Online Giving. What will it look like a year from now? I jotted down an abbreviated timeline that captures some of the major developments in online giving, below:
Based on this graphic, I’ve put together my thoughts about online giving trends and technology for 2010. I would love to hear your thoughts on this, as well:
1. Project-based donation solutions.
Organizational online donations will continue, but project-specific donations will be where organizations will see the interest and growth. Nonprofits know that fundraising is personal, specific, and identifiable. Even Causes has recently added the Donor Choices option which allows organizations to preselect donation levels that fund specific projects. Generalized donation portals (Razoo, JustGive, Firstgiving) now highlight specific organizational projects, such as “donate to a women’s self-defense project,” or “build an ice skating rink.” In the coming year, I see the rise of project-specific soliciting, and donation solutions to meet these needs.
2. The rise of niche donation networks.
In recent years, niche networks are also rising and thriving. JGooders (donations to Israeli and Jewish causes) and IsraelGives (donation to an Israeli charity) both launched in 2009. DonorsChoose launched in 2000 to connect donors with classrooms in need. I also view Jokona as a niche network as well – small projects, worldwide. Just as organizations are beginning to solicit donors for specific projects, niche networks will solicit specific types of donors and match them to their ideal projects. In 2010, I think that we will continue to see the rise of new niche donation portals and networks, and the eventual merging of others in the years thereafter.
3. The emergence of cross-platform donation and donation portability.
In the future I see the ability to be able to donate to a specific project or nonprofit organization across many platforms. Giving Impact is a great example of this. Giving Impact is an online website donation tool designed for specific project campaigns. It is similar to the “donate here” button, but with custom dashboard analysis, and integration allowing individuals to “share” donation impact to their Facebook profiles. Giving Impact just announced that they will be offering a Facebook application allowing integration of the Giving Impact tool with Facebook. It is also built with an API so developers can further design/extend this tool.
One other example of this, though not seamless, is the YouTube Nonprofit Program. Participants can create a “call to action” within the video, or a video overlay, to donate off of YouTube. This isn’t a seamless integration, but it allows portability of donations.
Nonprofits want one donation solution that they can port to wherever their stakeholders hang out online. They don’t want to create a zillion donation profiles and projects in order to get to everyone. I’m hoping that the technology and will develops to meet this need, and that we see the rise of cross-platform donation tools, and donation portability such as the tool developed by Giving Impact.
4. The rise of mobile giving.
Mobile charitable fundraising has been growing since 2008. Today, approximately 400 nonprofits are running mobile donation campaigns, the average donation is rising from $5 to $10, and US charities expect to receive a total of $2 million from mobile fundraising in 2009, according to Mobile Marketer. (Two examples of providers of mobile-based giving in the US are Mobile Commons and Mobile Giving.) Mobile giving is growing in acceptance in countries around the world as well. The rising adoption of smartphones, coupled with the mobile familiarity of the millennial generation, makes this is a trend worth watching. The challenge for nonprofits is to creatively think about integrating mobile giving and social media.
5. Cultural acceptance of social network-based giving.
One of the things that I’ve argued is that users on social network sites aren’t culturally used to donating while on a the network. That’s where they discuss life’s issues. However, that’s finally changing. Online donations via Causes on Facebook and twitter rallies have become more popular. In the coming year, I’m predicting the rise of more fundraising options that integrate with social networks. Along these lines, there’s an interesting post by Joe Solomon that considers what a Twitter fundraising tool would look like.
NOTE: I’m updating this blog post (as of December 9) to include a link to the wonderful slide presentation entitled: The Future of Online Revenue Generation for Charities, by Amy Sample Ward. She places it in a slightly different context than I do, focusing on future demand for better processes, relationships (and empowering supporters), leveraging social media, the gift economy, and authenticity. She also includes some great data about online giving trends.
What do you think? Do you agree with me, or disagree? Can you add to this list, or edit it? I’d also love feedback on the graphic above!