December 08, 2011

Online Giving Increases Among Older Donors

Fund raisers who think that donors age 60 or older are unlikely to give online are mistaken: More than half of them do, according to a new survey released by Dunham + Company, a Plano, Tex., fund-raising consulting company.

The survey, conducted with 524 donors who had made at least one gift of $25 in the past year, found that 51 percent of those who were at least 60 made online contributions.

Not surprisingly, younger donors were more likely to give online: About 64 percent of donors age 40 to 59 made online contributions, as did 75 percent of donors younger than 40.

But once online, donors age 60 or older tended to give more frequently than their younger counterparts: They made an average of 14 gifts online in the past year, while those under 40 made 11 online donations, on average.

"This study blows some holes in the conventional thinking about older donors and online giving," the researchers wrote. "It is important for charities to continue to develop online giving as an option for their older demographic."

In offering older donors the option to give online, the researchers urged fund raisers to reassure them about the security of the online transaction. A quarter of donors said that at least once they had started to make a gift online but not finished the process. Among those donors, 57 percent of those who were 60 or older said that the security of online giving was an issue.

The study confirms findings of a much larger survey of donors released this spring showing that the majority of older donors wanted to give online.