Online giving is up across all channels. For instance, online giving overall is up 16%, social giving is up 20%, and giving through branded charity websites is up an impressive 36%.
Average gift size grew, including a 90% jump in the average size for social giving. The average is now just under $100.
I think the simple take-away here is that online giving is growing – and will probably continue to grow – in importance relative to conventional charitable giving channels. I wouldn’t dump the direct mail program yet, but I’d guess that having a robust online presence is going to be increasingly important for most nonprofits.
The nonprofit world truly is in a state of flux. Much of what used to work doesn’t anymore. The need to invest in growing ass-kicking staff and to develop sustained organizational capacity has never been greater, yet the difficulties of doing so are growing as quickly as the need. In The Nimble Nonprofit we cover a wide range of what we believe are critical challenges facing the nonprofit sector:
cultivating a high-impact innovative organizational culture;
building and sustaining a great team;
staying focused and productive;
optimizing your board of directors;
creating lasting relationships with foundations, donors, and members;
remaining agile and open; and
growing and sustaining a nimble, impactful organization.
We mean for The Nimble Nonprofit to be a guide – an unconventional irreverent, and pragmatic guide – to succeeding in a nonprofit leadership role, and to tackling this incredibly challenging nonprofit environment. We aimed for a conversational, practical, candid, and quick read instead of a deep dive. If you want to immerse yourself in building a great membership program, or recruiting board members, or writing by-laws, there are plenty of books that cover the terrain (and some of them are quite good).
But if you want the no-nonsense, convention-challenging, clutter-cutting guide to the info you really, really need to know about sustaining and growing a nonprofit, well, we hope you’ll check out The Nimble Nonprofit.
This is our first book, and the publishing industry is a state of disarray, so – following the spirit in which we wrote the book – we are taking an unconventional path. We decided to publish strictly as an e-book, and we decided to self-published (with a bunch of help from Ted here at Bright+3). We are offering the book through the big three e-bookstores (Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble, and we might add a few more to the mix), and we’ve priced the book at $4.99, which is much less expensive than the vast array of other nonprofit books.
As of right now, the book is available on Amazon (and it’ll hit the other two stores shortly). If you’d like to score a copy of The Nimble Nonprofit and enjoy reading it on your Kindle, iPad, or another tablet, jump on Amazon and grab it (did I mention it’s only $4.99?).
We suspect that most readers will agree with some of what we argue and disagree with other parts, and because we challenge much of the conventional wisdom about building strong nonprofits, we’re pretty sure that some folks will disagree with a lot of what we write. And we look forward to the conversations. Please send us your thoughts, critiques, comments, and ideas
Tell us where you think we’re wrong and where we’ve hit the nail on the head, and please share with us other examples of nonprofits doing a great job of tackling these challenges and where they are just getting it wrong.
According to a late-2011 Parks Associates survey, as Mashable reported last week, women are more likely than men to buy laptops, tablets, and smartphones. The study also found that women are playing video games on consoles like Xbox and Playstation in increasing numbers and are more likely than men to enjoy multi-player social gaming and playing games on Facebook. This probably has some implications for nonprofit strategies on technology, mobile, and social media, but the more obvious implication is yet another reminder that gender stereotypes often don’t hold up well to actual evidence.
December means the end of the year is upon us and for nonprofits (or, more notably their members and email subscribers) it’s high season for email traffic. The end of the year is a critical time for fundraising. By some measures, up to 30% of donations (online, at least) come at the end of the year. For example, Network for Good has reported that over 30% of their annual online donation processing happens in December. Online gifts in December tend to be larger. These are just a couple stats in Network for Good’s recent Holiday Guide for companies partnering with organizations (worth the read – PDF).
You will see more email than ever this December, especially the last couple weeks of the month, as organizations try to cover all their bases and leave no stone unturned. It can be overwhelming for subscribers but, like political ads on TV, lots of email works. People give to organizations they love AND know about. If they don’t think of you when making those year-end donations, even if they like what you do, you will miss out.
How do we build awareness (and passion), increase the tempo of messages and make people happy, not grumpy, about all this email?
Nonprofits and small businesses that count on communicating with members, donors and customers with their website and email list (which would be, yeah, pretty much all organizations) are trying to figure out if, how and why they should focus on mobile platforms.
A recent report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project titled Smartphone Adoption and Usage provides data that makes a strong case that organizations should be working smartphone platforms into their communications resource and strategy plans. Now.
About 40% of American adults own a smartphone
We all recognize that cell phone use is pervasive. But there are dozens if not hundreds of varieties of phones and the majority do not readily access the internet.
