Five digital trends in global trends in giving.

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Five digital trends in global trends in giving.

Today the ‘2017 Global Trends in Giving Report’ is being published, and we were fortunate enough to get early access. Public Interest Registry and Nonprofit Tech for Good surveyed more than 4000 donors in 95 countries for the report, which looks at trends in how and why people donate to NGOs, nonprofits, and charities. There are a lot of interesting digital trends this year, and we’ve been through the whole report and picked out five of the best.


1. People are most inspired to give by social media.

In last year’s Global NGO Technology Survey, 60% of global NGOs agreed that social media is effective for online fundraising. And they’re not wrong; social media is the most commonly cited source of inspiration to donate.

According to the results of this year’s Giving Trends report:

  • 25% of donors are most inspired to give by social media
  • 25% by fundraising events
  • 21% by email
  • 12% by websites
  • 10% by print
  • 3% by TV
  • 2% by radio
  • 8% by phone, and
  • 6% by text message

This is true for European donors too, where social media (29%), followed by fundraising events (22%) and email (18%), most inspires people to donate.


2. People are especially inspired to give by Facebook, which comes out higher than any other social media site.

In this years’ report, 75% of donors said that social media is a primary news source for keeping up to date with organisation they care about, and as highlighted above, 25% of people said that they are most inspired to donate by social media.

Of social media sites that inspire people to give, Facebook inspires most giving. And we’re not talking about ‘the most’ by a small amount – 62% of people said Facebook inspires them to donate, a huge 47% more than the next most cited platform (Twitter). Facebook is leading by a clear margin.

At the opposite end of the scale is Snapchat. Although it’s talked about with increasing excitement (see any of many recent articles about how nonprofits can make use of Snapchat), less than 1% (0.1%) of people say that SnapChat inspires them to donate. Interestingly, even the much maligned Google+ (see any of many articles on ‘why everyone hates Google+’ – seriously, when you type ‘Google+ is’ into Google the first suggestion is ‘Google+ is dead’, there is even an account on Google+ called ‘Everyone hates Google+’!) was more popular with 0.4%, putting it equal with blogging platforms Medium and Tumblr.

Given that Facebook is the most used social media site in Northern Europe, it’s not surprising that Facebook tops the list of social media sites inspiring Europeans to donate, with 59% of people pointing to the site. As with the global trends, it is followed by Twitter (21%), and Instagram (9%), with the former being slightly more popular and the latter slightly less in Europe as compared to global trends.


3. Online is donors preferred method of giving – yes, even among older donors.

Here in the UK, the number of charities accepting online donations more than doubled from 24% in 2015 to 53% in 2016, which is good news since the Global Trends report shows that online was the most popular way for people to donate. In fact,

  • 61% of donors prefer to donate online
  • 14% by direct mail
  • 14% at fundraising events
  • 6% by mobile, and
  • 5% by workplace giving

Once again, the pattern holds true for European donors, 57% of whom said they prefer to donate online, followed by 14% by direct mail and 12% by fundraising events.

What is interesting to note is that online remains the most popular donation method, even when you break down the answers by age – millennials, generation x’ers, and baby boomers all cite online as their preferred method of donation.

Of millennials

  • 62% prefer to donate online
  • 16% at fundraising events, and
  • 9% by mobile

Of generation x’ers

  • 59% prefer to donate online
  • 16% at fundraising events, and
  • 11% by direct mail

And of baby boomers

  • 59% prefer to donate online
  • 19% by direct mail, and
  • 12% at fundraising events

Although the headline here is that online donations are the most popular, it is also worth reflecting on the fact that direct mail and fundraising events also perform incredibly well, globally, and when broken down into age categories.


4. A third of donors have given to a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign in the last year.

Specifically speaking, in the last year 33% of respondents have donated to a campaign where an individual has created their own online fundraising campaign to raise money for an NGO or nonprofit, also known as peer-to-peer fundraising.

This trend also holds firm when compared across generations

  • 33% of millennials have donated to a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign in the last year
  • 37% of generation x’ers have, and
  • 33% of baby boomers have

There is a slight difference when looking at gender with a 9% difference between the proportion of women (35%) and men (26%) who had made a peer-to-peer donation in the last year.

Even with that difference, it’s fair to say that peer-to-peer campaigns are fairly popular ways to donate, with between a quarter and a third of people (depending on who you’re looking at) donating to this sort of campaign in the last year. It would be interesting to see how this trend looks next year.


5. People trust .org more than other domains (and .net less than other domains).

Almost three quarters (72%) of respondents said that they’re more likely to trust websites and email addresses that use .org (i.e. or The least trustworthy domains is .net, with 30% of respondents saying they’re least likely to trust websites and emails with those domains.

One more thing.

It’s worth noting that the survey that informed this report was promoted entirely online, meaning that the results represent the views of people who have access to the internet and use email and/or social media. So perhaps it’s unsurprising that so many respondents said they preferred to donate online, given that they are likely to be a relatively internet-savy group. The results of the report are still illuminating and certainly interesting, but it is worth considering this potential online bias when thinking about what these results might mean for giving and fundraising.

To end on a positive note, I was really pleased to see that 94% of donors in the survey agreed that to stay relevant in a digital age global NGOs and nonprofits must invest in digital communications (both in terms of money invested and staff time). We often talk about the fact that donors want as much money as possible to be spent on services/beneficiaries, or rather that donors ‘don’t like’ when charities spend money on things like running costs, fundraising, or campaigning. I’ve written before about the opportunities that digital can present for nonprofits, so I think it’s really encouraging to see that people do support organisations investing in this area.

You can access the full ‘2017 Global Trends in Giving Report’ report at

Public Interest Registry and Nonprofit Tech for Good (12th September 2017) 2017 Global Trends in Giving Report

Nonprofit Tech for Good and Your Public Interest Registry (2017) 2017 Global NGO Online Technology Report

WeAreSocial Singapore (26th January 2017) Digital in 2017: Northern Europe

Lloyds UK (March 2016) Digital Index Report 2016

Open laptop displaying Fancy Guppy's January 2018 social media calendar.
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