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[RESEARCH] How Has Social and Mobile Media Changed the Way You Donate to Nonprofits?

June 14, 2013

social-fundraising-researchThis blog post officially launches the research stage of writing my second book which will be published and shipped in Spring 2014. A follow-up to Social Media for Social Good: A How-To Guide for Nonprofits, this book will place much more emphasis on using social media and mobile technology for fundraising. That said, I am very curious how social and mobile media is changing the way donors give to nonprofits and if you are a donor, I’d love your feedback in a blog comment below – and I’m sure nonprofits would appreciate it as well.

Below are just a few questions I have ruminating in mind these days. Answer one or answer them all. All comments are appreciated. Finally, if you are comfortable with me using your quote in the book, please say so in your blog comment and tell me how to contact you. Thanks.

  1. Do you give more or less as a result of the rise of social media? Are your donations made more often and smaller? Or more often and larger? What impact has of millions of nonprofits telling their stories through social media had upon your giving?
  2.  Have you donated through text messaging? How do you feel about the process?
  3. Have you ever received a text message from a nonprofit that inspired you to make a donation? How was the donation made? Do you find text alerts from nonprofits annoying or useful and inspirational?
  4. Have you ever donated using a smartphone app or on a mobile-optimized donate page?
  5. If a nonprofit uses PayPal or Google Checkout for donation processing, do you hesitate to donate or are you comfortable donating through PayPal or Google Checkout?
  6. Have you fundraised for a nonprofit online? If so, did the nonprofit train you on how to be a good fundraiser? What motivated you to fundraise? What tool did you use for fundraising? Facebook Causes, Razoo, a tool offered by the nonprofit?
  7. What online messaging tool inspires you most often to give? An email, a Facebook Status Update, a Tweet, a blog post, a slideshow?
  8. When is the last time your wrote a check and mailed it to a nonprofit? Do you open the fundraising appeals sent to you in the mail?
  9. If you are a major donor, what is your preferred method of giving?
  10. Have you ever donated to a nonprofit using a mobile wallet? If so, which service and to what nonprofit?
  11. Age tends to have a big impact on how donors give. If comfortable, please let us know your age and how your giving has evolved over the last 10 years – if at all?
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11 Comments leave one →
  1. June 18, 2013 5:01 am

    This may seem strange but social and mobile media has had no effect on how many like me in India donate to non-profits.
    I am a retired professional and now an independent writer. Every year I set aside a fixed amount as a donation to a charity. During the last two years I have gone to the organization and asked them what they need. They give their requirement and I get it for them within the budget which I have. There is no communication from them and for this reason, this year I have decided to donate to another non-profit.
    Social and mobile media is rarely used by non-profits for reaching out to people. Some organisations sent monthly newsletters and hope it does the work.

  2. Christopher Masak permalink
    June 18, 2013 6:11 am

    1)Not sure “social media” has prompted greater giving from me, but it has increased my awareness of a greater number of issue advocacy groups and nonprofit organizations.

    2 &3)Yes. Text-to-give programs seem exceptionally easy and convenient, but somewhat “disconnected”. Except in the case of emergency response campaigns (ie. post-Katrina) other campaigns have failed to inspire or provide a sense of accomplishment to me as the donor. And many of them seem ill-timed (ex. Why text me on Christmas Day for your end-of-year campaign? I’m clearly busy.)

    4)Yes. “mobile optimized” is a relative term, as some phone browsers are exceptionally good at rendering full-sized donation forms. That being said, it’s very clear when a site is set up to be able to handle traffic from a smartphone/tablet…and I appreciate the effort put forth to optimize donation forms.

    5)I don’t use either of those services.

    6) Yes, via Teamraiser and Kinterathon products. There were “tips and tricks” provided by the nonprofit, but they seemed generic and formulaic.

    7)Email and quality info-graphics/special reports.

    8)What’s a check? 🙂

    9)I wish

    10)No

    11) 34. In general I’ve become thriftier with my donations and now pay greater attention to the responsiveness of the organization I donate to. Do they recognize my donation and follow-up appropriately? Do they use my data to customize interactions or am I just another “Valued Donor”? I’m also growing more fond of crowd-funding platforms (Kickstarter, Kiva, etc) that allow me to bypass much of the overhead and bureaucracy of organizations and put money directly into the hands of the people/entities I wish to support. That’s not to say nonprofits/organizations don’t still have a major role to serve in collecting and distributing resources strategically, but if I view their efforts as wasteful, their campaigns as misguided, their tactics outdated or they are unresponsive to my needs, then I look at other alternatives. Crowd-funding sites occasionally fill the void, though they have their own shortcomings.

