Network for Good Online Giving Study

Relationship. Relationship. Relationship.

Network for Good just released its 2012 Q4 Digital Giving Index and updated version of The Online Giving Study.

There are a number of good insights, but I find three particularly noteworthy.

Raising funds online is not about technology, any more than raising funds through the mail is about paper. It’s about the relationship between the nonprofit and the donor who wants to support a cause.

Much of the report focuses on a comparison between “charity websites” (and within that, branded and generic sites), giving portals and social giving. As identification with the organization increases, so does giving. This claim is reinforced a number of ways: the greater the connection, the greater the likelihood that the first gift will be larger and the greater the likelihood that there will be additional gifts.


December is the strongest giving month for most organizations offline. It’s even more so online. Further, it’s not just the month of December that’s spectacular, it’s the last couple of days, and even last few hours that make the difference.

Again, a number of very interesting facts to support this claim in terms of initial and repeat gift patterns. More importantly, the study also firmly reinforces the fact that an organization significantly increases the likelihood of a December gift by nurturing a relationship with the constituent throughout the year.

Cumulative giving over time is a key metric for measuring donor relationships. It’s the number nonprofits should heed in order to make the right strategic choices. In the best relationships, a donor gives repeatedly over time, creating rising cumulative value.

Cumulative giving. Or, lifetime value, as the “traditional” direct marketer might say.

And what drives lifetime value?

Greater involvement. Relevant content. Meaningful communication. The same factors that build a stronger relationship.