Charities should base online ask on previous donations, says new research

Average donations could be 38% higher, according to Blackbaud

Online donors give more if they are prompted to give at least what they gave the previous time, according to research.

A study by charity research and software firm Blackbaud examined donations given to 1,700 charities in the UK and the US in 2008/09. It showed that asking online donors for a specific amount of money, related to sums they had previously given, generated an average online donation 38 per cent higher than before the system was introduced.

The figures uncovered by the research were revealed at an Institute of Fundraising conference last week. They showed that the technique of tailoring suggested donations online was most effective when the lowest figure suggested was the amount the donor had previously given.

Brad May, sales and marketing director at Blackbaud, told delegates at the meeting: "Once a charity has set up a system in which donors have to log in to give online, it can track how much a donor normally gives, then offer them a range of options next time they log in.

"For a donor that normally gives £34, for instance, we found that this approach raised their gift to £47 on average."

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