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Blackbaud research probes psychology of online giving

Blackbaud research probes psychology of online giving

For one in five UK consumers, supporting friends in their online fundraising is more important than which charity benefits, according to research by software and services firm Blackbaud.

The company’s Psychology of Online giving study reports that, for consumers aged between 25 and 34, the figure rises to 25%.

In The Psychology of Online Giving survey, 2,088 UK consumers were asked by YouGov on behalf of Blackbaud Europe about their motivations for giving online and their expectations after they donated. Of these, 1218 had donated money to charity online at least once.

Why do people donate online?

  • 27% of people are  motivated to donate online to support a friend or family member
  • 23% are motivated to respond to a campaign for a particular cause
  • 19% give because they have a personal connection to a cause
  • 10% donate online to boost their own sense of self-worth.
  • 1% said they donated online because they liked a celebrity that was associated with a particular cause.


Top five reasons people donate online

Top 5 reasons why people donate online. Source: Blackbaud Europe, 2013


What do they expect from charities?

49% of respondents said that when they donate money online, they like to have easy access to further information about that cause.

Other aspects of online giving

The research also found that:

  • 17% of people that have donated online have done so via a smartphone or tablet PC. This figure rises to around a quarter for people ages 18 to 44.
  • 15% of respondents have shared the fact they made a donation via Facebook or Twitter. This rises to 23% among 25- to 44-year-olds.
  • 59% of those that donated online did so directly via a charity’s website.

Attitudes to giving online

  • 40% of UK consumers said that online giving either is, or will one day be, their main way of donating to a cause. Amongst 18- to 24-year-olds this is 53%, and 63%  amongst 25- to 34-year-olds.
  • 45% of respondents admitted they had never donated online

Jerome Moisan, Blackbaud Europe’s managing director, commented on the research findings. He said:

“Not-for-profits need to ensure that supporters remember their brand and cause, not the platform by which they donate.

“The donation is important, but building long-term relationships with supporters is equally so. Not-for-profits have the opportunity to use online giving to connect with a supporter, and people have clearly indicated their willingness to get information about a cause after sponsoring someone online.”

On the issue of the large number of respondents who said that they had never donated online he said:

“Online is undoubtedly the future but currently accounts for a relatively small proportion of total donations. So not-for-profits must accept donations from as many channels as possible and take the opportunity to engage with supporters via the method that most suits each person. Understanding a supporter’s preferences is key to successful multi-channel fundraising.”



Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of Research massive growth in giving.

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