Despite Difficult Economy US Online Holiday Giving to Exceed $3 Billion

Convio Report Shows More than 89 Million Online Adults Plan to Give; Online Giving Levels Join Traditional Channels as Mission-Critical Factor in Fundraising Mix

Convio, Inc the leading provider of on-demand constituent relationship management (CRM) software and services for nonprofit organizations estimates that US online giving to nonprofit organization will be more than $3 billion during the holiday season of 2008. A survey conducted by JupiterResearch, a Forrester Research company, reveals that in the US more than half plan to donate to charities of their choice during the upcoming holiday season via the Internet. There are approximately 175 million adults in the US who are using the Internet. Nearly 7 out of 10 people surveyed plan to give the same amount or more, while the current state of the economy will lead 33 percent to give less to charity this holiday season. Despite the challenges of the economy online giving levels have surpassed the tipping point in being a critical component for the overall nonprofit fundraising mix.

“Consumers continue to go online in growing numbers to learn about, engage and support nonprofit organizations,” said Gene Austin, CEO of Convio. “With consumer dollars being tight and the competition for donations growing, the efficiency and effectiveness of the Internet as an engagement, communication and giving platform continues to grow in importance for donors and organizations alike. While still smaller in total dollars raised, it is clear that online giving has joined traditional channels as mission-critical part of the giving mix.”

For the first time Convio commissioned JupiterResearch to add questions about online support for nonprofit organizations during their annual US Online Retail Consumer Survey. The study was fielded from September 17 to 24, 2008, thus factoring in some of the challenges of the current state of the financial markets and economy.

"More than 50 percent of online consumers say that they plan to donate via the Internet during the 2008 holiday season,” said Vinay Bhagat, Chief Strategy Officer and Founder of Convio. "This level of online support shows that nonprofits of all sizes need to make sure that their web sites and other electronic communications meet consumer expectations. It is also important to make sure that traditional appeals such as direct mail, television and events provide people with the option to give online. If it is difficult to give to your organization online consumers will find an alternative."

Based on the survey, results from the Convio client community and reported historic results from the nation’s top 200 nonprofits as reported online by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Convio analysts are able to estimate that those consumers will donate more than $3 billion online during the holiday season (November 1 through December 31, 2008). As a result, nonprofits need to make sure that their efforts to attract supporters via their web site and other electronic communication mediums are inspiring, engaging and move people to support their organization.

Holiday giving priorities

For the US consumer, helping other people through human and social services organizations such as food banks and homeless shelters will be the top priority during this holiday season with 41 percent of the people expecting to support that type of organization. Thirty-four (34) percent of consumers will support faith-based organizations, followed closely by disease and health service organizations with 33 percent. Consumers also cited animal welfare organizations and disaster and international relief organizations as expected recipients, with 24 and 22 percent respectively.  Women plan to donate more than men 54 percent versus 48 percent. Most likely to donate online are those age 45-54 (55 percent) and those with incomes of $100k+ (64 percent). When it comes to donating more online this year than last, more than 15 percent of Blacks/African Americans and Asians said they planned to do so; the highest of all individual ethnicities. Forty-five (45) percent of women planned to give to a human or social service compared to 35 percent of men.

“In this year-end giving season the Internet can serve as a cost-effective and efficient medium to reach audiences while providing nonprofits more flexibility to adjust to the changing market and to provide more timely access to news and information on their needs and how they are fulfilling their mission,”  added Austin. “By combining a strong online presence and integrating offline and online appeals nonprofits can still be successful in their year-end giving campaigns.”

The most useful online tools for making giving decisions

The charity’s web site is the most useful tool among those who plan to donate online this holiday season (27%), followed by email appeals sent from family and friends (15%).  Charity evaluator sites also play a role for 10 percent of online adults in their decision making process. Some respondents commented that existing relationships with organizations helped in that decision to donate.

“Nonprofit organizations make up a significant part of the US economy,” explained Austin, "We believe it is import to provide this first of its kind insight to the nonprofit community as well as ideas on how the Internet along with cross channel messaging and promotions can help them engage supporters and raise money."

Additional findings from the research and a paper on "What nonprofits can do now to make the year-end/holiday giving season more successful" are immediately available to Convio clients in the Convio Client Community. Other nonprofit organizations can get a copy of the paper by registering at www.convio.com/holiday2008.

About Convio

Convio is the leading provider of on-demand constituent relationship management (CRM) software and services that give nonprofit organizations a better way to inspire and mobilize people to support their organization. The company’s online marketing suite offers integrated software for fundraising, advocacy, events, email marketing and web content management, and its CRM system, Convio Common Ground™, helps organizations efficiently track and manage all interactions with supporters. All Convio products are delivered through the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model and are backed by a portfolio of best-in-class consulting and support services and a network of partners who provide value-added services and applications focused on the unique needs of nonprofit organizations.

Convio clients include nonprofit organizations, Institutions of Higher Education, Associations and Faith-based organizations around the world such as American Red Cross, American Diabetes Association, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Humane Society of the United States, Easter Seals, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, Sierra Club, and National Public Radio. For more information, please visit www.convio.com.

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

Despite Difficult Economy US Online Holiday Giving to Exceed $3 Billion | Convio