Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Study Shows Online-Acquired Donors Switch To Mail, Not Vice-Versa

We hope everyone had a good Memorial Day Weekend!  Now that the holiday is over, we are back again and already there is news to share.  A new article was just published on The NonProfit Times website that features findings from the 2011 donorCentrics Internet and Multichannel Giving Benchmarking Report.  That report found that the majority of donors do not use multichannel giving for their donations. Instead, they are using direct mail or online as their method of giving.  The only donors that do significant multichannel giving are online-acquired donors, and this group has been switching to direct mail in recent years.

This may be somewhat surprising given the popularity of online technology these days, but the report finds that the ability of these online donors to start using direct mail, in addition to their other methods of giving, "significantly boosts the retention and long-term value of this group" beyond what it would be if they used only the online method of giving.  Here are some other findings of the donorCentrics Report:

  • Online-acquired donors are significantly younger and tend to have higher household incomes than mail-acquired donors.
  • Online-acquired donors tend to give much larger gifts than mail-acquired donors.
  • However, online-acquired donors tend to have slightly lower retention rates than mail-acquired donors.
  • Multichannel giving is not ubiquitous. The majority of multichannel donors are those who are acquired online and then subsequently start giving direct mail gifts. This is the only situation in which there are significant numbers of cross-channel donors across all organizations.
  • Every year, large proportions of online-acquired donors switch from online giving to offline sources -- primarily to direct mail. The reverse is not true, however; only a tiny percentage of mail-acquired donors give online in later years.
  • For the large direct marketing organizations participating in the online benchmarking groups, the majority of gifts are still received through direct mail.
This is a really fascinating study and it shows that, despite popular thinking, offline giving is still the backbone of individual philanthropy.  If you want to read the full article, visit NPTimes.com.

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