Inspiring Giving in a Digital Age

by: Kaitlyn Hoyer

A look into nonprofit trends

In an increasingly digital age, nonprofit organizations and businesses alike will have to shift to being more digitally friendly. Nonprofits are currently the fourth largest industry in California, with over 72,000 501(c)(3) public charities in the state. When it comes to winning over the donation of an individual, that makes for a lot of competition and having a tech-forward approach will help you reach out to more potential donors while still connecting with your current audience.

Here’s how your nonprofit can embrace digital and expand this year!

Leverage Your Social Media Platforms1

This may seem redundant, but social media cannot be left by the wayside. Social media is one of the best places to influence donations while reaching followers and attracting new audiences.

The issue? Only 3% of charities rate their board and executive leadership as being digitally savvy. It’s time to get on it!

Social media success stats:

  • 55% take some sort of action after being exposed to a charity on social media
    • 59% donate money
    • 53% volunteer
    • 52% donate clothing, food, other items
  • 75% of Instagram users take action, such as visiting a website or making a purchase after looking at an Instagram advertising post.
  • 18% of donors worldwide have given through Facebook

The Big Daddy: Facebook

With over 3 billion monthly active users worldwide and 214 million in the United States, Facebook is an important platform for nonprofits to reach large audiences they can’t reach elsewhere. Facebook advertising also offers targeted ads, so marketers can reach their ideal demographics. Facebook is viewed as the most important social media platform by nonprofits. Eighty-four percent of users will share to show support for a cause.

Up and Comer: Instagram

Instagram just hit 1 billion users worldwide and 105 million of those in the United States Instagram is becoming one of the most used social media outlets by people 18-34.

Trends in Online Giving

Electronic/ Mobile Giving2

Electronic and mobile giving is increasing and will only become more prevalent -- from 2016 to 2017, online giving grew 23% with an average online donation of $128. Those who gave online through an email prompt, contributed to 26% of online revenue.

Offering mobile and electronic giving features on your website makes it easier for your supporters to give a donation. This response rate increases when your donation page is branded, carrying your message and connection to the donor all the way to the bank. It’s also important to keep connecting with web page visitors to influence them to come back; you can do this through remarketing.


You might have seen more and more GoFundme and Indiegogo campaigns popping up on your Facebook timeline, and that's because they work. If your organization has a specific program or project to fund, a crowdfunding campaign may be the right medium.

  • Those 24-35 more likely to participate in crowdfunding
  • Avg amount nonprofit crowdfunding campaign raises: $9,237.55
  • 71% of Millennials have fundraised for a nonprofit; 28% become repeat donors

Targeting Your Audience

Who’s Donating3,4

  • 72% of Boomers give to charity, donating an annual average of $1,212 across 4.5 organizations
  • 55% of Gen Xers give to charity, donating an average of $921 across 3.8 organizations
  • 84% of Millennials give to charity, donating an average annual of $481 across 3.3 organizations

Understanding Generational Marketing

Different generations have different influences and respond to different approaches. Here is some information about each generation that can guide your message.

Baby Boomers (age 54-74)4

Individuals that value hard work and are value-driven. They tend to be self-reliant and goal-oriented.
• Answer voice calls, check email regularly, and also use text messaging and social media.
• Slow to adopt new technology, but take to it quickly once they do.
• 24% say they were prompted to give an online donation because of direct mail they received.

Gen X (age 39-53)3

Individuals that are generally skeptical, highly educated, and family oriented.
• Prefer text messages or voice calls. These donors regularly check email and stay up to date on social media feeds.
• Email prompted 31% of online donations made.

Millennials (age 24-28)4

Individuals with a strong sense of community and global consciousness. Typically characterized as being confident, tolerant, and entitled.
• Active on their phones, respond to text messages and social media
• Rarely check personal email or respond to voice calls
• Most likely to contribute to work sponsored initiatives, donate via mobile and watch online videos before making a gift
• 47% gave through an organization's website in 2016

Inspiring through content

Determine your audiences and develop “personas” that you want to appeal to. Then, when creating marketing materials, you want to be sure you are appealing to your target audience's emotions. Seeing a run-of-the-mill ad won’t inspire people to contribute to your organization. If you make an emotional connection with your audience, however, you will catch their attention and inspire them to keep up and share your organization’s content on social media! Keep your audience engaged by finding new ways to spread your message and tell your story. Be creative, be authentic, be human.

Use Video5

Videos are a great way to capture an audience’s attention and inspire them to donate. People want to watch interesting content, and your organization could provide it and gain traction from it. Tell them a story, teach them something, anything so long as it is relevant to your organization.

  • 64% say watching a video has influenced a purchase
  • 43% say they want more video content
  • Crowdfunding campaigns with videos raise 150% more


Most Shocking Second a Day Video
The Chokeables

Engage on Social Media

Social media is a great place to connect with all of your target audiences.

  • Connect with millenials on Instagram by finding influencers to support your cause. Create stories by showing events in real time with quality images.
  • Connect with Boomers and X-ers through Facebook. Use relevant content, always use images when posting, and speak directly to your audience!

Update Your Website

If your marketing and messaging succeeds people will want to know more about your organization they will end up on your webpage, so make sure your website is updated to accommodate.

  • Have links to social media on every page
  • Place donate button in upper right, in color, on every page
  • Engage with an e-newsletter

The Verdin Team hopes that this information will help your organization find even more success. Did any of these tips help you specifically? Let us know on our Facebook page!



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