Study Shows Donor Giving Preferences Are Shifting

A new study released by Community Brands looks at donor experience and expectations, with an aim to help nonprofits assess what their own donors experience and pinpoint where there’s room for improvement.

How can your organization improve the donor experience?

That’s one area explored in a new Community Brands study released last week—Donor Experience Study: A Deep Dive into Donor Experience and Expectations—which surveyed 1,000 donors who gave money to at least one nonprofit in the past 12 months.

“We’re seeing shifting giving preferences as the threshold for online and mobile giving rises,” said Brandy Keller, director of product management and marketing for nonprofit solutions at Community Brands, in a press release. “We expect to see more investment in mobile technology to improve online giving and fundraising events. And, enhancing mobile experiences will be critical as nonprofits look to simplify the giving experience to keep up with donor expectations.”

The study showed that 71 percent of those surveyed have donated on a mobile device during the past year. “We also saw that those younger generations are making most—if not all—of their donations through a mobile device,” Keller said. Because of this, Keller urged organization to no longer put off optimizing their websites and donation forms for mobile donors. “It’s really a necessity now,” she said.

Although the study pointed to the importance of mobile solutions, it also showed that some donors still prefer to give offline. For instance, results showed 56 percent of older donors prefer to donate offline with a check to the organization. “If organizations move entirely online, they’re setting themselves up to the risk of missing out on donations because not all of our donors are there yet,” Keller said.

In addition to surveying donors on their preferences for making online and offline gifts, the study also looked at their behavior, how much follow-up and personalization affects their giving, and the impact that events have on their giving.

To the latter point, Keller said “there’s a special kind of magic that happens at fundraising events,” and the study’s results prove it. In the study, 78 percent of respondents reported feeling “very or somewhat engaged” after attending an event, and 63 percent of respondents reported that they were more likely to financially support a nonprofit after a positive event experience.

But one of the biggest takeaways for Keller was that organizations shouldn’t shy away from asking their donors for more. “Our research showed that many donors are comfortable making online gifts for up to about the $300 level, but so many organizations are still only asking for $5, $10, $15 donations on their websites,” she said.

If nonprofits are afraid of alienating donors by transitioning them to higher donation amounts, she recommends doing some A/B testing to see how successful they might be in moving donors to more frequent donations or larger gifts.

“Without trying, there’s always the possibility that another organization will beat you to the ask, and you’ll be leaving money on the table,” Keller said.

(iNueng/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Emily Bratcher

By Emily Bratcher

Emily Bratcher is a Contributing Editor for Associations Now. MORE

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