‘Wired Wealthy’ Donors a Missed Opportunity for Nonprofits

March 25, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Email | Financial Services | Household Income

The “wired wealthy” donor donates on average $11,000 a year, and more than half say online giving is their preferred channel, but they find nonprofits’ websites to lack inspiration, connection, and opportunity for deeper engagement, according to a recent study.

Below,?some of the findings issued from the study?by Convio, Sea Change Strategies and Edge Research.

Eight in ten donors surveyed have made donations online, citing benefits of speed and efficiency, credit card miles, and donation-tracking abilities:

  • 72% said donating online is more efficient and helps charities reduce administrative costs.
  • 53% cited credit card-based frequent-flyer miles or other reward as a benefit.
  • 48% said online giving makes it easier to track donations over time.
  • 46% said five years from now they will be making a greater portion of their charitable gifts online.
  • 68% said online giving lets charities respond more quickly in the event of an emergency or crisis.

Donors have been online for an average of 12 years, and are online an average of 18 hours a week; they buy products (92%), use YouTube (52%) and download/listen to music (43% do so). Some 17% are concerned about security issues.

Demands and Expectations Met, But Not Exceeded

High-dollar donors expect a simple and secure giving process and access to financials in support of giving decisions, but they also would like to be inspired, connected, and engaged.

Yet just four in ten said that most charity websites are inspiring, and the same proportion said those websites made them feel personally connected to their cause or mission. Less than half (48%) thought the websites were well-designed.

Information Not Easy to Find

Nonprofit/charity websites often don’t provide easy access to information:

  • 62% said most charities make it easy to find contact information (e.g., mailing address, phone number).
  • 53% said most charity websites make it easy to get the information needed to decide whether to give.
  • 34% said information found on the website was “very useful” in their decision making process – 46% said the information was “somewhat useful.”

Email a Lost Opportunity

  • Nearly three in four respondents (74%) said it is appropriate for a charity to send an email reminder about annual gift renewal – 56% approve of an urgent fundraising email asking for a donation.
  • The same amount said they would be more likely to give again if they received an email about how their donation was spent and what happened as a result.
  • 65% of those surveyed said they always open and glance at emails from causes they support.
  • 46% said charity emails do a good job of making the donor feel connected.
  • 43% of respondents said emails they receive from charities are generally well written and inspiring.

Valuable Information

Other information donors said they find valuable:

  • Personal stories by people whose lives had been transformed by the charity (64% said so)
  • Volunteer information (62%)
  • Reviews and summaries of recent news coverage of the cause or charity (69%)

About the study: More than 3,000 donors from 23 major nonprofit organizations were surveyed in the fall of 2007; donors represented approximately 1% of the participating charities’ email files but accounted for nearly 32% of their annual gifts. The “Wired Wealth” are those who donate a minimum of $1,000 dollars annually to a single cause and give an average of $10,896 to various charities each year, with a median gift of $4,500. Giving figures are based on actual giving histories as reported by participating organizations.

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