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Trends in Online Fundraising Ten Years On – UK Study

Monday, 30th June 2008 at 3:39 pm
Staff Reporter
Online fundraising has not allowed charities to throw out the fundraising rule book according to a new study by the UK Institute of Fundraising and

Monday, 30th June 2008
at 3:39 pm
Staff Reporter



Trends in Online Fundraising Ten Years On – UK Study
Monday, 30th June 2008 at 3:39 pm

Online fundraising has not allowed charities to throw out the fundraising rule book according to a new study by the UK Institute of Fundraising and

However, the study has found that the Internet is recognised as a focused, highly effective tool for bringing in additional money and reaching new audiences for those who use it right.

The study found that ten years on the large but often ineffective ‘donate now’ button is still common on so many charity home pages.

As part of the study’s ‘virtual promise survey’ of 107 UK charities it found that online fundraising is highly cost effective raising an average of £10 for every £1 spent on direct costs.

However it found that as a proportion of total voluntary income, online fundraising had less impact totalling just 2% compared to ‘supporter development and retention’ which raised 27% of donations.

The study presents five big trends of online income generation:

Trend 1 – Charities are using the power of their stories online. The advent of blogs and blogging means one of the most powerful tools in the charity toolkit, the people that make the organisation, are now the shining stars. Stories can come from beneficiaries, front-line staff or indeed anyone who conveys their tale with passion, conviction and purpose. Putting these stories online creates great content and compelling messages for prospective and actual donors.

Trend 2 – Charities are engaging first and fundraising second. The internet is now used as a tool for engaging people first – through blogs, emails, forums, interactive games and the whole panoply of web 2.0 functions.

Trend 3 – Social networking is forcing charities to make friends. Social networking is forcing charities to move out of their websites and into the places where people socialise.

Trend 4 – Integration and internal communications are keys to success. Nobody knows quite where to put new media. Is it a communications tool, an IT tool, a fundraising tool or a separate department? The reality is that new media is a multi-purpose tool and – wherever it sits – it is vital that all the different users work together to maximise the coherence and power of the charity’s message. The result of this should be that earning online is part of an integrated whole – linked with and complemented by other web activities. If an organisation puts its uses of the internet in silos it will dissipate the strength of its web presence.

Trend 5 – Multiple income-generating partners are key. The old paradigm of getting people to make credit card donations through a ‘donate now’ button is gradually giving way to a multiple-partnership model. In this approach a charity may offer multiple ways to give and generate revenue. These partnership arrangements are a win/win for charities. They help reach new audiences, give supporters ways to raise money without giving, and are usually low or no cost to set up and can be easily embedded into existing websites.

To download the full report called: Passion, persistence and partnership: the secrets of earning more online go to
(it requires an email address to complete the free download)


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