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Donors Give More Regularly to Nonprofits that Communicate Impact and Make it Easy to Donate

A report released today by Blackbaud (NASDAQ: BLKB) found that nonprofits could potentially improve their fundraising returns by better aligning with donors’ giving preferences and increasing transparency. The new report, Donor Perspectives: An investigation into what drives your donors to give, is based on survey results from more than 4,000 donors in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia.

“The donors have spoken! Nonprofits are not always meeting their needs, and are leaving valuable donations on the table,” said Dennis McCarthy, Blackbaud’s vice president of strategy. “The good news is, by making it easier for donors to learn about their organization, keeping them informed about their donation’s impact and providing multiple methods for donating, nonprofits can potentially improve their fundraising.”

The report provides a view of the nonprofit sector from the donor perspective and compares results from Blackbaud’s recently-released 2012 State of the Nonprofit Industry report (SONI), which gauged levels of nonprofit optimism and explored successful management strategies.

In all three countries, there was a relationship between donation preferences and the average annual contributions donors made to charities over the past year, suggesting that nonprofits should keep donor preferences in mind and ensure donors are easily able to contribute in various ways.

Donations hold steady

According to the Donor Perspectives report, approximately 25 percent of donors from each country reported that the amount they donated to charity increased from the previous year. US donors were primarily motivated by a change in their financial situation while donors in the UK and Australia cited an innate desire to help. On average, US respondents reported donating nearly three times as much to charity as UK or Australia donors.

One-off donations vs. regular donations

One-off donations (which are not scheduled to repeat) are very popular with 80 percent of respondents reporting making a one-off donation to at least one charity in the last year as donors continue to be burdened with financial uncertainty. Roughly two-thirds of respondents from each country reported making regular, or recurring automatic donations, in the past year.

Of the respondents that would consider becoming regular donors, the top three motivating factors were reported to be: 1) having an improvement in their personal financial situation, 2) having a passion for an organization’s mission, and 3) having access to information that proved the impact of their contributions.

Many respondents (20 to 30 percent) reported that they had stopped making regular donations to an organization in the past three years citing their financial situation and lack of transparency on the charity’s part.

“While personal finances greatly contribute to donor decisions about regular donations, charities can take steps to retain and attract these valuable donors,” said McCarthy. “By tracking the impact of contributions and communicating that back to donors, nonprofits can increase the number of regular donors and ensure they are not losing the donors they have.”

On average, in all three countries, as the number of charities to which donors made regular donations increased, so did the total amount of financial contributions.

For US respondents, as the number of charities to which they gave one-time donations increased, the average amount of financial contributions made in the last year also increased. This trend was not present for UK and Australian nonprofits, indicating that donors there tend to stick to a preset budget, unless they give to five or more charities.

Importance of mobile

In each country, nearly half of donors reported using their mobile phone to read emails and view websites, yet less than one-quarter of donors in each country reported using their device to make donations via mobile browser or text. Still, donors (especially younger donors) are embracing mobile technologies faster than nonprofits, according to the SONI report. The projected growth of the use of mobile technologies in marketing efforts, however, indicates that nonprofits have recognized the need to embrace mobile strategies and plan on doing so in the next year.

Age and culture greatly influence preferred donation method:

  • In the US, 43 percent of donors prefer to give by check, while 23 percent of donors prefer to donate with a credit/debit card. Cash donations ranked low on the list in the US at 18 percent.
  • On average, total annual donations tended to increase as the age group increased. In the US, the 65+ age group gave an average of $1,403 in the last year, with the 45-54 age group close behind with an average annual donation of $1,396. US donors in the 18-24 age range donated the least annually at $463.
  • UK and Australian donors prefer to give cash, yet only one percent of Australian and seven percent of UK nonprofits preferred to receive cash donations. The preference to donate via cash significantly decreased with age for donors from all countries. UK respondents were more than twice as like to prefer to donate via direct debit from a bank account, correlating with the high number of regular givers there and the most preferred method of nonprofits. Australian donors were twice as likely as UK respondents to prefer to donate via credit/debit card, while nearly half of nonprofits reported that as their preference.

To download Donor Perspectives: An investigation into what drives your donors to give, visit

In addition to the Blackbaud donor report, Blackbaud partner Charity Dynamics also released the Nonprofit Donor Engagement Benchmark Study today. The report, produced in collaboration with NTEN, identifies similar trends around donor engagement, including how different age groups donate to and prefer to interact with the charities they support. The full Charity Dynamics/NTEN donor engagement study is available at

Survey Methodology

Blackbaud engaged an international market research panel to reach charitable donors in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia. The survey was open for a two week period in July and August 2012. More than 4,000 donors responded to the survey – 1,321 donors from the US, 1,436 donors from the UK, and 1,576 donors from Australia – representing a wide range of ages, income levels, and education levels. The results of this study have a +/-3 margin of error at a 95% confidence level.

About Blackbaud

Serving the nonprofit and education sectors for 30 years, Blackbaud (NASDAQ: BLKB) combines technology and expertise to help organizations achieve their missions. Blackbaud works with more than 27,000 customers in over 60 countries that support higher education, healthcare, human services, arts and culture, faith, the environment, independent K-12 education, animal welfare and other charitable causes. The company offers a full spectrum of cloud-based and on-premise software solutions and related services for organizations of all sizes including: fundraising, eMarketing, advocacy, constituent relationship management (CRM), financial management, payment services, analytics and vertical-specific solutions. Using Blackbaud technology, these organizations raise more than $100 billion each year. Recognized as a top company by Forbes, InformationWeek, and Software Magazine and honored by Best Places to Work, Blackbaud is headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina and has operations in the United States, Australia, Canada, Mexico, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit

Forward-looking Statements

Except for historical information, all of the statements, expectations, and assumptions contained in this news release are forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Although Blackbaud attempts to be accurate in making these forward-looking statements, it is possible that future circumstances might differ from the assumptions on which such statements are based. In addition, other important factors that could cause results to differ materially include the following: general economic risks; uncertainty regarding increased business and renewals from existing customers; continued success in sales growth; management of integration of acquired companies and other risks associated with acquisitions; risks associated with successful implementation of multiple integrated software products; the ability to attract and retain key personnel; risks related to our dividend policy and share repurchase program, including potential limitations on our ability to grow and the possibility that we might discontinue payment of dividends; risks relating to restrictions imposed by the credit facility; risks associated with management of growth; lengthy sales and implementation cycles, particularly in larger organization; technological changes that make our products and services less competitive; and the other risk factors set forth from time to time in the SEC filings for Blackbaud, copies of which are available free of charge at the SEC's website at or upon request from Blackbaud's investor relations department. All Blackbaud product names appearing herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of Blackbaud, Inc.

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