State of Online Fundraising

Today’s Nten webinar led by Blackbaud Internet evangelist Steve MacLaughlin offered a comprehensive review of online fundraising.  See Steve’s Connections blog for links to reports referenced in today’s session.  Some of my takeaways:

  • While online revenue represented only 5% of total fundraising in 2008, online receipts jumped 44% over 2007
  • Event fundraising emails (e.g. friends asking friends)  have an incredibly high click through rate – 57% in period covered by study
  • Only 16% of event fundraisers send emails – imagine how much more successful these events could be if more participants were encouraged to fundraise!
  • Donor retention is much worse for online donors than for offline acquisition.  More analysis is under way, but this may be partially due to donors having the ability to make ‘spur of the moment’ contributions without having a real commitment to the organization
  • How to increase donor retention? It is critical to quickly respond to donors / event participants / those who take an action to solidify the relationship.  (How often have you not received an email confirmation, or have received a boilerplate document with no customization?)
  • Senior management must drive integration of fundraising across channels – “We don’t live in a single channel world.”
  • Facebook and other social networking platforms are still more useful as engagement tools than as primary fundraising techniques.
  • Small organizations may be able to do as well or better than larger nonprofits since they don’t have the traditional infrastructure and can act more quickly

While most of these points weren’t a surprise, Steve’s summary provides a great overview for nonprofits that still need help in creating online fundraising strategies.

Addendum 11/5/09 – Hear me interviewed on Zonta Women’s Community Radio about how nonprofits should approach ephilanthropy and social media.  Thanks Roxanne Neilson, President, Zonta Club of New Rochelle for arranging.