When Asking for Online Donations Is a Time Suck

Deadline Countdown
07.07.2011By

Last week, socialbutterfly shared a few insights about the Pew Internet and American Life Project, a study on how internet users in America spend their time.

The study broke down time spent in various different activities, including:

  • 49% Use a search engine to find information
  • 41% Get news
  • 37% Use an online social networking site
  • 2% Use Twitter or another status-update service
  • 1% Make a donation to a charity online

See full breakdown here.

A drive by analysis of the above data might conclude that online fundraising strategies don’t work, or that the internet sucks.

It takes a village to raise a dollar

If we combine the Pew study with the donorCentrics Internet and Multichannel Giving Benchmarking Report, we get a much more hopeful picture.

For example, it’s more common for new donors to give online. And those online-acquired donors tend to give much larger gifts over time than donors acquired by direct mail. So that 1% above is a small but very valuable group.

Twitter users are smart fundraisers

And what about Twitter? Blackbaud found that people who added Twitter to their fundraising toolbox consistently exceeded their goals, compared to those who didn’t use Twitter. So the 2% that use Twitter are some of your smartest fundraisers!

When asking for online donations is a time suck

A drive by strategist might conclude that spending more time asking for money makes sense because online donors give more over time. But if that’s your first contact with them, you’ll waste your time (except crisis giving).

Planted seeds don’t bear fruit the next day

Any smart fundraiser knows that connections always come before commerce, and that the best path is to find your supporters, converse with them (this will take time), nurturing a sense of ownership, and then getting out of the way.

How do you spend time nurturing donor relationships?

  • Yes. I do spend time nurturing relationships. I find it’s important to educate people about the cause, answer any questions they may have and cultivate that relationship. This gives online constituents a reason to get involved and open their wallet to help the cause. This also gives them a reason to talk about our organization to people they know.

  • Yes. I do spend time nurturing relationships. I find it’s important to educate people about the cause, answer any questions they may have and cultivate that relationship. Thisu00a0givesu00a0online constituentsu00a0a reason to get involved and open their wallet to help the cause. This also gives them a reason to talk about our organization to people they know.