  3. June 18, 2013 8:26 am

    Do you give more or less as a result of the rise of social media? Are your donations made more often and smaller? Or more often and larger? What impact has of millions of nonprofits telling their stories through social media had upon your giving?
    I don’t think it’s made a difference for me in quantity that I give. I do give less than I used to, but that’s because I have less money. I will say that I have not given twice because giving online was impossible. Once the donation button led to a bad page and once there was no way for me to either give the amount I wanted or to direct it toward a specific program.

    Have you donated through text messaging? How do you feel about the process?
    Yes, very easy.

    Have you ever received a text message from a nonprofit that inspired you to make a donation? How was the donation made? Do you find text alerts from nonprofits annoying or useful and inspirational?
    No, N/A, N/A

    Have you ever donated using a smartphone app or on a mobile-optimized donate page?
    Yes
    If a nonprofit uses PayPal or Google Checkout for donation processing, do you hesitate to donate or are you comfortable donating through PayPal or Google Checkout?
    Completely comfortable
    Have you fundraised for a nonprofit online? If so, did the nonprofit train you on how to be a good fundraiser? What motivated you to fundraise? What tool did you use for fundraising? Facebook Causes, Razoo, a tool offered by the nonprofit?
    No, N/A
    What online messaging tool inspires you most often to give? An email, a Facebook Status Update, a Tweet, a blog post, a slideshow?
    very occasionally a tweet serves as a good reminder to give to an org I already give to

    When is the last time your wrote a check and mailed it to a nonprofit?
    I pay membership dues through online banking, but I’m guessing the last time I wrote a check for one was in 2005.

    Do you open the fundraising appeals sent to you in the mail? Yes, out of curiosity and sometimes for the free cards or return address labels.

    If you are a major donor, what is your preferred method of giving? N/A

    Have you ever donated to a nonprofit using a mobile wallet? If so, which service and to what nonprofit? No, but I’d be happy to.

    Age tends to have a big impact on how donors give. If comfortable, please let us know your age and how your giving has evolved over the last 10 years – if at all? 40, I don’t remember being afraid of on online giving so I’ve mostly been waiting for the organizations to catch up.

  4. June 18, 2013 9:41 am

    1. I give a bit more by making smaller more frequent donations. It’s not so much the groups telling their stories, but either having friends who work at an organization and helping them out or helping a friend who is raising money for a nonprofit (sponsoring a bike ride).
    2. No. I don’t want any additions to my phone bill that I might forget I put on there.
    3.No.
    4.No.
    5. Perfectly comfortable with Paypal. Haven’t been asked using Google checkout.
    6. I assisted a nonprofit in their fundraising using Razoo (GiveMN). GiveMN provided the training–the nonprofit was relying on me to show them how to do it.
    7. Usually a FB status with a story from my friends telling me why they support the organization.
    8. Years ago. Even my church offering is handled automatically these days.
    9. N/A
    10. No. Hasn’t been an option yet.
    11. 42–it’s slightly increased in part because I have kids who are fundraising. So if friends and family give to our cause, then we feel the need to reciprocate. Also, more of my friends are involved in nonprofits, so I like to support them as well.

  5. June 18, 2013 10:42 am

    I recently spent a full year donating to a different non-profit everyday (366 different organization). 90% of these donations were made online, and I followed up each donation with a tweet and FB post out of curiosity of what type of response I would get from the organization. It was all over the place. I was always surprised at how many organizations had no way to give online or non-functioning donation buttons. I did send in a few checks and call in a few donations when there was no other option. I’ve given through just about every giving platform out there. I like some of them – global giving and razoo in particular stood out to me. I avoided many of the “giving” sites when possible as I’d rather give directly through the organization to lower the administrative costs charged to the donor directly or the organization. I’ve also raised money through Razoo. Even though I’ve been primarily an online donor, and ALWAYS opt out to receive marketing materials in the mail, I still get hundreds (no exaggeration) of pieces in the mail every month (including more return address labels than I’ll ever be able to send in a lifetime). I’ve written about my giving project here -> http://wanderingforgood.com/about/give10/giving-lists/

  6. allison permalink
    June 18, 2013 11:04 am

    1. I still give my standard amount to my standard organizations, but I also give throughout the year to various crowdfunding efforts and emergency response campaigns.

    2 & 3. Any text from someone I don’t know is an intrusion. I made a text donation to the Red Cross after some recent natural disaster but am unlikely to do it again. I would much rather put some thought into a larger donation to a disaster relief org than text a smaller amount in the moment.

