This Isn’t Your Grandma’s Online Fundraising

The online donation form is now a teenager. The late 1990s saw the rise of ecommerce and along with it the first few philanthropic forms to accept donations on the internet. From those first few clicks to the latest multichannel campaign, online giving has continued to grow and change the nonprofit sector.

While online fundraising represents less than 10% of fundraising overall, it continues to grow every year. According to The Blackbaud Index, online giving grew over 13% on a year-over-year basis through November 2013. We also know that online giving has become the first response channel of choice for donors when disasters and other episodic events take place.

Online giving has also been changing while all this growth has been happening. Back in the old days, you had one donation form and it only came in black or white. Now you have dynamic donation forms, mobile friendly forms, peer-to-peer fundraising, gift catalogs, recurring giving, crowd funding, and something that was just developed 30 seconds ago.

All this change means one thing: more change. That’s why Sarah Janczak and David Neff from PwC, Miriam Kagan with Kimbia, and I wanted to do a session at NTC 2014 all about what’s new in online fundraising. We also thought having a creative title would help: This Isn’t Your Grandma’s Online Fundraising. Here are just some of the topics we plan to cover during the 90 minute session.

Where Are We Now

We’ll take a look at the latest trends and statistics in online giving. Where is the growth happening? What’s working? What’s not working? The goal is to set a baseline for how most online giving happens today. We’ll show meaningful and practical data from across the nonprofit sector.

For example, we know today that most online giving is through traditional donation forms. But peer-to-peer fundraising now accounts for a larger percentage and grows every year. Mobile and social are also transforming the online giving experience.

Where Are We Going

What does the future hold for online giving? And we’re not talking about futuristic predictions or crystal ball sorcery. We’ll show real examples of how different nonprofit organizations are changing how they fundraise online. And in the spirit of learning from past failures, we’ll take a look at experiments that didn’t work. The focus will be on new and innovative approaches to raise money online in different ways.

Online giving challenges, crowdfunding projects, giving days, and mud runs are adding a new twist to old school fundraising programs. Nonprofits are experimenting with these new approaches and finding out what works and what doesn’t.

How Do We Get There

This is going to take some change. Some things aren’t going to work. The best practices of today will change tomorrow. We’ll close out the session by talking about practical ways to iterate your way to the future. Real change doesn’t happen overnight, but there are steps nonprofits can take to accelerate the process.

Some assembly is required when it comes to these new online fundraising programs. The good news is that a lot of lessons have been learned that other nonprofits can benefit from. Having some guidance will help you to drive change at your own organization.

We believe that session attendees will get a lot of value from this session. Bring your questions and curiosity. We’ll bring real data, real examples, and real ways to move into the future successfully.

Steve MacLaughlin
Director of the Idea Lab
Steve MacLaughlin is the Vice President of Data & Analytics at Blackbaud and best-selling author of Data Driven Nonprofits. MacLaughlin has been featured as a fundraising and nonprofit expert in The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, and on National Public Radio. MacLaughlin serves on the board of the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) and is a frequent speaker at conferences and events. Steve earned both his undergraduate degree and a Master of Science degree in Interactive Media from Indiana University.