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New study shows online fundraising appeals to all age groups equally

When reviewing the various new nonprofit fundraising studies and reports every once in a while I stumble upon data that immediately makes me sit upright and pay extra attention because it counters what might be my own preconceived thoughts about the sector or contradict earlier analysis. A new study created by Dunham+Company/Campbell Rinker certainly falls into that category and I think it might just surprise many of you reading also.

According to the study the percentage of donors aged 66 and above who made a donation online in 2014 has doubled from 29 percent in 2010 to 59 percent last year – a quite remarkable increase in just four years no matter what sort of adoption rate one is trying to measure. In fact the report even verifies the opposite of what I know is a widely held notion for many, in that the current rate of 59 percent is virtually identical to the 60 percent figure for those aged 65 and below.

In short it means that the age of a donor now has extremely little if any relationship to their likelihood of making an online donation to a nonprofit. The data itself certainly counters the vast majority if not all studies that I have read and written about over the last half decade. Rick Dunham , President and CEO of Dunham & Company said of the report:

“The trend of older donors giving online has definitely accelerated in the last two years. From our perspective, charities must seriously consider that an older donor is now just as likely to hop on to their website to give as a younger donor. This means charities must do all they can to optimize their website for ease of use as well as streamline the giving process to better serve these older donors, as donors over 60 are a prime demographic for giving.”

After digesting the data I gave it a little thought and in truth the lack of a discrepancy due to age demographics in online giving actually makes quite a lot more sense as opposed to the preconceived stereotypes which could just be based on data that is now out of date.

Consider these facts:

  • the percentage of North Americans who are ‘regularly online’ has increased from 62% to 88% over the last decade
  • the percentage of all visits to websites from mobile devices has increased about seven-fold in five years from 5% to more than 35%
  • the percentage of nonprofit funding donations online are growing at a rate of between three or four times the overall growth rate for the industry annually
  • the percentage of people who have ever made an online donation or mobile donation is growing by about 15 percent each year

In addition to those figures we need to consider the growing mainstream acceptance, trust and use of the internet across all demographics. The point at which 50% of people in North America were ‘regularly online’ occurred about sixteen years ago, when you stop to consider that someone aged 50 at that time is now 66 and someone who was 60 is now 76 it’s easy to understand how such a rapid shift is taking place among the older demographic especially when coupled with the ease of use for newer websites, changing technologies and smartphone/mobile device use.


More important than that though is to update some of our perceptions, especially if you perhaps shared any of my surprise when reading the data in the report. Things are very different today versus five years ago and online fundraising clearly now appeals to all age groups in roughly equal measure.

The entire report also looks at email response rates, social media engagement and other data. Please take the time to read it via this link.

The Dunham+Company study was part of a Campbell Rinker Donor Confidence Survey conducted online June 25-July 9, 2014 among 507 Internet respondents who gave at least $20 in the previous 12 months. Respondents were weighted by age to reflect the general U.S. population per the 2010 census. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.4 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. 

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Miratel Solutions is a Toronto call centreeBusiness, and letter shop mail house specializing in professional fundraising services including PCI compliant inbound telephone fundraisingoutbound telephone fundraisingonline fundraisinglottery fundraising servicesdonation processing and receipting and direct mail fundraising services. We are committed to our CSR business values in all our business decisions  and advancing the missions of the nonprofits we proudly serve.

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One Response to New study shows online fundraising appeals to all age groups equally

  1. Pingback: New study shows online fundraising appeals to all age groups equally | Nonprofit Newswire from Imagine Canada

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