Last month, as part of an ongoing digital experience research series we’ve been conducting for the past two years, we gleaned some very interesting insights into the attitudes of people who regularly donate to charities.
One finding in particular stood taller than the rest: 35% of online donors say compelling website content can inspire them to give more than originally planned. Given how difficult it is to attract new donors (67% report mostly giving to the same charities), this point is a significant one. And with 44% preferring to give via a charity’s website (vs. in person or via mail) and 47% claiming to visit the same non-profit websites regularly, non-profits do appear to have a sizable opportunity in connecting with their repeat donors.
With the right digital content, non-profits can encourage a little more generosity among repeat donors. Whether this means an extra dollar or an extra hundred dollars, we don’t know. But non-profits themselves could easily use A/B and multivariate testing on their websites to check and hone in on the messages that resonate most, and what that boost in message reception represents in terms of contributions.
It will of course be of no surprise to non-profits that a combination of compelling personal stories and statistics are most likely to loosen up donor wallets. Or that visual content on its own is not all that effective. Regardless of the cause or need, non-profit sites need to combine the human and emotional elements along with the hard facts that show how widespread the problem might be. But how well are non-profits telling their stories? And how well are they getting their stories out there?
Generating awareness among new donors and convincing them to give is a real challenge for even the savviest of non-profit digital marketers. When asked how they heard about charities that were previously unknown to them, only 36% report learning about a non-profit organization online. (Thirty-five percent hear about them mostly offline through family and friends, 17% on television, and 12% via periodicals, telemarketing and other ways.) Respondents also for the most part do not seem interested in receiving email newsletters from non-profits with the majority (31%) of survey respondents receiving only one to two newsletters, 13% receiving three to four, 9% receiving more than five, and 46% receiving none. Similarly, while 20% report following one or two charities on Facebook or Twitter, 70% admit to not following any.
What this tells us is non-profit digital marketers must be incredibly creative in breaking down the barriers that stand between them and their prospect donors. The ALS ice bucket challenge was a perfect example of how a non-profit organization was able to use creative, compelling, and inherently shareable content to introduce itself to millions of new potential donors, boosting last year’s same-period donations from $2.8 million to a stunning $110 million.
Of course, non-profits will be hard-pressed to catch the same lightning in a bottle, but with 75% of Internet users claiming to give throughout the year and only 12% questioning the impact their donations will have on the given cause, the web is teeming with generosity and trust.
What will you do to ensure your non-profit is on the receiving end?