Network for Good and TrueSense Marketing released their long awaited study of online giving appropriately named The Online Giving Study. The study looked at data for about $400 million worth of giving across charitable websites, giving portals and social networks processed by Network for Good.
Here are a few of the key findings:
- What we know about successful fundraising stays with the same with social media. A key passage of the report is, “Raising funds online is not about technology, any more than raising funds through the mail is about paper. It’s about the relationship between the nonprofit and the donor who wants to support a cause. People who give online are no different from other donors in that they expect a relationship— not simply a transaction—with the organization they support.”
- Online relationships are often deeply affected by offline connections and cultivation.
- December (people giving for tax purposes at the end of the year, literally the last days of the year) and disasters dominate the online giving landscape.
For me, the key data from the report is this chart:
Holy cow, look at how donors come and stay on organization’s websites for giving compared to portals (like Network for Good) and social networking sites (like Facebook)! Really, it’s not even close — I’m even wondering if the other channels are worth all of the effort, hoopla and eyeball fatigue they are creating.
The report emphasizes several times that donors are giving largely through an organization’s website because of the relationship they have with that organization. And if they give through another site, like a giving portal like Change.org, they give less and are not likely to give again.
These particular data raise two questions in my mind:
- Do these findings reinforce the skepticism that have had about the need for Jumo? (You can see some of the criticism here and here.) What is the point of yet another platform that takes away time and attention from individual organizations if we’re finding that donors are not deepening their relationships anywhere but on their own site.
- Does this make a group like charity:water, a born and bred Networked Nonprofit, look even more prescient building their own network, my charity:water, on their site as a place for action, advocacy and fundraising?