Online Giving: Is Your Organization Keeping Up?
According to the Giving USA Foundation report, Americans gave more than $358 billion to charity last year. This means last year was the highest year ever for donations in the United States.
In the past decade, giving as a percentage of GDP has remained relatively tight, between a low of 1.9 percent in 2010 to 2.1 percent last year. GDP has been rising since the recession, so this translates into more overall giving.
This is good news for fundraising organizations, particularly those who are skilled at soliciting donations from individuals (in contrast to gifts from corporations or foundations). Most of the increase in giving from 2013 to 2014 was due to an increase in gifts from individuals—58 percent of the total change, or $14 billion, was due to increases in gifts from individuals.
You may have heard about some of the higher profile individual gifts. What’s interesting is that The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s Top 10 List is changing, as our economy is changing, to include young technology entrepreneurs and their families.
In 2013 the single largest gift was made by a couple under the age of 30: Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan donated almost $1 billion in Facebook stock. Last year, Nicholas Woodman and his wife Jill, both in their late 30s and founders of GoPro, were No. 3 on the list with their gift of $500 million. No. 5 on the list was Larry Page, the 41-year-old Google co-founder, who donated more than $175 million.
How does this relate to online giving? The most significant portion of online gifts are those from individuals. Blackbaud’s 2014 Charitable Giving Report found that online giving grew almost five times faster than overall giving, which grew at 2.1 percent, while online giving grew at 8.9 percent.
The report also concluded that online gifts represented approximately 6.7 percent of overall fundraising revenue, excluding grants. Smaller organizations, defined as those raising less than $1 million per year, grew their online giving at over 10 percent, and larger groups grew online giving at 8 percent.
Compare this to your online fundraising totals. Are you around the 7 percent mark? Are you growing your online fundraising by 8 percent to 10 percent compared to last year?
Some of the organizations I work with—particularly those with pledge-based special events—are much higher than this. The key is that you are measuring your online gifts as a portion of your overall gifts, and you are seeing healthy growth from last year to this year.
Speaking about those young wealthy tech entrepreneurs: You may be not be courting a couple with the resources of Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, but you likely have your local version of this. When they visit your website on their smartphone, will they be impressed?
If you are still struggling with your mobile website, make sure to add something to your summer reading list. Google has published a new resource called “Principles of Mobile Site Design.” It’s worth checking out given how important your mobile website is going to be in the future.
Philip King is founder of The Donation Funnel Project, an experiment in online and mobile fundraising. He is a regular contributor to NonProfit PRO.