Online Survey Shows Donors Like To Give There

Online giving through a credit card or debit card is the preferred method of giving by donors worldwide, consistently near 50 percent or more, regardless of generation, size of gift or geography.

The 28-page Global Trends in Giving Report (givingreport.ngo) was released this week, sponsored by the Reston, Va.-based Public Interest Registry (PIR) and researched by Nonprofit Tech for Good.

More than half of donors worldwide (54 percent) said that they prefer to give online with a credit card or debit card and it was the preferred option by a wide margin. No other option was preferred by more than about 1 out of 10 donors:

  • 11 percent, direct mail/post;
  • 11 percent, cash;
  • 10 percent, bank/wire transfer;
  • 9 percent, PayPal;
  • 4 percent, mobile app/wallet; and,
  • 1 percent, text message.

The preferred method of online giving was consistent across Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers. Online giving by credit or debit also was fairly consistent across gift sizes, ranging from 45 percent for major donors ($10,000 or more) to 57 percent among small donors ($101 to $1,000). By geography, online giving was still the preferred method by almost half of donors but lowest in South America and Europe (46 percent).

The second edition was based upon a survey of more than 6,000 donors worldwide, conducted and promoted entirely online between April 23 and June 30. Results only represent views of respondents who read Arabic, English, French, Portuguese, or Spanish; have Internet access; and use email and/or social media. The report examines the impact of gender, generation, ideology, religion, and donor size upon giving and volunteerism, summarizing “donor data across six continents about how online and mobile technology effects giving.”

The preferred method of being thanked for a gift was, by far, email, with almost 7 out of 10 donors. About 14 percent of donors preferred a print letter while the remaining options all registered less than 10 percent:

  • 6 percent, text message;
  • 5 percent, print postcard;
  • 4 percent, social media message; and,
  • 2 percent, phone call.

Only about 1 in 5 donors are more likely to give if they are offered a gift. About 68 percent of those who responded said they view it as a waste of money while 36 percent said they don’t need or want a gift. About 6 percent cited the environment impact of the gift.

Almost half of donors worldwide (45 percent) are enrolled in a monthly giving program. About 40 percent of Millennials were enrolled in monthly giving compared with 49 percent of Generation X and Boomers.

Social media (29 percent) and email (27 percent) were the communication tool that most inspires giving, according to donors. A website (18 percent) and print (12 percent) were less likely to inspire giving, followed by television ad (6 percent), phone call (3 percent) and radio ad (3 percent). Rounding out the bottom of the list were a messaging apps and text message (1 percent each).

When it comes to specific social media, more than half of donors (56 percent) cited Facebook as the channel that most inspires giving. About 1 in 5 pointed to Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, followed by Twitter at 13 percent. YouTube was cited by 6 percent of donors and LinkedIn by 4 percent, followed by WhatsApp, 2 percent and Google+, 1 percent. Other channels all registered less than 1 percent, including Pinterest, Reddit and Tumblr.

Slightly more than two out of five donors said they donated to crowdfunding campaigns that benefit individuals. Almost half were associated with medical expenses (27 percent) or family medical emergencies (17 percent). Some 17 percent were for social enterprise startup costs, followed by education costs (12 percent) and disaster relief (10 percent). Less common were crowdfunding contributions toward volunteer expenses (8 percent), veterinary expenses (6 percent), and funeral expenses (3 percent).

About 16 percent of those who give to crowdfunding in campaigns said they donate less to nonprofits due to their financial support of such campaigns.

One-third of donors worldwide give tribute gifts to family and friends, primarily (43 percent) as a memorial, but about 1 in 4 on the occasion of a birthday but 24 percent cited an unspecified “other.” About 1 in 10 gave on the occasion of a religious holiday, followed by 3 percent for a wedding, 2 percent on a new baby, and 1 percent for graduation. Fourteen percent of donors worldwide have created an online, peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.

Females (35 percent) were more likely than males (21 percent) to give tribute gifts. Baby Boomers (41 percent) also were more likely to give as tribute than Gen X (31 percent) and Millennials (26 percent).