Understanding Donor Behavior: Insights from FirstGiving 2007 - 2010

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The first comprehensive study of FirstGiving donors and fundraisers from 2007 through 2010. The presentation includes insights and trending about who gives to online fundraisers, the timing of …

The first comprehensive study of FirstGiving donors and fundraisers from 2007 through 2010. The presentation includes insights and trending about who gives to online fundraisers, the timing of donations throughout the year, which types of nonprofits receive the most donations, how much money FirstGivers raise, and the demographics of FirstGiving donors and fundraisers.

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  • Regular peak is week 25 at $63.11Begins to rise again at week 42 and goes through week 53: $92.49Total donations and donation count by week mirror the monthly totals
  • Week 53 = 12% of all the year’s direct donations
  • 3am is the lowest count of direct donors


  • 1. Understanding Donor Behavior
    Fundraising insights 2007 - 2010
    Presented February 17, 2010
  • 2. How This Webinar Works
    A link to the slides and a recording will be sentafter the webinar
    If you’d like to ask a question during the webinar, you can type it in the box on the right side of your screen
    Use the hashtag #fgwebinar to tweet about this webinar
  • 3. Next Webinar March 30, 201110am PST/1pm EST
    The Power of Like: Understanding Facebook Plugins and other Social Sharing Tools
    Register for the webinar at http://bit.ly/gVZuB4
    See our blogwww.OnlineFundraisingBlog.comfor a complete list of past and upcoming webinars
  • 4. About the presenters
    Andrew Urban
    Head of Sales and Business Development
    Debra Askanase
    Community Engagement Manager
  • 5. Who is FirstGiving
    82% - the average year over year increase in online donations a nonprofit sees that utilizes FirstGiving
  • 6. Fundraising solutions
    Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Pages
    and Event Registrations
    Donor Analytics and Market Research
    Online Donations
    Personal Support for your nonprofit, donors, and fundraisers
    Easy, tested, andsecure transaction processes for the donor
  • 7. Webinar Overview
    Event and direct donor trends 2007 – 2010
    When donors give
    Amounts and frequency of donations
    Where donors give
    Demographics and donor activity
    The Future of Online Fundraising
    FirstGiving Insights Donor Profile Report
  • 8. The 10,000 foot view
    Event and direct donation trends
  • 9. Total event donations 2007 – 2010: 130% growth
  • 10. Total direct donations 2008 – 2010: 175% growth
  • 11. Number of event donations over time
  • 12. Average event donation
    2.9% growth
    *overall event average donation is $51.38
  • 13. Grassroots events receive larger average donations
  • 14. Average direct donation 2008 - 2010
  • 15. Donation Trends Takeaways
    Overall online event donation dollars grew 27% in 2010, and 130% from 2007 - 2010
    Overall direct donation dollars grew 59% in 2010, and 175% from 2007 - 2010
    Average event donation dropped in 2009 with the economy but average direct donation did not
    Encourage direct donations
    Grassroots event average donations are higher than for official events
    Encourage fundraisers to create grassroots events!
  • 16. The 5,000 foot view
    When donors give
  • 17. Event donors are driven by events
    *total number of event donations mirrors the monthly totals
  • 18. Direct donors are driven by tax incentives to give
    28% of all annual direct donations are given in December
  • 19. Average event donations are highest in the summer and December
  • 20. Average direct donations are highest in November and December
  • 21. Event donations by the week: the week of the year affects the donation amount
    *calculated on a 53 week year
  • 22. Last week of the year is the most popular direct donation week
  • 23. Most donate Mon – Fri to event pages
  • 24. Most direct donors give during the work week
  • 25. Most event donors give from 9am to 3pm
  • 26. …but event donation amounts are highest in the middle of the night
    * Central Standard Time
  • 27. Weekend donors give more to event pages
  • 28. Most direct donors give from 8am - 4pm
  • 29. A great time to ask direct donors is 5pm CST
    *times are in CST
  • 30. Timing of Donations Takeaways
    Event and direct donors give more generously the last month of the year:
    Event donation Dec average is $69.86
    Direct donation Dec average is $140.34
    Last week of the year:
    Event donor average donation is $92.49
    Direct donor average donation is $228.86
    Think about creating an event in December!
  • 31. Timing of Donations Takeaways (2)
    Send reminder donation emails during the week and sometime Friday – Sunday Weekend donors are more generous
