Power Shift: Succeeding Online in a Donor Centric World
Whether it be channel preferences, communication approaches or donor expectations, the fundraising landscape is changing.
In his session, "Power Shift: Succeeding Online in a Donor Centric World," at Fund Raising Day in New York 2009 earlier this month, Vinay Bhagat, founder, chairman and chief strategy officer at Convio, discussed the myriad ways fundraising is transforming and keys to fundraising success amidst the transformations.
Bhagat began by breaking down channel preferences according to four main generational groups:
- Core grassroots donors (older) — Channel preferences are direct mail and telemarketing; occasionally use Web and e-mail.
- Boomers (the next big wave) — They are multichannel donors, many of whom prefer to give online and use the Web at work and home.
- Gen X (emerging donors) — "The Web generation" will only give online; generally not direct mail or telemarketing responsive.
- Gen Y (future donors) — The social media and mobile generation. These donors don't have land lines and rarely check personal e-mail.
On top of the shift of grassroots fundraising to the Web, Bhagat noted that channels such as mobile marketing and social networks are proliferating and, with them, communication approaches. In this environment, Bhagat said, channel integration is a must, as online engagement has been found to improve annual donor value and retention rates even if donors continue to give via direct mail.
"Multichannel donors give the most and are the most loyal," he said.
As for major donors in cyberspace, Bhagat pointed to "The Wired Wealthy" study his company did along with Sea Change Strategies and Edge Research, which found that 86 percent of wealthy donors visit a nonprofit Web site before making a gift online.
New-donor expectations also are changing, becoming elevated by sites like Kiva that are much more transparent about how donated money is used than typical nonprofits and consumer marketing, and that offer customers the flexibility to opt into lower communications frequencies.