Why do first-time online donors not return?

The New York Times reports on a trend with serious implications for both non-profits and the social media/technology firms who advise them.

The study, which include 24 organizations such as CARE and Doctors Without Borders found that

Of those who did make additional gifts after an initial online donation in 2006, according to 12 organizations offering data in January, 37 percent never gave another gift via the Internet

The article posits a few reasons for this including emails getting trapped in spam filters. But I suspect that the real reason is that non-profit organizaiton have still not caught on to the idea of building relationships with donors rather than purely communicating to them. The web provides a new way to engage donors and volunteers over a long time period and non-profits desparately need to implement these solutions.

When the Director of Online Communications at CARE says

“I think what we’re learning is that we need to be less worried about what channels these donors use and offer them a variety of channels through which they can give,”

the missing link is that those channels are not just giving channels but communication channels, engagement channels and conversations channels. With a mindset built around conversation, non-profits can build relationships not just donations.

[Updated Mar 21 with correct link to original article. Thanks for catching this!]

2 thoughts on “Why do first-time online donors not return?

  1. BTW, this is a great blog with lots of interesting stuff, but I have no idea who you are or where you come from. Please give us some clues, as you say in the post, the web is a conversation, we need to know whose conversation we are joining.

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