    Ask direct donors to give before Wednesday
  • 32. The 1,000 foot view
    Amounts and frequency of donations
  • 33. 99.72% of all donations are less than $1,000
  • 34. Furthermore, most event donors give less than or equal to $100
  • 35. Popular event donation amounts
  • 36. The majority of total event and direct dollars donations are equal to or less than $100
    Primarily in $25, $50, and $100 increments
    = 55% of the total dollars raised 2007 – 2010
    Most online donations are less than $1,000
  • 37. Most direct donors give in $25, $50, and $100 amounts
  • 38. However, direct donors will give large donation amounts online
    Five donors gave $5,000
    Single donations of $9,000, $7,500, $6,200 and $6,000 appear
    Two donors gave $10,000
  • 39. Breakdown of common donation amounts from $101 to $1,000
  • 40. Donation Amount Takeaways
    Encourage fundraisers to ask for specific donation amounts of $25, $50, and $100
    Consider setting up projects that can be funded for these amounts ($50 buys a week’s worth of food for one person)
    Don’t be afraid to ask for higher amounts: $200 is the most popular amount over $100
  • 41. Donation amount takeaways (2)
    People ARE willing to give large sums online but the overall percentage, however, is small
    Large dollar donors could bring in a significant percentage of overall revenue
    Know your donor base, and what amounts to ask for
  • 42. Most donors give only once
  • 43. More than 12 donations/year…it’s a very long tail
  • 44. In general, repeat event donors donate at higher amounts
    *event donations 2007 - 2010
  • 45. Donor Frequency Takeaways
    Most donors are unique. They probably donate because a friend asked them to Huge opportunity to turn one-time donors into regular fundraisers
    Those who give at least twice a year, give more generously
    How can you turn unique donors into loyal repeat donors?
  • 46. The 500 foot view
    Where donors give their dollars
  • 47.
  • 48. Higher average donations from community Improvement, Medical Research, and International NTEE category donors, lowest from Animal-related donors
    *most popular NTEE categories had at least 10,000 donations per category
  • 49. Community Improvement, Human Services receive highest average direct donations
  • 50. Largest average donations go to grassroots events
    *walk and running are the two most popular event types on FirstGiving
  • 51. Donor Dollars Takeaways
    Encourage grassroots fundraisers, which tend to bring in much higher average donations!
    If your nonprofit category does not receive high average donations, plan more events and/or encourage grassroots fundraisers
    Use NTEE average donations to set fundraising event goals
    Consider partnering with other NPOs that receive higher average donations, or more yearly donations
  • 52. The 100 foot view
    Demographics and donor activity
  • 53. 40-49 year-olds donate the most to events
  • 54. But donors age 64+ give more, on average
  • 55. Event donors with HH Donor income between $50K - $125K, $250K give the most dollars to events
  • 56. Average event donation increases with HH income
  • 57. Demographics Takeaways
    Most donors and fundraisers are over age 30
    The higher the household income, the higher the average donation
    Household income of FirstGiving fundraisers is primarily between $50,000 and $125,000
    Event donors age 65+ give higher average donations online (online donors are not all young!)
    Direct donors, as a whole, tend to be younger than event donors
  • 58.
  • 59. FirstGiving Insights
    Uses data from Experian ® and Donor Trends
    Identifies the hidden philanthopic potential and interests of your donors
    Offers analysis of key demographic and giving trends from amongst your nonprofit donors
    Paid report specifically identifies your donors, segmenting them into FirstLeaders, FirstGivers, and reveals their charitable gifts
  • 60.
  • 61.
  • 62. Applying Trends to the Future of Online Fundraising
    Emphasize online fundraising in your fundraising plan: this segment continues to grow yearly, both peer to peer and direct
    Partner with your fundraisers to create grassroots fundraising opportunities: receive higher average donation amounts
    Target donation amounts: targeting specific donation amounts that occur naturally, and suggested amounts
  • 63. Applying Trends to the Future of Online Fundraising
    Unique donors: missed opportunity not capturing them and turning them into repeat donors
    Targeting who donates: largest number of donors are in their 40s, earning from $50K to $150K
    Targeting when donations occur: create events in December, remind donors to donate over the weekend
  • 64. Thank you!
    Community Engagement Manager, Debra Askanase
    @askdebra, @firstgiving
    Andrew Urban, Head of Sales
    Sales inquiries: sales@firstgiving.com
    FirstGiving Insights specialist, Debbie Brendemuehl