Money & Business

Capitalizing on Online Giving's Momentum

By / Feb 11, 2016 (iStock/Thinkstock)

A recent Blackbaud report highlights the growing trend in online and mobile giving. Find out how some organizations are using online campaigns, such as #GivingTuesday, to raise money and awareness.

Research shows that charitable giving has continued to show healthy signs of growth post-recession, and in 2015 it was no different.

Last year overall giving increased by 1.6 percent based on year-over-year growth, according to Blackbaud’s annual Charitable Giving Report. And while annual growth is starting to show signs of slowing, according to the study, one particular area that continues to increase is online giving, which increased by 9.2 percent last year compared to 2014 and represented about 7 percent of all fundraising in 2015.

The report also highlighted a trend in mobile giving and noted that this type of giving reached a tipping point 2015 with roughly 14 percent of online transactions being made using a mobile device—42 percent on an iPad, 41 percent using an iPhone, 14 percent using an Android device, and less than 1 percent on  other devices such as Blackberry phones.

“Online giving reached new highs in 2015 and donations made on mobile devices have become the new normal,” Steve MacLaughlin, director of Analytics at Blackbaud, said in a release. “Donors have made the shift to digital and mobile giving. Nonprofits that invest in these areas are poised to benefit today and into the future.”

A study released last year from the Nonprofit Technology Network and M+R provides further evidence for the growth in online giving. Looking at data from 84 organizations, the study found that the number of online gifts in 2014 increased 13 percent, with the average one-time gift ringing in at $82.

Another sign of online giving’s growing influence was the increase last year in #GivingTuesday online donations, which grew by more than 50 percent, according to the Blackbaud study.

Started in 2012, the global fundraising campaign has become an annual tradition taking place the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, and in 2015 it raised nearly $117 million for charities—a 155 percent increase from the previous year.

Using social media and the hashtag #GivingTuesday, the campaign allows organizations to raise money and awareness, and it’s an event associations have started to take advantage of.

In 2014, the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing launched its first #GivingTuesday campaign [ASAE member login required] by creating a unique hashtag, #hearandtalk, and copromoting it with #GivingTuesday.

Focused primarily on promoting awareness and volunteerism, AG Bell  had #hearandtalk printed on T-shirts that were distributed to staff and board members, who were all encouraged to share photos of themselves wearing the promotional shirts, created a special infographic, and launched a #GivingTuesday microsite. On the microsite the association included partnership promotion materials, links to the AG Bell Facebook page and donation form, and a sign-up to be an AG Bell ambassador to spread the word about the organization.

Meanwhile, the National Volunteer Fire Council launched the Make Me a Firefighter campaign, which is focused on getting new volunteers to sign up to assist local fire departments, on #GivingTuesday 2015.

While neither organization was primarily focused on raising money via #GivingTuesday, using the campaign to raise awareness and volunteerism can help build community among potential donors who may be more inclined to donate down the line, Allyson Kapin, author of Social Change Anytime Everywhere: How to Implement Online Multichannel Strategies to Spark Advocacy, Raise Money, and Engage Your Community, told Associations Now.

“Social media is a place to be social,” Kapin said. “It should not be viewed as a core channel to raise money. The majority of nonprofits have not raised a dime on social media. That said, if organizations focus their social media efforts on fostering deeper relationships with their community and move these people up the ladder of engagement, over the long run, they could cultivate some of this community into donors. This takes time.”

Has your association tried a #GivingTuesday campaign to raise awareness or increase online giving? Please share in the comments.

Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. More »

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