Let’s first look at how donors donate. As of 2011, Blackbaud reported that a majority of donations still come in by direct mail, and that trend hasn’t been reversed in the years since. There are, however, compelling reasons to make sure that online and social media channels are open.
1. New donors are increasingly found online
In the same study, Blackbaud found that the next new donor a nonprofit gets is likely to be younger, have a higher household income, and – most importantly – come from an online source. New online donors made up 16% of total new subscriptions in 2010, up from 9% in 2007.
These new online donors are also pretty generous. A 2012 report by The Chronicle of Philanthropy found a startling increase in the total amount of online giving. There was a +14% jump in amounts raised online that drove online giving from $1.87 billion dollars up to $2.13 billion dollars.
2. Online donors are increasingly social
So how do you reach new online donors? Will Valverde, Vice President of Creative Development at M+R Strategic Services, offered this insight on how donors are interacting with nonprofit emails:
“Email remains a critically important piece of the puzzle for most nonprofits, but declines in fundraising email response rates show the importance of connecting with donors through more than one channel. Successful nonprofits are responding to this reality by securing more and more revenue from monthly donors, and by rapidly expanding their audiences not just for email, but on social media as well.”
Simply put, it’s important to have social media be part of your online fundraising strategy. While it isn’t a single-solution silver bullet, expanding onto those channels will help improve email response rates and snag new donors.
As an added benefit, many social platforms are already optimized for mobile browsing, which is important considering how over half of today’s emails are being read on some sort of mobile device.
3. Multiple Channels Raise More
Let’s look now at the impact of opening up multiple channels for giving online. First up: lifetime revenue per donor increases when donors come from an online source. The initial gift from these constituents tends to be large, and they’re very amenable to cross-over into donating by mail, as indicated in Blackbaud’s study on Multichannel Marketing.
That leads up to our second point: gaining online donors from multichannel marketing can have dramatic impacts on combined fundraising efforts. Here’s an example of something online translating to offline gains: an average Facebook Like is worth $161.30 when counting online giving only, but that climbs to $214.81 when combined with other channels, the Nonprofit Social Network Survey found. A Twitter campaign was also found to be able to generate up to 10 times more money compared to fundraisers that didn’t have one.
Quick Look: WWF Doing It Right
Some great nonprofits who’ve jumped onto multi-channel marketing and optimizing for the web include the World Wildlife Foundation, which has both a wonderful responsive site design and is huge on having a social presence.