporters. Word of mouth, through both traditional face-to-face engagement and online has a powerful influence on the actions consumers take. Providing eCards, enabling supporters to personally raise funds and share their support through their social media networks can extend the charities reach and the number of consumers willing to support them.”