Online giving is more important than ever

By Katy Snyder
JVA Communications and Resource Development Associate

A while back, we blogged about online giving. With the economy being what it is, these methods for giving have only become more popular, and more important. A number of recent articles attest to the strength of online giving in tough economic times.

According to an October 30, 2008, Chronicle of Philanthropy article based on a survey conducted in late September 2egiving008, online giving cuts across age and socioeconomic groups and, so far, seems to be able to weather the down economy. The survey found that seven out of 10 adults planned to donate the same amount online this holiday season as they did last holiday season. Those that had been more affected by the economy were likely to give less, but 46 percent of those that said their financial situation had become substantially worse over the past 12 months still plan to donate online this holiday season. Age, surprisingly, was not a factor, with over half of people surveyed between the ages of 55 and 64 planning to donate online, compared with 46 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds and 50 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds planning to do the same.

Despite the economic downturn, online giving to U.S. nonprofits will exceed $3 billion during the 2008 holiday season, says a survey commissioned by Convio and written about by the Philanthropy Journal on November 12, 2008. More than half of Americans who use the Internet, or about 89 million people, plan to make online charitable donations from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, says the U.S. Online Retail Consumer Survey.

According to an article in the Denver Business Journal, “The efficiency and effectiveness of the Internet…continues to grow in importance for donors and organizations alike.” This is especially true given that in the current economic situation, donors are being asked for money from a variety of social service organization that are seeing increased need for their services and are reaching out to more donors.

Text giving is another relatively new option for nonprofits. Although text messaging is often viewed as a communication medium for the young, a significant portion of middle-age and baby boomer donors use this technology. According to Mobile Accord, a Mobile Application Service Provider/Cause-Marketing Agency (and a past client of JVA), 68 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds, 37 percent of 35- to 44-year-olds and 14 percent of those over the age 65 use text messaging (

Text giving is usually set up during a large event and allows donors to donate simply by responding to a text that they receive from the organization seeking donations. This allows organizations to be in contact with potential donors at the very point that they are moved to donate, such as after a speech or concert. A Chronicle of Philanthropy article about text giving cites the relative lack of spam that most people receive via text (especially compared with the amount they receive via e-mail) and the fact that most people only have one cell phone that is with them at all times as some of the advantages over soliciting donations through e-mail, saying that many people have several e-mail accounts that are not accessible at all times.

Other electronic fundraising options include MySpace (click here to read a New York Times article about a new partnership between MySpace and PayPal that allows people to collect donations for nonprofits), online auctions and year-end appeals sent electronically.

Setting your organization apart by having online giving options that are simple and secure may just be the deciding factor in whether you, or another more tech-savvy organization, receives a donation.

Want to learn more about online giving? JVA is offering a Webinar for only $15 from 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. Wednesday, December 17, that you can take from your office or home anywhere in the country. To find out more about the Webinar, click here.

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2 Responses to Online giving is more important than ever

  1. This is a great and informative blog post. Thanks so much.
    My blog is also about giving and how our family is cutting back our personal spending so that we can give away more money. I really enjoyed reading your blog and will come back to visit! My blog is

    Heidi Rafferty
    Harrodsburg, Kentucky

  2. Thanks for writing about this. I created a company in memory of my 28 year old sister, Liz, who died from breast cancer. Uptown Liz ( promotes products from companies whose proceeds go to charity. You can shop on this one-of-a-kind Web site by charitable cause or product category, knowing that every time you make a purchase you are making a difference. There are many great art, clothing, jewelry, house wares, beauty and eco-friendly products (just to name a few) that benefit charities all over the world.

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