Adapt to the web or lose donors, voluntary sector warned

Voluntary organisations must adapt to the increasing trend of online giving or risk losing potential donors, according to NCVO's ICT Foresight Report.

The research report says that information technology has not increased the amount given to charities each year, but it is changing the way people give – and handing control of giving methods to the donor.

There is a rising expectation that fundraising will be done online, which allows potential donors to control the information they receive and to give on their own terms without being asked, it says.

The report found that supporters are using the internet to research the charities they want to donate to, either through peer-to-peer and interactive sites or through online directories.

Charities that don’t have an appropriate presence on sites such as FaceBook or provide supplementary information on GuideStar may be overlooked by potential donors, the report warns.

“The unrealised potential is recognising that fundraising is being integrated with other activities, such as campaigning or getting involved in other ways,” said Megan Griffith, NCVO’s Third Sector Foresight research manager.

“The way people want to link to charities online is not as simple as ‘I want to give money to this charity’ – it’s about an expression of their identity. The relationships have become more complex and donors are engaging with charities differently.”

Third Sector Foresight helps voluntary and community organisations identify and understand the trends that might impact on them. The report was developed with an expert advisory panel.

Emma Rigby recommends

NCVO

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