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Shattering Online Fundraising Myths

Resource Center - Foundation

(Feb. 14, 2005) This week, AFP eWire is pleased to feature writers Rick Christ and Heather Fignar who will be writing a monthly article on technology and fundraising issues.

Christ and Fignar are with, which provides creative and strategic consulting to help nonprofit organizations use the Internet for fundraising, education, advocacy and communication. believes that the Internet offers vast possibilities for nonprofits and that Internet marketing must be coordinated with overall marketing efforts to be truly effective.

Shattering Online Fundraising Myths

Here is some recently released data that help document the progress of online activity and dispel some myths that keep nonprofits from embracing online fundraising.

Myth #1: Would-be donors are afraid of online identity theft.

Fact #1: Identity fraud is more prevalent offline than online.

Javelin Strategy & Research just released its 2005 Identity Fraud Survey Report. It shows that 'despite the growing fear of Internet-related fraud, identity theft is more frequently committed offline (e.g. stolen wallets and checkbooks) than online (e.g. electronic commerce). It also concludes that family members, relatives, neighbors and friends make up half of all known identity thieves.'

This report is an update of the Federal Trade Commission's 2003 Identity Theft Survey Report and Javelin's 2003 Identity Fraud Report. Based on telephone interviews with 4,000 consumers, it offers a holistic view of identity fraud--including methods for prevention, detection and resolution--by examining all causes of this pervasive crime.

For more information, visit the Javelin Strategy and Research website.

Myth #2: Most web users are still using dial-up connections.

Fact #2: Fifty-five percent of home Internet users are using broadband, and they account for most of online retail purchases (and, presumably, online donations).

According to data at, almost 55 percent of home Internet users are connecting to the Internet via cable modem or DSL. Only 7.5 percent of home Internet users are using 28.8 kbps or slower modems. Eighty-one percent of work users connect via broadband, and the growth rate among broadband work users is almost flat. Projections indicate that up to 70 percent of home users may be connected via broadband by the end of 2005.

Nielsen//NetRatings released a report that shows 69 percent of retail purchases transacted online were conducted via a broadband connection, compared to 31 percent transacted via narrowband or dial-up access during November 2004. Research found that broadband consumers spend on average $158.21 per person, 34 percent higher than the $117.89 average spent by narrowband users. In addition, a broadband shopper showed a higher likelihood of converting to an online buyer; the conversion rate for broadband users reached 26 percent, compared to the conversion rate of narrowband users at 21 percent.

'With 55 percent of online surfers utilizing broadband and broadband users spending more money online than narrowband surfers, there should be less concern about alienating the narrowband shopper,' said Heather Dougherty, senior retail analyst, Nielsen//NetRatings. 'Increased broadband penetration rates should encourage retailers to maximize the customer experience and rethink their online business strategies to integrate rich media into website design and advertising campaigns.'

The latest findings show that broadband users connected to the Internet an average of 59 times, 34 percent more than narrowband users, who averaged 44 visits during November 2004. In addition, broadband users visited online retail websites more frequently, averaging 18 visits compared to 14 visits by narrowband users. Broadband users also spent more time online, averaging more than 22 hours while narrowband users spent nearly 18 hours online.

For more information, visit the website.

Myth #3: Tuesday (or Wednesday) is the best day to send email.

Fact #3: There is no proof that any day is better than any other.

ExactTarget, an email service bureau, conducted a series of studies on their clients and found that there are no consistent trends indicating any day is better than any other, including weekends. For example, MarketingSherpa, a publishing company that serves the marketing and advertising professions, released a study indicating that Monday was the best day to send email. Consequently, a large number of organizations shifted to Monday delivery. But as a result, other organizations found that mailing later in the week became an even better time to mail.

A recommendation on the best day to mail: today. As soon as you have something that your donors will want to read, get it approved and send it right away. Now is always better than later.

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