2008 donorCentrics Internet Giving Benchmarking Analysis

Steve MacLaughlin - 03.18.2009

Target Analytics, a Blackbaud Company, has released the 2008 donorCentrics™ Internet Giving Benchmarking Analysis. The report is featured in today's edition of The New York Timesand covers some of its many findings. This is a follow-up to the groundbreaking 2006 report and provides insights into the online and offline trends of donors. Over the past three years, Target Analytics has held a series of annual meetings with a total of twenty-four major national non-profit organizations on the subject of online fundraising.

Through these discussions, and aggregating their giving data, an updated picture of integrated fundraising is presented in the new report. The findings represent careful analysis of information from over 9.5 million donors and more than $747 million in donations to the nonprofits in the study.

Key Findings in the Report:

  • Online giving continues to grow rapidly in 2007 and 2008, even in the absence of major disasters which fueled the growth of online giving for relief and animal welfare organizations in previous years.
  • Over the past few years, online giving has become an increasingly significant source of new donor acquisition. These online donors give much larger gifts but have slightly lower retention rates than traditional donors.
  • Online giving is not a strong renewal channel; every year, large numbers of online donors migrate away from online giving and to other channels, primarily direct mail.
  • Donors to direct mail – the primary giving source for most organizations – rarely give online. In the relatively rare cases when mail donors do give online, they tend to give higher average gifts – both before and after their first online gift.
  • Offline donors who have an email address on file, and who have no record of giving online, give far more per year and retain and reactivate at higher rates than those who do not have an email address on file.
  • Donors in the southwest and mountain regions of the United States are disproportionately more likely to give online.

Channel Flipping Continues

The 2006 analysis highlighted the channel switching trend from online to offline, and the 2008 findings continue to show this trend. Online donors switch to offline giving channels, but offline donors rarely switch to online. This reinforces the importance of an integrated approach to managing your donor relationships. This is a trend that plays out over time as 37% of the donors acquired online in 2006 who gave in both 2007 and 2008 never gave online again in either of their subsequent years of giving after their acquisition year. The key is to leverage integrated multi-channel strategies to identify and cultivate these donors over time.

Online-only Donors are Less Loyal

While online giving continues to be a major growth engine for nonprofits there are some concerns around retention and donor loyalty. Over the past three years of analysis, online donors have consistently renewed at rates slightly lower than traditional donors. Online-acquired donors have significantly higher lifetime value in aggregate than mail-acquired donors because their larger initial gifts and greater gifts in later years compensate for their lower levels of loyalty. But online-acquired donors are actually underperforming their mail-acquired giving-level equivalents. By contrast, multi-channel donors have much better retention rates for organizations in the analysis.

Online Giving is Key to Long-Term Success

Online donors in the analysis represent less than 10% of the total donor file, but these organizations have been growing their online giving for several years now. They are embracing new channels and combining them with their existing fundraising practices to maximize their relationships with donors. These organizations understand what a critical role the Internet plays in their current and future fundraising programs.

Learn More

Nonprofits of all sizes can gain key insights from the findings of the 2008 donorCentrics™ Internet Giving Benchmarking Analysis. A webinar will be held on April 16thto review the findings in more detail. You can register online for the webinar here. This is one of many key Internet resources that Blackbaud makes availableto the nonprofit community.

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