Friday, December 9, 2011

Online Giving and Older Donors

A new study by fund-raising consulting firm Dunham + Company out of Plano Texas seems to suggest that donors that are 60 or older are beginning to defy the long-held presumption that they aren’t comfortable giving online.  They found that of the 524 donors who participated in the survey and had made at least one gift of $25 in the past year, 51% of those in the 60 plus age group made their contributions online. Additionally, once these donors gave online they tended to give more frequently than younger donors.
(Link to Dunham + Company Study Article)

Wow!  Or, to quote the study “We believe this study blows some holes in the conventional thinking about older donors and online giving.”

Or does it? Is it problematic that the survey was conducted online? Does this skew the results? I believe to a great degree it must.

Should we temper our enthusiasm for results that are generated by a study that requires that the participant have a level of comfort with the online process to even take the survey?

You betcha!

Nevertheless, there is some validity in the study statement, “This just reinforces the need to apply best practices around integrated, multi-channel communication strategies and give donors options on how they want to fulfill their gift.”

This should apply to all demographics. Make sure the online giving process is clear and simple. And perhaps most importantly, reassure the donor of any age that the transaction is secure.

Giving online, even though it receives a tremendous amount of attention, still pales next to more traditional offline giving. The more we improve the online process, the more donors of all ages will have the confidence to give electronically.

What do you think?


  1. As time goes on, older citizens are finding technology to be friendlier to the tech-novice. I think you will find more seniors more "trusting" of a web browser than a smooth talking donor representative. As long as seniors have a CHOICE, they will gain confidence in online giving. That is what is so frustrating about automated phone mail systems: sometimes you know your problem requires a human being...and the system makes it nearly impossible to get to one. Your only recourse is to stop doing business with the company involved.

  2. Thanks Coach. Providing a multitude of giving "entry points" that serve the various needs of donors is critically important. Ensuring that the process is clear, simple and developed to leverage the unique aspects of each medium will help the charity achieve a successful transaction.