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More Nonprofits Preparing For Mobile

By The NonProfit Times - October 24, 2012

Online giving continues to grow as a proportion of overall fundraising while nonprofits prepare for the use of mobile technologies to rise in the coming year. Special events, however, are still among the most widely used to drive individual donations.

The proportion of total donations received online is still relatively small, according to the 2012 State of the Nonprofit Industry report, but the majority of organizations that accept online donations report that the proportion of online giving has increased over the past 12 months. Charleston, S.C.-based software and fundraising firm Blackbaud released its annual State of the Nonprofit Industry report today, surveying more than 1,500 organizations in nine countries through June 2012.

In seven of the nine countries surveyed, no fewer than 56 percent of organizations reported an increase in the proportion of online donations (only the Netherlands and Italy reported lower levels). Nonprofits attributed the growth in online giving to improved or increased accessibility to their website, efforts to increase public awareness of online donation options, adoption of new software and technologies that make online giving easy to use, and a perceived culture change toward the acceptance of online donations.

More than 40 percent of respondents in each country reported planning to optimize their websites for mobile within the next 12 months, with highest rates of mobile fundraising in the United States (48 percent) and Canada (44 percent). More than two-thirds of those surveyed in each nation said they will enhance their marketing through at least one mobile technology improvement, such as enabling their website for mobile browsing, using QR codes and optimizing emails for a mobile device.

Half of the organizations surveyed in the United States and Australia said they plan to use all three of these mobile technologies. More than a third of nonprofits in each country that engage in fundraising plan to use at least one mobile technology, whether that’s enabling text giving or using mobile devices to access information in their donor database.

Among other highlights of the study were:

  • Organizations using multichannel fundraising efforts reported higher optimism for individual contributions in the coming year.
  • The fastest growing fundraising method continues to be social networking, as well as peer-to-peer fundraising and scheduling meetings with prospective major donors.
  • Special events were the most widely reported method to drive individual donations, and respondents in most nations said they expect events will continue to be among the top two donation drivers in the coming year. No fewer than 63 percent of nonprofits in each country said special events were used to recruit donors.
  • Four out of five organizations surveyed said they recruited new staff in the past 12 months. Those that experienced difficulty recruiting said the biggest challenges were locating employees with the right skill set and providing adequate funding for positions. Among groups that were successful in recruiting, maintaining a strong reputation and a mission for which there is passion in their community, were cited as critical factors.

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