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How online giving hype is hurting small non-profits

While online giving is indeed growing, the reality is ONLY 7.9 % of donations are made online. This figure is just 4% for colleges and universities. Yes, you read that right: between 92-96% of giving is still made through good old fashioned U.S. Mail.* Yet as gains in online giving make headlines, non-profits are buying into the hype, and cutting the frequent and consistent direct mail programs that have attracted and retained their most loyal donors. 

Pressure to move resources online is often budget-based. “Saving money” on printing and postage looks extremely appealing compared to tactics like email and social media, which cost far, far less. Our statistics show that while this approach decreases expenses, it also yields significantly lower results in both donors and dollars:

Across our client base of 200+ non-profits and Affinity groups, clients who combine three to five direct mail communications with regular email marketing and online giving significantly outpace in donors, dollars and return on their investment.

Unfortunately, by the time a non-profit experiments with a new strategy that cuts direct mail, donors have “forgotten” to give and may have allocated their gifts somewhere else.

Adopting an effective digital and online strategy that engages your donors is critical, as online giving is and will continue to grow; but cutting direct mail before your donor base has caught up could be hazardous to your non-profit’s health.

Tempted to cut print so your non-profit can save money and stay “on trend?”  Call or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a free assessment of your current program and suggestions for how to adopt an effective online strategy that doesn’t leave donors and their dollars behind.

*2016 Blackbaud Charitable Giving Report