Digital Donors Changing Charitable Communications

January 18, 2017       Andy Segedin      

Digital donors are pushing charities to communicate with them the way they prefer. Millennials identified social media as the preferred method in 43 percent of cases, followed by email at 21 percent. Baby Boomers and Gen Xers both prefer email, 30 percent and 26 percent, followed by social media, 21 percent and 24 percent.

Nonprofits across the globe have responded. Three-quarters of organizations worldwide accept online donations. In addition, 95 percent of organizations have a Facebook page, 92 percent have a website and 83 percent use Twitter.

The data is from Public Interest Registry’s (PIR) 2016 Global NGO Online Technology report, which encompassed 2,780 organizations in 133 countries and 355 donors in 27 countries. PIR, located in Reston, Va., is the nonprofit operator of the .org and .ngo domains.

Nonprofits on continents best versed in social media, such as North American and Europe, reported less belief in the effectiveness of social media in online fundraising (76 percent each) than less digital counterparts in Asia (86 percent) and Africa (81 percent). The difference stems both from continents such as Africa and Asia catching up with the West in technology and how they are doing it. Mobile phones are the device of choice in Asia and Africa, while North Americans and Europeans are more likely to use a computer.

The varying levels of engagement and giving mechanism among generations is an important takeaway from the report. Just less than three-quarters (72 percent) of Millennials prefer to give online, as compared to 54 percent of Baby Boomers. Organizational strategies might be informed by such differences, depending on the type of donor being targeted.

Other key findings from the report include:

  • North American organizations are the most likely among the six represented continents, excluding Antarctica, to have a website (97 percent). Such organizations are also most likely to have a Facebook page (97 percent), accept online donations (86 percent), have a LinkedIn account (71 percent) and use Google+ (40 percent);
  • South American organizations are the most likely to use Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, 87 percent, 69 percent and 49 percent, respectively. Organizations in Australia and Oceana are more apt to send regular email updates, 80 percent. European nonprofits blog regularly the most, 50 percent;
  • LinkedIn is the third most common social media platform behind Facebook and Twitter at 52 percent. YouTube (51 percent), Instagram (40 percent), Google+ (30 percent), Pinterest (22 percent), Tumblr, (6 percent), and Snapchat (2 percent), followed; and,
  • Credit card processing is the most common way organizations accept online donations (82 percent). Paypal at 52 percent, direct debit, 47 percent, mobile text, 6 percent, and digital wallet, 3 percent, are other accepted forms of payment.