What’s happening with online fundraising is changing your playing field.

If you work for a nonprofit, you probably perform the equivalent of 3 full-time jobs while juggling volunteers’, staff, and board members’ expectations. So when it comes to deciding where to spend your time and energy, developing time-consuming and low payout fundraising activities probably falls right after crafting delicate yet durable baskets from belly-button lint.

There’s a lot of conflicting and confusing messages out there when it comes to fundraising online. Maybe you’ve taken a pass at an online campaign and have been frustrated by all the set-up, tweaks and coding it seems to take to get an online campaign underway. Other times, you’ve listened with envy to the stories of someone who knows someone whose 2-year-old baby brother raised a bajillion bucks online practically overnight.

At the end of the day, how important is online fundraising for your cause?

Here are three things that will help you sort out the hype from reality when it comes to online fundraising’s value for your cause.

1)   Philanthropy, like all aspects of our lives, is increasingly happening online.

Think about how quickly you move online if you need to buy a book, find some music, or book a flight. The first place we go is online. What would happen if your donors went online to support your cause as their first option before pulling out the checkbook? Let’s see what that means for your cause in terms of fundraising.

According to Blackbaud’s 2012 Charitable Giving Report, 7% of all the funds raised were from online donations.  While 7% seems like a fairly small number, that is more than all the funds raised from corporations and more than ½ of the funds raised from foundations! And that percentage is increasing year after year.

Online Fundraising

2)   People are more comfortable giving online.

How comfortable you ask? Online gifts are no longer relegated to the realms of pocket change and $10 text donations. According to npEngage,  more than 87% of nonprofits who are fundraising online have received at least one gift of $1,000 or more.

Since fundraising results are determined by what you ask for, you may want to up your ante with your online solicitations. Being creative and approaching your online fundraising tactics as a part of your major gifts development strategy could pay big dividends. In fact, the largest gift given online in 2011 was… get this – $260,000!

Online Fundraising

3)   People are not only multi-tasking, they are interacting through multi-channels.

Your online fundraising is part of many different ways people can support your cause. So the donor who attends your special event, reads your newsletter, and sends an annual check, will also make online gifts. One donor will give to a cause with multiple gifts using multiple methods.

Online Fundraising

People want to give to more than one of your cause’s initiatives at a time. Your objective is to not only capture but engage your supporters and enhance their impact with your cause. By offering several avenues to give, you are not only increasing your supporter’s lifetime value for your cause, but enhancing the lasting impact your donor will have through your organization. Multi-channel giving calls for multi-channel fundraising.

Online FundraisingOnline fundraising can seem deceptively small but it is growing by leaps and bounds. With a little creative strategy and an eye to opportunity, your cause could reap the benefits of increasing online activity!

Want to know more about what works with fundraising online? Check out the Fundraising with Social Media series. It’s filled with strategies and tactics that actually produce the online results you need. Whether you are raising money for an established organization with a long fundraising track record, or setting out to fundraise for the first time, what you do online makes a big difference.

Fundraising with Social Media is opening soon, so sign up to learn more.

Fundraising with Social Media



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Your timing is perfect! I was looking for some research about online giving--thanks, Heidi. I'll keep an eye out for your durable yet delicate basket line. ;-)

Heidi Hancock
Heidi Hancock

LOL! Sometimes fundraising can move people to do strange things. Glad you found this helpful!

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