Digital philanthropy: Study shows organizational websites trump social media & giving portals

A landmark U.S. study outlines the most effective approaches to digital philanthropy.

Almost all the charities I work with either have fully developed social media strategies, or plan to develop and implement them in the next year.  Many are wrestling with how to integrate fundraising into all of their outreach and communication efforts. Nowadays, that includes fundraising using social media, as well as using third party websites such as Canada Helps.

A landmark seven –year (2003-2009) U.S. study by the cause marketing organization Network for Good and U.S. fundraising leader True Sense offers some groundbreaking analysis about the most effective approaches to digital philanthropy.

Some of their main conclusions:

  • The majority (over 64%) of charitable on-line giving comes via non-profit websites
  • Donors who give to those non-profit websites give the most over time, and start at the highest level
  • Donors giving via third party giving portals and social networks like Facebook start at the lowest level and give less over time
  • Most giving happens during work hours, especially 9 – 5
  • A third of all giving happens in December; giving also spikes during disasters

The upshot:  solid fundraising strategies tend to be multi-pronged, and there’s no good reason to not use multiple approaches to connecting donor’s values and passions with your organization’s services.  But if your staff or volunteers are strapped for time or skills, clearly your organization’s own website donation portal should be your top focus.

To see the whole study, including easy-to-read charts, see

Author: Suzanne Hawkes

I'm an organizational effectiveness consultant, facilitator and leadership trainer based out of Vancouver, Canada, and working across Canada and the USA

One thought on “Digital philanthropy: Study shows organizational websites trump social media & giving portals”

  1. Hey Suzanne – I remember seeing your blog ages ago, while I was on maternity leave. Now I’m back at my desk, my head is a bit fuzzy, and it is FANTASTIC to review your posts and be inspired by your smart strategic self. Hope all is well with you!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: