Although the majority of donations still come from offline sources, online giving has become a significant player in acquiring new donors since it is becoming more and more common for new donors to give their first donation online. As more studies regarding the behaviours and traits of online donors are conducted, we hope to learn more about what factors constitute an online donor so that we may adjust how to target and acquire them.




Fact: The majority of online donors are younger than offline donors.


Online giving is a popular channel amongst those 64 years old and younger. In the ranges of ages 18-24, only 1% give online, but 0% gives via direct mail. This increases to 12% online vs. 3% direct mail between the ages of 25-34 and spikes with 22% and 24% of 35-44 year olds and 45-54 year olds donating online respectively. Only 9% of 35-44 year olds and 14% of 44-54 year olds donate using direct mail. Between ages 55-64 years is when things look like they are almost evening out between online and direct mail donations, 25% donate online while 23% donate via direct mail.




Fact: Online donors are wealthier and much more generous with their donation when compared to their offline counterparts.


The online donor is typically from a higher income household in comparison to offline, direct mail acquired donors. The $75,000-$100,000, $100,001-$145,000, and greater than $145,000 household income brackets all predominantly give online vs. offline. The dividing point is the $50,001-$75,000 household income bracket. Approximately 21% of this bracket donate online and 21% donates offline via direct mail. The donors in the $50,000 and less household income bracket give offline via direct mail predominantly. On average online donors will give a larger gift per donation. New online donors give $62 while new offline donors give $32.




Fact: In the long run, online donors have much greater cumulative value in comparison to offline acquired donors.


The downside of online donors is that they tend to give one-time, large donations and disappear. They don’t convert over to other giving channels naturally and they are not loyal to any one particular cause. However, if your charity can use direct mail and other tactics to convert online donors into offline, long-term, multichannel supporters, then you will reap the benefit of these converted supporters because they tend to give much more over a long period of time when compared to offline acquired donors. For example, online donors acquired originally in 2007 gave on average $79 for that year while the offline donors gave on average $30. Fast forward to 2010, the converted online donor gave $128 while the offline donor gave $63.


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