Marketing + Web

Why Online Giving is so Important for Charities and Nonprofits – 3 Online Giving Facts that Should Not Be Ignored

May 8, 2018

12 mins

Online giving should be a major component of every organization’s fundraising strategy. If you run a nonprofit and you are not set up to receive online donations, you are missing out on the fastest growing area of charitable giving.

In 2017 alone, online giving increased by 12.1%. Not only that, 7.6% of overall fundraising in 2017 came from online giving and that number is continuing to grow. The average online donation is $132 and is projected to increase in 2018.

Most organizations do, at minimum, offer an online donation form on their website for their donors but is that all you need? We are heavily invested in the marketing efforts of several nonprofit clients and we are seeing three primary truths arise about online giving that we believe every nonprofit should consider as they build out their online giving strategy.

The Rise of Online Shopping

Many factors contribute to the growth of online charitable giving, including the rise in online consumer purchasing. One of the more common objections to online charitable giving include security concerns; however, these same folks are not shy about buying things online. Therefore, it stands to reason that as online shopping grows, the expectation for online giving will also grow. As consumers become more and more comfortable with online purchasing, they will also become more willing to make charitable contributions online.

Take Amazon for example: Four out of every 10 dollars spent online by Americans is going to Amazon and 64% of American households subscribe to Amazon Prime (source). Amazon helps its customers be more charitable with AmazonSmile which gives nonprofits the opportunity to receive a small percentage of a consumer’s purchasing revenue when using their organizations unique link. As buyers start engaging in more opportunities like these, their desire to give online and their expectations for the ease and fluidity of online giving will continue to rise.

Key takeaways:

  1. Be ready for increasing demand for online giving
  2. Make sure that you have an online giving option on your website
  3. Be sure your organization is present on AmazonSmile

“Baby Boomers” and “Matures” Give the Most

Right now the average age of a charitable donor in the United States is 64. For those keeping track of generational labels, these are the baby boomers.

When we combine the charitable giving of the boomers with that of the “Greatest Generation,” also called the “Matures,” the sum total equals more than two-thirds (69 %) of total US charitable giving.

What does this mean for your organization’s online giving? Make sure that you are designing the forms with these users in mind.

Since the average age of a donor in the US is 64 you better be sure your website is “senior friendly.”

This is not meant to offend anyone in the 55 and up community but it is a reality that designers, developers, marketers, fundraisers and, well, everyone in the charitable giving world needs to take under serious advisement. Things like changes in vision that occur with age should inform decisions relative to the style and size of fonts you choose — especially on your online giving forms.

Make the online giving sections of your website easy to find and if nothing else, do whatever it takes to ensure that the form is fully functional across platforms, devices, browsers etc. It is also advisable to avoid requiring your online donors to create an account or jump through hoops to make the donation. Capture their name and contact information but beyond that minimize the number of required fields at this stage. If you need additional info, use their contact info alone as an opportunity to follow up and build a connection between you and your online donor.

Key takeaways:

  1. Make online giving easy and accessible for all potential donors  
  2. Reach out to your traditional “paper” donors and offer the option for online and/or recurring payments

Online Donation Inconsistency Must Be Combatted

While it is true that online donations are increasing across the board, it is also true that the long term loyalty between these donors and the organizations they’re supporting is not as strong as the relationships between nonprofit organizations and paper donors. A large majority of current online givers includes those of the younger “Millennial” and “GenZ” emerging givers, and while these donors are eager to give and prefer giving electronically, their giving is not consistent or committed to one organization.

Much of the online giving you see with this generation involves peer-to-peer fundraising such as sponsoring a person running a marathon for charity or other one-time donation at a concert or event rather than the longer form commitment of, say, sponsoring a child. That said, Millennials already outnumber the Baby Boomers in number and Generation Z is more open to charitable giving than any other generation. Savvy organizations should start digging into ideas and strategies to appeal to and engage this demographic and begin building relationships with these future leaders — including adding new avenues for giving such as Paypal, Venmo, texting and other social media tools.

Generation Z is more open to charitable giving than any other generation

Speaking of social media, one of the draws for the younger generations is the opportunity to share and talk about the organizations they support. This requires a broader approach than traditional fundraising strategies; however, if you can create a way for your donors to become grassroots ambassadors you may be surprised just how effective these young givers can be to amplify your message and reach new audiences.

Key takeaways:

  1. Invest time in engaging rising donors from younger generations
  2. Give socially conscious donors opportunities to become ambassadors and amplify your message
  3. Include more digital payment methods in addition to traditional means


These are only a few of the many variables that nonprofits are facing with regard to online giving and engaging newer and younger audiences. We specialize in working with nonprofits to design websites and social media strategies that engage and convert emerging audiences, building relationships that result in loyal advocates and ambassadors. If you would like more information how how to begin or bolster your online giving engagement strategies or just want to be sure that your online giving mechanisms are scalable and easy to use, give us a call. We would love to help you make a bigger impact for the greater good.

Cross & Crown

About Cross & Crown

Cross & Crown is a team of creatives who are passionate about solving problems through design and technology, taking what is there and making it better. Based in Chambersburg, PA, we strive to help educate, advocate, and thrive in a digital world.

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