The Rise of the Connected Donor: Why Digital Matters More Than Ever

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Today’s donors are very tech savvy. Almost two-thirds of us are now smartphone owners – even the boomer generation has embraced them – and these devices are a primary access point to the online world for many. The use of paper checks continues to decline in favor of electronic payment methods and credit/debit cards. In fact, since 2013, mobile giving to a charity’s websites has increased by 80 percent.

We are a digital society.

mobile-usage

Source: creditcards.com

As connected individuals, the donors of today are more impulse-driven, they’re on the go and they expect great experiences – or they will walk away. From shopping, to dating, to education, and beyond, almost every connection with the outside world can be made from a digital device. Ignoring this shift undoubtedly means missing out on key opportunities to connect with potential donors.

Much like when we’re talking about social listening, we have to accept the fact that today there is a strong connection with how people behave as consumers and their expectations as supporters. In today’s age of the customer, companies like Amazon and Zappos have created a shopping experience that has raised the bar for all other sellers – shoppers have come to expect quick and intuitive searching, speedy shipping, product recommendations, and one-click purchasing as part of their experience.

This mentality has spilled over into how we want to spend money on everything from ordering a pizza, to buying a song on iTunes and even to how we give to charitable causes. The everyday donor doesn’t want to write a check. They want to click, swipe, and tap their support to their favorite charity, and need these experiences to be easy and consistent across all devices. Donors want to feel like the organizations they’re giving to understand their needs and are continually working to make their lives easier.

The nonprofit sector isn’t typically associated with being ahead of the curve in adopting new technology – in fact, we’re often viewed as archaic. A recent study has shown that current nonprofits allocate less than 2 percent of their operating budgets to technology. Implementing new systems can seem daunting, and chances are, your team is already stretched thin.

In fact, the Nonprofit Technology Network found in their 2016 Digital Outlook Report that nonprofits face many challenges in regard to getting a digital strategy in order, and the two biggest are staff shortages and budget restraints. It’s not necessarily that organizations are ignorant to the need to get on board with digital, it’s the lack of resources. According to the 2015 Decision Analyst Study, 78 percent of nonprofits say they could improve their use of technology to receive donations.

The good news is that these challenges are being recognized – and solutions created. Whether it’s actual monetary donations or noncash items (cars, cellphones, unused gift cards), the iDonate Digital Fundraising Platform benefits are two-fold:

  • Today’s donors get great giving experiences that are most convenient for them, be that online, mobile text, or registering for and giving at an event. They can even quickly share socially to get their network involved in your cause.
  • Your nonprofit now has the ability to process both cash and noncash donations seamlessly without creating extra work for your staff.

Take for example, the story of Midwest Food Bank. When they implemented iDonate, they saw online giving quadruple, going from just 2 percent of total donations before adding the option to 8 percent ($320,000 of $4,000,000 in 2014) – and their numbers keep growing. Is your organization making it easy for donors to give? Or are you missing some of your biggest opportunities?

Nonprofits can no longer expect to survive doing the status quo – there are very real challenges in the way; however, they can be conquered with the right tools. Donors’ expectations and needs are growing. In order to stay top of mind (and survive), technology is the key to staying connected to donors. Being relevant, easily accessible and providing a great user experience is the key to raising more money and doing more good in the world

 

About author

Ray Gary

Ray Gary

Ray's experience in launching, building and helping businesses succeed spans nearly 3 decades (though he doesn't look a day over 28 years). Around the office, Ray is well known (and dreaded) as someone who wants the product to be “just perfect” – it might be what he calls a good time. Ray’s experience includes various leadership positions in technology companies and as President of the Venture Capital group of Koch Industries, the nation’s largest private company, where he oversaw numerous technology investments.

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