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Older Donors Online Savvy - Survey

7 October 2014 at 9:50 am
Xavier Smerdon
A new US study shows that older donors are now just as likely to give to charities online as younger donors.

Xavier Smerdon | 7 October 2014 at 9:50 am


Older Donors Online Savvy - Survey
7 October 2014 at 9:50 am

A new US study shows that older donors are now just as likely to give to charities online as younger donors.

Donors aged 66 and older are now just as likely to make their contributions to charity online as younger donors, according to a U.S. Dunham+Company/Campbell Rinker study.

The percentage of donors aged 66 and older giving online has increased from 29 percent in 2010, the first year the study was conducted, to 59 percent in 2014.

Infographic showing online giving by generation

“The trend of older donors giving online has definitely accelerated in the last two years,” Rick Dunham, President and CEO of Dunham+Company said.

“From our perspective, charities must seriously consider that an older donor is now just as likely to hop on to their website to give as a younger donor. This means charities must do all they can to optimize their website for ease of use as well as streamline the giving process to better serve these older donors, as donors over 60 are a prime demographic for giving.”

For the first time since the study began, three out of five donors (60 per cent) of all generations have given a gift online.

There was also a significant jump in the percentage of donors who say they gave online in response to an email.

In 2010 and 2012, only six percent and five percent, respectively, gave a gift to a charity’s website because of an email. In 2014, that percentage jumped to 20 percent, with the most likely to respond to such a communication being donors 66 or older (23 per cent).

In 2010, no older donors said they responded to an email by giving an online gift, and in 2012 their response barely registered at seven per cent.

“It is especially critical for fundraisers to note that the 66 and older crowd is the most likely demographic to give in response to an email,” Dunham said.

“That is a dramatic development in online fundraising and should shift how charities think about who receives their online communications.”

The study found that social media continues to register a modest impact on online fundraising; 20 per cent of donors in 2014 said they have responded with an online gift to a social-media request to give – up from 16 per cent in 2010 and 18 per cent in 2012.

When asked their preferred way to make a contribution when they receive a letter in the mail, 53 percent of donors said they preferred to give online.

“This percentage has grown steadily from 38 per cent in 2010 and 50 per cent in 2012. Of interest, in 2010, the preferred method to give in response to a letter was through the mail with 52 per cent saying they preferred this method of giving,” Dunham said.

“The 2014 study shows this has reversed to only 36 per cent preferring to respond by mail and 53 percent preferring to give online.”

Infographic showing online giving in response to a direct mail appealOf the 66 and older generation in 2010, only 15 per cent would give an online gift in response to a letter in the mail. That percentage jumped to 39 percent in 2014.

The Dunham+Company study was part of a Campbell Rinker Donor Confidence Survey conducted online from June 25 to July 9, 2014 among 507 Internet respondents who gave at least $20 in the previous 12 months.

Respondents were weighted by age to reflect the general U.S. population per the 2010 census. (The margin of error is plus or minus 4.4 percent at the 95 percent confidence level).


Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist  |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.

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