American Fundraisers Lag Behind In Texting

March 8, 2017       Mark Hrywna      

Text messaging donors and supporters is a far more prevalent practice by nonprofits in Asia (31 percent) and Africa (39 percent) compared with their counterparts on other continents. More than half of those organizations surveyed in Africa (54 percent) accept text donations and 38 percent among those in Asia, according to a new survey.

The 2017 Global NGO Online Technology Report (#ngoTech17) is a research project that “seeks to gain a better understanding of how non-governmental organizations (NGOs) worldwide use online technology to engage supporters and donors.” The report was sponsored by Your Public Interest Registry with research by Nonprofit Tech for Good.

The percentage of organizations on other continents that regularly text messages to supporters and donors was in the single digits, including just 3 percent in North America. Among those organizations where fundraisers text donors, half of those in Europe and South America accept donations, compared with one-third in North America and one in five in Australia.

Globally, 15 percent of nonprofits regularly send text messages and of those, 40 percent accept donations via text.

The data come from a survey of 4,908 NGOs from 153 countries across six continents. The online survey was conducted from Aug. 1, 2016 through Oct. 31, 2016. The top 10 countries represented in the data are those with fairly stable and developed Internet infrastructure. About 44 percent of respondents were from North America, and 28 percent from Asia, followed by 13 percent in Europe.

“As Internet infrastructure continues to improve worldwide, it’s conceivable that by 2025 regional differences will lessen significantly and NGOs throughout the globe will become more equally empowered to use the Internet to inspire philanthropy and social change.”

More than 90 percent of organizations globally have a website and of those, 78 percent are mobile-compatible. The only continents where the percentage of organizations with a website fell below 90 percent were Asia (84 percent) and Africa (74 percent). Among organizations that have websites, all continents reported at least 76 percent of them as mobile-compatible.

In online technology effectiveness ratings, nonprofits in Africa and Asia usually rated different categories as very effective more often than counterparts in other continents and globally. For example, 28 percent of nonprofits found email updates to be “very effective,” with the highest ratings in Africa and Asia, both at 45 percent, far ahead of all other continents, and better than the global rate of 28 percent.

Some 71 percent of all organizations said they use email updates. Both continents also reported text messaging as very effective, at 38 and 39 percent, respectively, compared with 35 percent globally, but only about 15 percent of organizations reported using text messaging.

When it comes to social media, global nonprofits rated specific social networks as “very effective”:

* Facebook, 26 percent;
* Twitter, 12 percent; and,
* Instagram, 8 percent.

Nonprofits in Africa typically rated all three at a higher percentage, including Facebook (36 percent, along with Asia), Twitter (25 percent), and Instagram (16 percent). On the other side of the spectrum, Twitter and Instagram were the only networks to regularly rate in the double-digit percentages for “ineffective” almost across the board, led by 19 percent among nonprofits in Europe that rated Instagram.

About one-third of organizations globally have paid for advertising on social media and slightly fewer have a written social media strategy. More than 90 percent have a Facebook Page, followed by 72 percent that have a Twitter profile, and 39 percent with an Instagram profile. Other social networks cited were YouTube (55 percent), LinkedIn (51 percent), Google+ (28 percent), and WhatsApp (16 percent).

Recruiting volunteers via social media was found most effective among nonprofits in South America (55 percent), followed by Asia (39 percent) and Africa (46 percent), all of which surpassed the global average of 32 percent. Similar rates were found for using social media as an effective tool for recruiting event attendees. Only nonprofits in Africa (59 percent), South America (51 percent), and Asia (45 percent) rated social media as very effective for creating social change.

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