This is changing quickly, however. The Pew report found that 35% of adults surveyed said they own a smartphone while 39% say they have a phone that operates on a smartphone platform (Blackberry, Android, iPhone, Windows, Palm). Forty-two percent answered yes to one of the two questions (do you use a smartphone and/or does your phone use a smartphone platform).
Smartphones most highly used by audiences critical to nonprofits
Smartphones are highly used in age groups that most nonprofits try hard to reach: people 30 to 50 years old, middle or upper income and well-educated. A couple relevant nuggets of data:
45% of 30 to 49 year olds have a smartphone (and 52% of 18-29 year olds);
Smartphones are used by 59% of Americans with household incomes of $75,000 or more (use drops as income drops: 22% of Americans w/ household income under $30k use smartphone); and
48% of college grads have smartphone.
We suspect that smartphone use in typically white-collar demographics may be driven by people using employer-provided phones but this wasn’t covered in the Pew report.
Smartphone use strong amongst minorities
Lest one think that smartphones are the domain of wealthy white guys, 44% of black and latino adults are smartphone owners compared with 30% of whites. This tracks, perhaps, with a general trend of smartphone adoption being highest in urban and suburban areas. In some cases, minorities have been earlier adopters of text messaging and relied upon cell phones (and now smartphones) for general phone communications and internet access.
Smartphone users are checking email and browsing the web
Not surprisingly, people are doing much more than making phone calls with their smartphones. Organizations should consider, however, the frequency with which users access the web and check email on their phones. As smartphones become a more fundamental way for people to perform online tasks, the organizations that provide the best user experience with mobile web and email will be best able to communicate.
In typical day, 68% of all smartphone users go online with their phone (access internet or check email). Amongst 30-49 year old smartphone owners, 71% access the internet daily with their phone (meaning that about 1/3 of all 30-49 year old Americans check email or access the internet on a smartphone each day). Interesting to note that a full quarter of smartphone users do most of the online work with their phone:
25% of all smartphone owners (regardless of whether or not they use the internet on their device) do most of their online browsing on their mobile phone.
Of all smartphone users, younger and lower income users are more likely to access the internet mostly with their phone. These people, especially low income users, are less likely to have other computers and/or broadband at home.
Next steps for organizations
This report is far from the only one indicating that mobile web and email use is rising to the point of being a standard way that people get online. Recent articles from ReturnPath, Campaign Monitor, Comscore and Nielsen are worth a look.
Many organizations look at mobile and start thinking about SMS/text messaging and apps. Both cool and have their place but the place to start might be where most people, as data indicates, are already at: browsing the web and checking email on their phones.
Start by optimizing your email for mobile devices. We took a look at that a couple weeks back with some tips and resources. If your organization is working on or looking ahead to a website redesign then work mobile into the mix. It’s not necessary to create a separate mobile site though that’s possible. Minimally, work with a team that understands how to optimize code so that it presents well on mobile devices. Make it a point of discussion in the project.
It’s time to get going, though. The opportunity costs are rising. Don’t assume that your audience will just wait until they get home to read your email or check out your web pages.
You get little time to make an impression when a reader sees your subject line in their mobile email program. Make it clear, inviting, snappy. Enough to give the reader a reason to open it (or at least not delete it).
Clear text, link and call to action early in the message body. Make it easy for the reader to get the point, act and move toward conversion.
Landing pages should be mobile-friendly. This may take the most work for many nonprofits. If a form, think simple layout.
For most organizations, the heart and soul of communications is the email list. Email is the 800 pound gorilla, the elephant in the room, the big kahuna. Email goes direct to the inbox, our online strategy metrics are led by terms like open rate and clickthroughs, and online fundraising campaigns depend on email marketing. Moreover, email is growing and generally has a strong return on investment.
Today, “mobile” is receiving lots of attention. And for good reason. It was recently reported that one in three Americans owns a smartphone. Some sources are indicating that more people will own smartphones than traditional cellphones by 2012. Add tablets into the mix and its clear that people are quickly adopting mobile computing.
A recent post in the blog emailmonday provides a solidly thorough rundown of mobile email stats including this one: right now about 10% of email opens are happening on a mobile device.
I’ll argue, though, that the quickest and most cost-effective place to focus your mobile strategy is your email.
Your email? What? That’s not mobile? Mobile is apps. Right? Angry Birds on your iPhone or getting people to read your Facebook page updates on their phone. Maybe mobile is a version of your website that looks good on mobile devices (which it is to some extent and we’ll get to that below but much or most mobile traffic is coming from your emails).