Online Giving Missing Donor Engagement - Peter Hero
17 August 2009 at 4:10 pm
While online giving is the most exciting development in philanthropy, the whole aspect of donor development, cultivation and engagement is missing from online giving, according to philanthropy expert Peter de Courcy Hero.
Presenting at the Online Giving Marketplaces Conference hosted by the Stanford Social Innovation Review in the US, Hero, a regular visitor to Australia, spoke about opportunities and challenges in online giving.
Hero says that with mobile phones now being used as instruments of philanthropy, there is huge potential for new technologies to raise funds for emergencies, relief funds, and when quick decisions are needed.
However Hero says the whole aspect of donor development, of cultivation, donor engagement and animation – something he found very important during his time as President of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation – is missing from online giving.
Hero says at the centre of the issue is the way wealth has changed in America, as has the behaviour of those with wealth. 50 years ago 40% of all wealth in America was inherited, and today that figure is only 7%, according to Hero, and today 40% of all the wealth in America is in two areas – technology and finance.
Being able connect and develop relationships with this new wealth, of strategic development of philanthropy, is something that Hero views as being missing from online giving.
He says online giving also fails to connect new donors with the results of their giving.
Hero says the challenge for online giving is how to make it sustainable, how to use it to provoke local giving and leverage dollars outside the US.
He said online giving needs to turn donors into investors, rather than customers, so that they give over and over, and develop a connection with the organisation and an understanding of the issues.
Hero is credited with growing Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s assets from US$7 million to over US$1.6 billion during his time as president of the foundation, making it the fourth largest community foundation in the US – now distributing US$3 million a week in grants.
Hero visited Australia in 2007 as part of the tenth anniversary celebrations of the Melbourne Community Foundation and accepted an invitation to serve as a member of the MCF Board.