Strengthening Your Online Presence: Now is the Time
The shift online
As direct mail-based fundraising has become less effective, online fundraising has grown significantly. According to The Pew Charitable Trusts, 75 percent of all Americans are now online at home or at work. According to The Online Marketing (eCRM) Nonprofit Benchmark Index Study, published by Convio in 2008, the median online revenue growth rate across sectors was just more than 26 percent from the first half of 2006 to the first half of 2007, with some sectors, namely environment and wildlife, visitation (museums, zoos/aquariums and performing arts) and higher education growing at more than 50 percent.
Much of the online fundraising growth has come from new, younger donors. Online donors are typically 15 years younger than direct-mail donors. In addition, usable e-mail files grew 32 percent in the same period, showing that nonprofits are successfully developing online prospect lists for future supporters. A first-of-its-kind national survey conducted for Convio by JupiterResearch, a Forrester Research company, shows that of the 175.6 million online adults (age 18+) in the U.S., more than half (51 percent) plan to donate to charities during the upcoming holiday season.
If there is a silver lining in the economic cloud, it is that consumers and nonprofits are aligning around the online channel. Given its growth, it is imperative that nonprofits invest appropriately in the online channel to realize its full potential. In fact, according to the Direct Marketing Association, nonprofits are on average growing their online marketing spend four times faster than their direct-mail and telemarketing spend.
Power to the people
Today, constituents are taking a more active role in their philanthropy. Many want to see the direct impact of their giving, others are eager to participate in a movement. Increasingly, people are donating because of being asked to do so by their friends or family versus a nonprofit organization itself. The Internet has accelerated these trends, which represent a shift of power to the constituent.