STUDY: Even the Most Successful Charities Struggle to Raise Money Online


You’d think that most non-profit organizations would have great mobile-friendly tools to help supporters donate as quickly and easily as possible—but according to a study performed by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, that’s not the case. The key point:

“The groups take too long to ask for money, and they make it too hard to give online.”

That sentence flips the main problem faced by e-commerce marketing on its head—and there’s more.

Before we review these numbers, consider the fact that the study included 100 of the Chronicle’s top 400 fundraisers. Among that group:

  • 79% failed to personalize their automated emails
  • 56% did not directly ask for a donation within 90 days of a given user’s sign-up
  • 65% required visitors to click through three or more pages to reach a donation link

It’s true that online donations represent less than 1/10 of all charity giving. Given the percentages above, we’re surprised the number is that high. Maybe the experts advising these charities haven’t heard the news that we live in a digital world now. Or maybe they sat out the 2008 election.

Most importantly, the charities rated as giving users the best “online-giving experience” raised 25% more money than their competitors. One of the top performers, The Environmental Defense Fund, attributes its success to “the fact that its fundraisers used to work in online marketing for big companies.”

Now ask yourself: when was the last time your charity clients (or your clients’ charities) updated their websites? Are they mobile-ready? Do they have a well-planned email marketing calendar?


@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.