The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

Just Released: The Digital Giving Index

To make a smart plan for your digital giving spend and online fundraising strategy, you need to understand how donors are giving online. Since 2010, Network for Good has published the Digital Giving Index which looks at online giving trends across the Network for Good platform, including both branded and generic donation pages, peer-to-peer fundraising, portal giving, and employee giving.

The latest Digital Giving Index looks at the patterns of online giving for 2013 and shows how donors give across channels. This data represents $190M in giving to 40,000 charities. Thanks to our friends at Plenty Consulting who helped us dig into the data to provide this great analysis.

Digital Giving Index

Online giving is thriving.
Online giving continues to grow at a faster clip than overall giving. For the second straight year, the we’ve seen double digit growth in online fundraising. This echoes other reports in the sector (such as the Blackbaud Index and Giving USA), and really builds the case for creating a strong digital strategy. At Network for Good, we see consistent trends even as online giving methods adapt to changing technology.

Nonprofit donation pages are still key.
So giving is going online, but where and how are donors giving online? On Network for Good’s platform, 61% of online gifts are still made through a charity’s online donation page. For the first time, we added in employee giving as a channel in the Digital Giving Index to show how this type of charitable giving stacks up. We’re seeing an increase in companies who want to offer their employees a way to give back. Network for Good helps provide that technology and we can see how those donations evolve over time. The number of employee donations grew by 83% from 2012 to 2013.

As more digital options become available to donors, they have more choices in how they give and to whom they give. Here are our latest stats on year over year growth in total donations for each channel. As employee giving and peer-to-peer giving become more widespread, they see a high rate of change, but together they still make up less than one third of the total donations we see on our platform.

Online giving growth rate by channel

Not all online giving is the same.
The rate of growth and size of average gifts vary from channel to channel. What we continue to find is that:

  • The channel matters
  • The context matters
  • The experience matters

This shows in the data: donors give more on branded giving pages vs. generic giving experiences, e-commerce-style solutions, or charity giving portals. (Branded giving pages are those donation experiences that look and feel like a nonprofit’s website or campaign materials.)

Donors’ average gifts are also higher on branded giving pages:

  • 12% smaller average gifts on giving portals
  • 20-30% smaller average gifts on generic giving pages
  • Compared to 2012 average gift size decreased by 4% on generic giving pages, but grew on branded giving pages by 4%

Online giving by channel

Volume and average gift size are affected by the seasonality of giving.
The December giving and disasters impact donation levels. These patterns are pretty consistent from year to year, yet show total giving ramping up over time.

Seasonality of Giving

At Network for Good we saw total donations on Giving Tuesday grow 73% from 2012 to 2013, so Giving Tuesday has really established itself as the kickoff for end of year giving.

During these giving spikes obviously gift volume goes up, but gift size also increases towards the end of the year: the largest gifts are given on December 31, followed by Giving Tuesday, and in response to disasters, such as Typhoon Haiyan. These same trends hold true for portal giving and employee giving. This is why it’s extremely important to have a solid online giving program in place, especially in December, but also to capture impulse giving and reactions to crises and events.

Giving is also social.
What we know about giving is that it’s a highly emotional act. It’s often prompted by personal ties, either to a cause or an organization. But giving is also social in that we are influenced very strongly by our networks as well as those we perceive to be our peers.

We can think of social media and peer-to-peer fundraising in the same way. Peer-to-peer fundraising as a concept isn’t new. People have been crowdfunding and raising money through events, contests, and marathons way before online giving. However, the power of social media combined with those peer networks—along with the ease of online giving—have enabled peer-to-peer giving to really take off online.

Peer to Peer Fundraising

It’s worth noting that nonprofits who’ve enabled and empowered their supporters to become active fundraisers are reaping the rewards. What we’ve seen is that nonprofits who add peer-to-peer campaigns to their fundraising portfolio actually end up increasing their core fundraising activity. So P2P doesn’t cannibalize traditional donors or donations, but rather, it’s additive for those who are doing multichannel online fundraising.

Check out the full infographic below, and visit Network for Good to access all of the Digital Giving Index updates.

The Network For Good Digital Giving Index
Digital Giving Index infographic courtesy of Network for Good

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About This Blog

Connie Poulos
Senior Associate, Copywriter

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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