10 Statistics Revealing Shifts in Online Giving to Nonprofits

By eleventy marketing group

The evolution of online giving continues.
For years we’ve been watching the changes and progression of how people give to nonprofits in the digital age. It’s been fascinating to follow—with each year showing subtle shifts in the ways people donate.

The strides over the past few years have been consistent and incremental. Online giving continues to gain ground and preference with donors. Perhaps even more interesting are the changes we’re seeing in who is giving online and how they are giving online.

In today’s post, we’ll look at 10 statistics from two different studies revealing shifts in online giving over the past year.

How Online Giving to Nonprofits Has Evolved in Recent Years

So what was different about online giving last year as opposed to previous years? Here are a couple notable developments…

More People Are Making Contributions Using Smartphones

You’ll see in the stats below from NPEngage that mobile giving increased 45% from the 2014 giving season to the 2015 season. As more people acquire more mobile devices (the 2015 DMA Fact Book notes “the number of mobile devices exceeded the world’s population in 2014”) and we use those devices for more actions, it only makes sense to see that impact online giving.

What’s particularly interesting is the move away from tablets as a means of making online donations and a move toward smartphones. The NPEngage study shows that iPad donations (the dominant device for mobile giving last year) dropped 18% between 2014 and 2015, while iPhone donations increased 12%.

Donations by Device in 2015

This shows that more and more donors are comfortable making their donations from start to finish on a smartphone—whereas in the past a person may have been more likely to start the process on a mobile device (maybe making the first click) and then moving on to a tablet, laptop or desktop to complete the transaction. Expect this trend to continue in the near future.

From the NPEngage Giving Season Study, which looked at 249,000 online gifts and 1,193 small and medium-sized organizations:

  • 14% of donations during the 2015 giving season (defined as Nov 1-Dec 3) came from mobile devices (vs. 10% in 2014)
  • 1 in 7 donors were on a handheld or tablet device in 2015
  • 43% of mobile donors gave from an iPad in 2015 (vs. 61% in 2014)
  • 42% of mobile donors gave from an iPhone in 2015 (vs. 30% in 2014)
  • 14% of mobile donors gave from an Android device in 2015 (vs. 8% in 2014)


Online Giving by Individuals 40+ Has Surged in the Past Five Years

While the growth of online giving is widely considered to be a result of younger generations like Millennials, don’t discount the changing habits of older generations in fueling the increase in digital donations as well. Stats from this Dunham+Company report shared below show a significant increase in online giving from the 40+ crowd.

Particularly notable is the 20% increase in online giving by individuals ages 40-59 in the last five years. Also notable is that more than 50% of people in the 60+ age group say they have made an online donation. That shows at very least an increasing level of comfort and adoption of digital giving by these demographics.

Older Donors Becoming More Likely to Give Online

Which is something nonprofits may want to keep in mind as they build their online efforts. According to Rick Dunham, President+CEO of Dunham+Company: “The fact that donors 60 and older are as likely now to give online as donors under 40 means charitable organizations must shift their thinking about who is giving through their website.”

From the Dunham+Company study, which looked at 400 U.S. adult donors who had given at least $20 in the previous year:

  • 67% of donors 40-59 years old give online (compared to 47% in 2010)
  • 54% of donors 60+ years old say they gave a gift through a charity’s website in 2015
  • 26% of donors say they have given on a charity’s website as a result of being asked to do so by another individual through social media
  • 20% of donors  say they have given online as a result of an email from a charity (compared to 6% in 2010)
  • 11% of donors say they have given a gift through an organization’s website as a result of receiving an appeal letter through the mail from the charity