Timing is Everything: Highlights from Classy’s New Donor Behavior Report

A new report from the online fundraising firm Classy finds that most users leave a campaign site right after getting there—but the handful that stick around are very likely to donate.

If your organization is trying to draw a potential new donor online, your window for doing so is very narrow.

But if you can make it through that window, there is a lot of opportunity for the start of a long-standing recurring donor relationship.

That’s a finding from the latest version of Classy’s State of Modern Philanthropy report [registration], released this week. For the report, the online fundraising firm leveraged more than 6 million transactions on its platform, data from nearly 4,500 nonprofits, to uncover its findings.

“Our hope is that this report shares data to spark new or improved ideas that can help organizations sustain support for their important missions,” Classy CEO Scot Chisolm said in a news release.

Classy’s findings show that, when on a campaign page, roughly 70 percent of visitors spend less than a minute on a page, and their conversion rate is just 11 percent. But if they make it past the two-minute mark—something just 22 percent of visitors do—the odds of conversion are much higher, peaking around the four-to-five-minute mark, when 63 percent of visitors make a donation.

In fact, more than 70 percent of visitors who do become donors end up sticking around—making engagement essential, according to the company.

“Organizations must capture visitors’ attention as soon as they land, either to immediately convert or to keep learning more to eventually convert,” the report states. “Provide compelling and inspiring content on campaign pages that engages potential supporters and prompts them to take action.”

Timing also has an impact in other ways too. The report finds that in each of the standard U.S. time zones, visits may potentially peak during the early afternoon, but conversion rates tend to be strongest during the morning hours, with the best time to hit donors in most cases between 10 a.m. and noon—as that’s when they’re both most likely to visit and convert. And donation volume tends to peak in December, but generally sees improvement in the fall months.

Second Time Around

The report also highlights the cycle of a second donor interaction, which Classy says happens at two primary points—within a month of the initial donation, and those offering a second donation at the one-year mark. The median amount of time between donations is just over six months for most types of donor campaigns, with the exception being donations with event registration, which tends to be slightly less than nine months. Those who donate at the end of the year or for Giving Tuesday, however, tend to wait nearly the full year for another donation.

Donors who were attracted using a specific type of campaign—for example, peer-to-peer fundraising, or via a crowdfunding campaign—are generally likely to follow the same tactic the next time, though they may vary their donation strategy. For example, while 57 percent of initial peer-to-peer donors recur with a peer-to-peer donation, 21 percent donate when taking part in a fundraising event.

“This willingness to engage through different avenues, regardless of initial campaign type, only points to recurring donors’ demonstrated commitment to your organization, and the opportunity to continue to make additional asks,” the report states.

(Mykyta Dolmatov/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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