Posted , by Natalie McGaughey, Development Coordinator. Topic: Philanthropy Research & Events.

I recently participated in a webinar hosted by Blackbaud and The Giving Institute on the topic of trends in online giving, its impact on nonprofits, and the best ways for organizations to optimize donor engagement through digital channels.

One major trend Blackbaud emphasized was the predictability of online giving. As online giving grows, data is collected to help examine when the majority of online giving occurs and when the largest gifts are donated. Twenty-two percent, the largest percentage of all online giving, occurs in December, during the holiday season; however, this does vary by nonprofit sector. For example, online giving spikes in June for educational institutions, mainly due to their fiscal calendar.

While 93 percent of all giving in the U.S. is not online, smaller organizations actually raise a higher percentage of overall donations through their websites. Although this does vary by sector, online giving is more efficient and effective for smaller nonprofits. Ninety percent of online giving comes from traditional online appeals and nine percent of online giving comes from peer-to-peer giving such as walks or runs, signature events, and independent fundraising. The smallest amount of online giving is “social giving,” gifts made through Twitter or Facebook. Although social media has a lot of promise as an engagement tool it does not directly raise significant amounts of money.

While using digital channels to solicit donations and reach donors is important, nonprofits should continue to embrace traditional channels of giving. Employing multiple vehicles, such as email blasts, newsletters with solicitations, direct mail letters, and social media posts, is the best way to acquire new donors and retain current donors. Consider this statistic: Of donors who made their first online gift in 2009, 32 percent gave offline the following year. Compare this to just three percent of offline donors who moved to online giving. Interestingly, donors who switch their channel of giving actually give more over time. For more information on online giving by nonprofit size and sector visit the Blackbaud Index site

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