Online Giving Is Fastest Growing Fundraising Channel, Study Finds

Online giving is the fastest growing fundraising channel for nonprofits, while online engagement and legislative advocacy are assuming an expanded role in the sector, a new report from fundraising software provider Convio finds.

Drawing on data from nearly six hundred nonprofits with 2010 fundraising revenue totaling more than $1.15 billion, Convio's annual Online Marketing Nonprofit Benchmark Index Study (48 pages, PDF) found that online fundraising increased by 40 percent year-over-year in 2010, with 79 percent of the organizations responding to the survey reporting an increase in revenue. The improved performance is due in part to an 88 percent rise in the number of donations received and an average increase of $8 per donation.

According to the report, e-mail continued to grow as a means of connecting with constituents in 2010, with many organizations growing their e-mail distribution lists significantly. In addition, the authors argue that an increase in episodic giving after the disastrous January earthquake in Haiti reinforced the perception of online fundraising as an efficient and immediate outlet for donors interested in responding quickly to events or issues.

"Online continues to play a critical role for nonprofits as they continue to look for the most efficient ways to engage with constituents and maximize the value of those relationships," said Convio president and CEO Gene Austin. "This year's study continues to validate that constituent engagement is profoundly multichannel. Leveraging only traditional channels or only online channels results in partial engagement. The modern nonprofit and the modern constituent realize the value of fully engaging through multiple channels — traditional and online — to get the most out of each relationship."