Online giving continues to grow

Even as the economy began its long slide in 2008, online giving continued its steady climb, a new study says.

Among a group of 12 organizations, online donors increased by a median 39 percent from 2007 to 2008, compared with a decline of 3 percent among offline donors over the same period.

At the same time, online giving still remains a small share of giving overall, accounting for only about one in 10 dollars donated, says the 2008 donorCentrics Internet Giving Benchmarking Analysis from Target Analytics, a Blackbaud company.

Online donors tend to be younger, with a median of 11 percent of donors under age 35, compared to a median of three percent in that age group among offline donors.

They also are newer donors to the organizations they support, with about half of all online donors being new each year.

Online donors to the companies surveyed gave a median single gift that was $27 higher than offline donors during 2008, the survey says, and the gap was even larger for donors who had been giving for more than one year.

However, online donors are harder to retain, with retention rates for online donors falling slightly below those for offline, and new online donors being harder to keep than veterans.

But online donors likely are worth the effort over the long term, given that their average lifetime revenue-per-donor was a median $237, compared to $86 for offline donors.

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