A little over a year ago we re-designed our website. This year we will be doing some work on improving how mobile –friendly our website is. We re-designed the website to “tweak” our branding a bit, but mostly we were working on the backend to improve our on-line giving features and our peer to peer fundraising pages. Our assumption was that we would raise some additional funds through peer to peer fundraising pages and overall this would drive more donations on-line. A couple assumptions that we made were that our millennial (and younger donors) would be the major users of the new features and that in general we would be receiving gifts in the $20 to $250 range. We knew we would have some larger gifts but the improvements to our website and software was really targeted at the base of our donor pyramid. Well wouldn’t you know it one of the first donors to use our new on-line features was a couple in their early seventies? This couple typically comes in twice a year and physically hands Marla a cheque. If Marla isn’t around they ask if I am in and they personally give me the cheques. The donation was a $5000 donation which blows assumption number two out of the water. The lesson is everything you think you know about on-line donations and new technologies will change by next year.
The additional lesson for our team is that we do need to think of our on-line technology as major gift tools, not just as tools to solicit smaller donations. We also need to consider the behavior and habits of our more affluent supporters. Six thousand smart phone users were surveyed by BBC World news and the findings are interesting. BBC World News found that:
•39 percent of affluent individuals access their smartphone at least once per hour (18 percent higher than the general population).
•Affluent smartphone users are 18 percent more likely to share their location than the general population.
•Affluent smartphone users are 4 times more influenced by mobile ads than they are by desktop ads.
Justin Ware suggests;” we at BWF_social have been suggesting clients look at online as a major gift tool, in addition to something to strengthen the annual fund”. Overall charities need to consider tactics and appeals that are more robust when considering all ranges of gifts that may be solicited on-line. Ware also provides a few more rationales why a nonprofit may want to invest more thought into their on-line appeals to donors. He points out:” studies tell us that online-acquired donors give larger gifts, give more of their lifetimes, and have greater capacity to give.” My personal beliefs are that larger gifts are more likely to be made face to face, but our world is changing and as a society our comfort with online and electronic transactions are increasing. This January we received an on-line donation of $25,000, at a time when I still get pretty excited about $1000 on-line gifts a donation out of the blue like this reminds you how much fundraising is going to change in the near future. As an illustration of how much the world is changing on his blog post Ware has an Radio Shack ad from 1991. You can see in the ad that almost everything they are selling in the ad, now can be replicated by your smartphone.
Ware, J (2014) Smartphones are Powerful Major Gift Donor Engagement Tools: on the Social Side of
Giving Blog as retrieved from: http://justinjware.com/2014/03/05/smart-phones-are-powerful-major-gift-donor-engagement-tools/