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Study Shows Online Giving Has Become Popular Among Donors 60 or Older

(Nov. 13, 2011) Online giving has become a viable option for donors who are 60 years of age or older, according to a recent online study of donors who had given by any method conducted by Campbell Rinker on behalf of Dunham+Company.

The study found that while 61 percent of all donors surveyed had given an online gift at some point, a surprising one out of two donors (51 percent) 60 years old and older said they had done so. This compares to three of four donors (75 percent) under 40 and two out of three donors (64 percent) ages 40-59 who reported previous online giving.

“This study blows some holes in the conventional thinking about older donors and online giving,” said Rick Dunham, President and CEO of Dunham+Company, a Dallas-based fundraising and marketing company. “The fact that one out of two donors in the survey who are 60 years or older has given online is surprising. The study also showed that these donors give more frequently online than their younger counterparts.”

The typical donor 60 or older had given nearly 30 percent more gifts online than those under 40.

“This is a significant finding as it shows this vital older donor demographic, once engaged in online giving, will continue to use this channel, and more frequently than those who are younger donors,” Dunham said. “This is especially important as the holiday giving season goes into full swing. A national study we conducted in August showed that online donors were most likely to stay engaged in giving towards the end of the year.”

The current study also found that 85 percent of older donors who have not given online said they were not willing to consider giving an online donation.

“This just reinforces the need to give donors options on how they want to fulfill their gift. While charities should focus on online appeals for funds, they shouldn’t neglect direct mail and telephone,” Dunham said. “In other words, they need to apply best practices around integrated, multi-channel communication strategies.”

The study also found that one in four online donors had started to give an online gift but then stopped. Those donors said the following would improve the online giving experience:

•   Reassuring them about the security of the transaction (this was especially important to 57 percent of older donors)

•   Making the online donation process simpler with fewer steps

•   Clarifying what the donor is supporting throughout the process (which was most important to donors under the age of 40)

“The bottom line is this: There is opportunity as we come into the holiday giving period for charities to gain more income from their most likely and important donors if they will effectively use the online channel and ensure that the donor knows the process is secure and it is as easy as possible for the donor to complete their gift,” Dunham said.

The online study of 524 donors was conducted Nov. 15-17 among random ResearchNow panel members who had given at least one gift of $25 in the past year by any method. The study has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

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