Monday, March 24, 2008

Stop Emailing and Start Listening: New Survey on Donor Interests

Sea Change Strategies, a fund-raising consulting company in Takoma Park, Md., just announed findings from a survey it conducted along with Convio, an Austin, Tex., company that provides Web-based software for nonprofit groups, and Edge Research in Arlington, Va., which does research and polling for nonprofit organizations.

The study finds that wealthy people want to increasingly give online, according to

The survey was based on data from 3,443 donors who had made gifts of at least $1,000 to a single cause in the past 18 months and donated an average of more than $10,896 per year to charities.

Sixty-four percent of the donors were age 45 to 64, and 57 percent had incomes of at least $100,000. The donors’ names were provided by 23 organizations that represent an array of causes, including advocacy groups, health organizations, international relief groups, public television stations, and Christian ministries.

Among the key findings:
  • Four out of five donors said they had made a charitable gift online, and a little more than half, 51 percent, said they prefer to use the Internet for their donations. Some 46 percent said that they expect to make a greater percentage of their charitable gifts online within the next five years.
  • Fifty-six percent said that charities send too many e-mail messages, and 47 percent said they do not read as many messages from charities as they did in the past.
  • Seventy-four percent said it’s inappropriate for a charity to obtain their e-mail address from a commercial database, while 82 percent said they don’t think it’s right for charities to send them messages about another organization.
  • Ninety-two percent of donors like getting year-end tax receipts by e-mail, while 83 percent want to get electronic updates on a charity’s finances and spending. Seventy-four percent said e-mail messages are appropriate when notifying donors that it’s time to renew an annual gift or to explain how a donation has been spent.
  • Eighty-one percent of donors dislike messages that take an urgent tone in seeking a repeat donation.
  • Forty-six percent of donors said the charity’s messages do a good job of making them feel connected to the organization, whil 43 percent said the messages are well-written and inspiring.

In case you're wondering, the picture is not really related to this article. I just found it when I Googled "older donors," and thought it was hilarious.