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Top Methods that Encourage Charity Giving: Research Findings

19 August 2014 at 10:13 am
Lina Caneva
New Australian research into social media in the Not for Profit sector has identified the top three methods charities employ to encourage people to give.

Lina Caneva | 19 August 2014 at 10:13 am


Top Methods that Encourage Charity Giving: Research Findings
19 August 2014 at 10:13 am

New Australian research into social media in the Not for Profit sector has identified the top three methods charities employ to encourage people to give.

Monash University researcher Karen Sutherland, who investigates social media and the NFP sector, conducted a survey of 177 current and prospective donors, volunteers and supporters of charities.

She says the top three techniques are giving online, websites and television and collectors at intersections coming in at equal third.

“The significance here is the necessity for Not for Profits to have a website that is user-centric and facilitates the online donation process in a simple way for those trying to give,” Sutherland said.

“These research findings suggest that the way that a Not for Profit represents itself via its website has an extremely strong influence on its ability to convert website visitors into online donors.

“A Not for Profit website needs to provide visitors with a positive experience, inspirational stories of its work and to facilitate online giving as an easy and enjoyable process.

“Not for Profits such as Movember and Charity:Water are only just a few of the organisations that have made this a priority and it clearly shows both on their websites and in their success.”

While social media did not rank in the top three, Sutherland says it remains a relatively new technology that is growing in acceptance as a tool for engagement between Not for Profits and their publics and stakeholders.

“It’s similar to the paradigm shift that occurred with websites and online giving, which now rank highly in the minds of current and prospective donors,” Sutherland said.

“In the meantime, it is integral that Not for Profits never lose sight of social media’s ability to drive traffic to their website.”

The research also found that traditional media and fundraising techniques are still considered within the top three most effective methods to encouraging giving, even with the prominence of digital communication.

“The fact that television is identified in the top three suggests that traditional media still has an important place in the communication mix for Not for Profits, even though paying for air time can be both expensive and may not be deemed as the best use of donated funds,” Sutherland said.

“It also suggests that moving content moves. By this I mean that using moving images such as television, video, animated infographics to tell stories can move the emotions, inspiring people to give and if uploaded to the web (website, YouTube, Facebook etc) can be shared easily with other prospective donors.

“While television may be a stretch unless provided with free CSA time, videos created for digital channels may also be effective in encouraging giving throughout wider networks”

In equal third with television, the study found that tin rattlers at intersections suggests that a human element continues to be an effective approach in encouraging giving, within certain boundaries.

“Tin rattlers may be perceived as less intimidating than “chuggers” or charity muggers (the fundraisers that stop you on the street to sign up to monthly giving). This may be due to the prospective donor being protected by their car and a limited timeframe before the light changes and they have the opportunity to drive away,” Sutherland said.

“In this scenario, giving is a split decision and donors can give any amount that they choose to even if it’s the loose change from their console.”

Read about more of Karen Sutherland’s research into Not for Profits and social media.

Lina Caneva  |  Editor  |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years. She was the editor of Pro Bono Australia News from when it was founded in 2000 until 2018.

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