Good Online Experience Leads To More Donations For Nonprofits

    May 1, 2009

Visitors to nonprofit websites are more likely to donate money, volunteer time, and recommend the nonprofit to others if they have a good online experience, according to a new study from ForeSee Results.

Nonprofit websites score 73 on the study’s 100-point scale, below many other online industries, including online banking (83), e-retail (74), e-government (74) and automotive websites (78).

"Between President Obama’s well-publicized call to serve and his recent support of the Serve America Act, nonprofits are receiving a lot of attention and interest," said Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee Results.

Larry Freed
Larry Freed

"Meanwhile, our country is in the biggest financial crisis of our time, and most nonprofits are struggling to remain afloat. This study shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that nonprofit websites have long been underestimated and misunderstood and actually have tremendous power and influence over donor and volunteer behavior."

Highly satisfied visitors to nonprofits are 49 percent more likely to donate money to the nonprofit and 38 percent more likely to volunteer when compared to dissatisfied visitors. Satisfied visitors are also 66 percent more likely to use the website instead of a costlier channel as the main resource.  ForeSee found by attracting visitors to the website for information and donations, nonprofits can reduce costs, build loyalty, and drive donations.

"Good nonprofit websites offer a unique opportunity to cut costs by reducing the use of more expensive channels like direct mail and call centers, all while making people more likely to donate and volunteer," added Freed. "It’s a win-win."

The study found that functionality is a top priority for nonprofit website improvement followed by image and content. Nearly one-third of donors chose not to give online because the website functionality was poor.

While the economy has led to an overall decline in donation, the study shows that 83 percent of those who donated online in 2008 gave as much or more than 2007. In addition, people who chose to donate online tend to give more than those who use other channels, indication that nonprofits should strongly encourage online donations.