How great is it when someone lands on your nonprofit’s website and makes a donation without you having to lift a finger? Who doesn’t want more of that?! The trick is figuring out what donors want from nonprofits and making sure that you offer it on your site when the timing is right.
What Donors Want from Nonprofits When Giving
Among the many reasons we love websites is that they are powerful tools for helping your supporters, members or clients meet their goals. But tapping into the secret lives of your target audiences isn’t always easy, which is why we love the Global Trends in Giving Report produced by Nonprofit Tech for Good.
In 2020, it included responses from more than 13,000 donors around the world that were asked about their giving preferences. The result is that nonprofits can learn if they are “effectively using technology to inspire philanthropy and achieve their mission and programs.”
As one of the U.S. partners for the report, we have special access to data about American donors who are most inspired to give by a nonprofit’s website. Although 33% of donors in North America say that email is the communication tool that most inspires their giving (vs. 16% for websites), websites are in the unique position of being a communication tool AND the preferred vehicle for online donations. 63% of all North American donors want to give online with a debit or credit card.
To help you better serve donors with your website, we’ve put together some special insights on what they’re looking for and how you can maintain relationships with them beyond the gift.
Donors Inspired Most by Websites
When you invest money in a high-quality and professional website, the dream is that it motivates a growing number of visitors to donate without too much effort on your end. Set it and forget it, right?
But converting a new website visitor into an online donor can take more time and clicks compared to sending targeted fundraising emails to people who’ve already at least expressed interest in your cause. Websites are easy for anyone to find, which means that at least some visitors are not part of your target audience or are too unfamiliar with your cause to feel comfortable donating. Websites also give both new and returning visitors free access to a ton of information that can distract them from a path to giving.
All that to say: it’s essential to nail down the process of using your website as a tool for online giving. It puts you on the path to increasing the overall number of donors to your organization with less effort and a lower cost of cultivation. And by looking closely at donors who are most inspired by websites, you’ll find some pieces of wisdom that can inform your approach.
Who are these donors?
U.S. donors who are most inspired by websites are spread across generations:
- 32.8% Millennials
- 28% GenX
- 34.4% Baby Boomers
- 4.8% Matures
They tend to give less than $1,000 a year:
- 14.1% $100 or less
- 40.5% $101-999
- 27.6% $1,000-4,999
- 12.4% $5,000-9999
- 5.4% $10,000 or more
And they support charities who invest in their digital communications! 70.1% of these donors want to see nonprofits stay relevant by spending money on their marketing. Say goodbye to the idea that your online presence should be bare-bones to look more responsible.
How do they like to give?
Unsurprisingly, 87.7% of U.S. donors who are most inspired by websites want to give online with a credit or debit card. Only 20.3% will make the effort to mail in a check or card information. But their interest in giving doesn’t stop with a one-time online gift. When looking at the ways people can give to your nonprofit, consider that:
- Nearly 50% enrolled in a monthly recurring giving program
- 36.5% donated through an online auction
- 27% participated in an online raffle or sweepstakes
- 67.6% purchased items from a nonprofit-run online store
- 76.3% donated to a nonprofit through Facebook Fundraising tools
Less popular? Creating online peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns (65.1% said no) and donating on #GivingTuesday 2019 (51.3% said no).
What else interests them?
Of course, what donors want from nonprofits and charities is also more than ways to give you money! This group of website-centric supporters will participate and support you online and offline if given the opportunity:
- 84.1% have volunteered in the past year (86.7% will donate to that cause)
- 84% donated food or goods to nonprofits
- 71.1% attended events
- 68.3% signed online petitions
As for the things that didn’t interest them:
- 95.8% have not donated stock or mutual funds
- 93.1% have not donated through for donor advised funds
- 80.9% did not participate in a marathon, race or similar activity
Strengthen Your Online Donor Flow for the Donors
Looking at your current website, are you doing a good job motivating and retaining supporters with your online donation process? Improvements that you make to appeal to a website-centric audience can also benefit those who prefer other methods of communication like email and social media, especially if you’re driving them to your website to seal the deal. Providing compelling content, strategic calls to action, and a user-friendly system for online donations serves all of these crowds.