    4. yes

    5. As a donor I hesitate with both paypal and google checkout, even though as a development officer I have used both for fundraising campaigns.

    6. no

    7. all of the above

    8. A month ago, as part of an org’s annual fund appeal. I’ll always read a snail mail appeal if it’s from an organization that I already support.

    9. Larger amounts are always by check, because they’re in response to a mail appeal or a personal ask.

    10. no

    11. 45

  7. June 18, 2013 2:56 pm

    1. Probably a bit more. Crowdsourcing and seeing things friends support has influenced me some.

    2 & 3. Nope. I never know what they’ll do with my cell phone if I give. And I don’t know how that number might be used to find out more about me. And I simply don’t really like texts. Those are for family and close friends, not nonprofits.

    4. Yep. I tried an app before but I tend to use Chrome on my phone/tablet. I’m impressed to see mobile optimized but that’s not a deal breaker.

    5. I don’t like PayPal. To me, it seems unprofessional. I know it’s not but that’s my feel. I like Google Checkout alot but I understand they’ve stopped it in favor of Google Wallet.

    6. I’ve been fundraising for almost 20 years. Even raised $100,000 through email back around 2000. Not trained by a fundraiser though…I’m a coach to fundraisers. I used Causes before it was closed. I’m not really impressed by the online offerings out there, but am glad for people like FirstGiving and Razoo trying. As a part of the Global team for Twestival, I’m really glad others have ways to put up pages and get to business quickly.

    7. Email. 90% of the time it’s email. Twitter is a close 2nd… 🙂 As close as the next 10% can be!

    8. I actually wrote a check last week. Annoyed the tar out of me. Why can’t they just include a link to a giving page?! I do open fundraising snail mail. But if I give, I want to give online. I even give my tithes and offerings at church from my smart phone instead of putting it in the basket. 🙂

    9. I have been a major donor. Still prefer giving online.

    10. Nope.

    11. 41 and giving has fluctuated a bit with income but never less than 10% of gross income.

  8. June 18, 2013 3:15 pm

    1. Social media raqises my consciousness of issues and prompts me to either increase or redirect my giving.
    2/3/4 No
    5. comfortable with Google checkout
    6. Yes, facebook causes- tool provided by NFP

    7. email, facebook, tweet, blog
    8. Years ago, rarely
    9. Direct debit, online payment
    10. No
    11. 59- pretty consistent – more a function of circumstances than age

  9. jeng alamares permalink
    June 18, 2013 11:13 pm

    Do you give more or less as a result of the rise of social media? Are your donations made more often and smaller? Or more often and larger? What impact has of millions of nonprofits telling their stories through social media had upon your giving?

    Yes, i am more comfortable now with my donations thru social media. it is safer and frankly speaking, i prefer to be anonymous. so there is no problem because only my cell number is registered.

    Have you donated through text messaging? How do you feel about the process? yes i have. we can choose any amount we want to donate and we dont feel pressured by anyone to donate a specific amount.

    Have you ever received a text message from a nonprofit that inspired you to make a donation? How was the donation made? Do you find text alerts from nonprofits annoying or useful and inspirational?

    Yes. Its for the Philippine National Red Cross. the text message gives simple instructions on how to go about donating and we can choose specific amounts. the Service provider ( we have globe, smart, talk and text, sun cellular) acknowledges the donation and thru television, we see where our money goes.

    Have you ever donated using a smartphone app or on a mobile-optimized donate page? No. i dont have a smart phone.

    If a nonprofit uses PayPal or Google Checkout for donation processing, do you hesitate to donate or are you comfortable donating through PayPal or Google Checkout? i havent tried it yet.

    Have you fundraised for a nonprofit online? NO.

    What online messaging tool inspires you most often to give? An email, a Facebook Status Update, a Tweet, a blog post, a slideshow? mass media, dialogues with social workers and even seeing messages of thanks from advocates.

    When is the last time your wrote a check and mailed it to a nonprofit? Do you open the fundraising appeals sent to you in the mail? everytime theres a typhoon and natural disasters.

    If you are a major donor, what is your preferred method of giving? i woulndt know.

    Have you ever donated to a nonprofit using a mobile wallet? If so, which service and to what nonprofit? NO.

  10. June 19, 2013 7:14 am

    All of these comments are VERY useful. Thank you. Some of them I will want to use in the book. I’ll be in touch.

Trackbacks

  1. [RESEARCH] Is Your Nonprofit Utilizing Text Alerts? | Nonprofit Tech 2.0 Blog :: A Social Media Guide for Nonprofits

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