Online Giving Driven by Donor Experience and Year-End Gifts, Study Finds

More than 20 percent of all online giving occurs in the last forty-eight hours of the calendar year, a new study from Network for Good and TrueSense Marketing finds.

The Online Giving Study (23 pages, PDF) — which covered $381 million in online giving through Network for Good's donation platform, including 3.6 million gifts to 66,470 different nonprofits from 2003 to 2009 — found that people give more when the online experience is intimate and emotionally coherent and that they give for reasons of convenience, especially at the end of the year and in the wake of large-scale disasters. The study, which was sponsored by America Online, also found that just as the strength of the donor-charity relationship heavily influences offline giving, the online giving experience has a significant impact on donor loyalty, retention, and gift levels; that giving on social networks is significant, but donor loyalty is highest on charity Web sites that build strong connections with donors; that a third of all online giving occurs in December and that 22 percent of annual giving happens in the last two days of the year; and that recurring giving is a major driver of giving over time.

"As we enter this giving season, this research shows how much relationships matter between charities and their supporters — online as much as offline," said Network for Good CEO Bill Strathmann. "Even small improvements in the online experience can make a big difference in the amount a charity can raise."