New Research Shows Internet is Favored Way for Major Donors to Engage with Nonprofits; Reveals Online Expectations of Key Constituency Not Being Fully Met

Tremendous Opportunities Exist for Nonprofit Organizations to Better Engage "Wired Wealthy" Online according to Convio, Sea Change Strategies and Edge Research

The results of a national research study into the online behaviors and attitudes of the "wired wealthy" were announced today by Convio, Sea Change Strategies and Edge Research. The study surveyed more than 3,000 donors from 23 major nonprofit organizations to determine the online behaviors and preferences of one of the nonprofit sector's most important constituents. The "wired wealthy" are identified as individuals who donate a minimum of $1,000 dollars annually to a single cause and give an average of $10,896 to various charities each year, with a median gift of $4,500.

"The main theme that jumped out at us is that major donors — or the wired wealthy as we call them — are very active online with the intention of becoming even more so when it comes to their philanthropic support," said Vinay Bhagat, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer for Convio. "Based on what these important donors told us, we believe a tremendous opportunity exists for nonprofit organizations to better leverage their online presence to improve the online experience of the wired wealthy."

The research study began in the fall of 2007. A variety of nonprofit sectors were represented, including: advocacy/public affairs, animal welfare, Christian ministries, environment, health, international relief and development and public television. The constituency surveyed represented approximately one percent of the participating charities' email files, but accounted for nearly 32 percent of their annual gifts.

"This was a very exciting project to be a part of," said Pam Loeb, Principal for Edge Research who donated their services to conduct the research. "Never before has the sector pulled together to study this donor segment. Until this time, there has been little research done on the online behaviors, experiences and expectations of major donors and the role the Internet and electronic communication plays in their giving process. We believe the results of this research will shed some light on key strategies nonprofits can implement to better serve their constituent base."

Major findings from the research include:

  • Major and mid-level donors are generous and online

    • 80 percent of those surveyed made donations both online and offline
    • 72 percent of those surveyed said donating online is more efficient and helps charities reduce administrative costs
    • 51 percent of those surveyed said they prefer giving online and 46 percent said that five years from now they will be making a greater portion of their charitable gifts online

  • Most charity Web sites are missing opportunities to fully engage wired wealthy with their organization

    • Only 40 percent of those surveyed said that most charity Web sites made them feel personally connected to their cause or mission
    • Only 40 percent of those surveyed said that most charity Web sites are inspiring
    • 48 percent of those surveyed felt most charity Web sites are well-designed

  • Email shows signs of lost opportunities to connect with various donors

    • 74 percent of those surveyed said it was appropriate for the charity to send an email reminding them to renew an annual gift
    • 74 percent of those surveyed said that an email from the charity about how their donation was spent and what happened as a result would make them more likely to give again
    • 65 percent of those surveyed said they always open and glance at emails from causes they support

  • Three distinct groups of donors emerged based on the extent to which the donor sees the Internet as a source of connection between themselves and the causes

    • Relationship seekers (29 percent), which are those donors most likely to connect emotionally with organizations online
    • All business (30 percent), which are those donors not looking for a relationship or emotional connection, but a smooth and simple donation process
    • Casual connectors (41 percent), which are those donors that occupy the middle ground, showing some interest in sustaining an online relationship, but also wanting a smooth and simple process

"We believe this research will fundamentally shift the way some nonprofit organizations approach their relationships with major donors online," said Mark Rovner, Principal of Sea Change Strategies. "Because these constituents have high expectations for their online engagement, the research provides important insight into the ways nonprofits can better connect, motivate and retain these donors. The results of this research will provide a variety of different nonprofit organizations — both large and small — the tools to assess their online strategy and make adjustments where necessary to better capture big opportunities."

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About Convio

Convio is a leading provider of on-demand constituent relationship management software and services to nonprofit organizations to enable nonprofit organizations to more effectively raise funds, influence public policy and support their missions by leveraging the Internet to build strong relationships with constituents. The Company's online constituent relationship management, or eCRM, solution includes a suite of on demand software modules for fundraising, advocacy, email marketing and Web content management complemented by a portfolio of best-in-class consulting services.

Convio's clients include American Red Cross, American Diabetes Association, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Sierra Club, Susan G. Komen Foundation, and National Public Radio. For more information, please visit www.convio.com.

About Sea Change Strategies

Sea Change Strategies is about research and strategy for remarkable causes. Founded in 1999, Sea Change Strategies offers two kinds of integrated marketing and fundraising services for their clients — long-term retainers for "soup to nuts" fundraising and marketing, and short term strategic reviews for organizations in transition, with big ambitions or who just need an infusion of energy and ideas. For more information, please visit www.seachangestrategies.com.

About Edge Research

Edge Research is a full-service custom research firm that helps nonprofits and corporations meet their strategic objectives. They forge strong partnerships with a select number of clients, learn their business and continue to provide smart, insightful research and analysis over time. Edge Research's adaptive approach, full range of services, strategic analysis and personal attention has earned them long term relationships with major corporations and nonprofits across the country. For more information, please visit www.edgeresearch.com.

Press Contact:
Karoline McLaughlin
Director, Corporate Communications
Convio, Inc.

New Research Shows Internet is Favored Way for Major Donors to Engage with Nonprofits; Reveals Online Expectations of Key Constituency Not Being Fully Met | Convio