Posted , by Victoria Dietz, Campaign Manager. Topic: Year-End Giving.

How soon is too soon to begin year-end fundraising? According to a new Google and Millward Brown Digital Path to Donation research study, engaging your donors before the first chill is in the air may be the answer.

In 2012, Google noticed an interesting trend: donation-related searches increased by 30 percent from August to September. This prompted the tech-giant to commission the study, which included a survey of 982 participants, and analysis of online behavior of 2 million people over a six-month period.

The study found:
– 75 percent of donors start researching nonprofits online
– 57 percent make a donation after watching a video
– 40 percent of donors conduct research on their mobile device
– 25 percent donate via mobile device
– Almost half visited multiple nonprofit sites prior to donation
– 74 percent donate because they believe in the (nonprofit’s) mission
– Donors find online channels 20 percent more useful than direct mail

“If nonprofits wait until Thanksgiving time to raise awareness, they’re missing out on all these people who are starting to search in September,” says Jessie End, who oversees Google’s advertising operations for nonprofit organizations.

The study’s findings indicate donors begin their online year-end giving research early, are well informed, shop around and are mission driven. To attract these donors, nonprofits need to ensure they are telling their story in a concise, mission-forward way online. It is critical to have a multi-channel approach that involves impactful web content to attract online donors. Think of ways to best message your need without overextending your time and resources. If a top quality video is not in the budget, try a simple flip-cam message from someone who has been positively affected by your nonprofit’s work. Try telling your story with more images and easy-to-digest stats and less cumbersome text.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that, on average, 19 percent of donations are made during the month of December. However, Google’s study shows how important it is to communicate with donors before the holiday crunch. Nonprofits should begin preparing and messaging now to attract donors’ year-end generosity.

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