online donorsHoliday giving is expected to be over $48 billion this year, and at least $6 billion will come from online donors, based on a new study by Convio.

43% of donors will give via direct mail and 21% from online appeals.

And 40-60% of those online gifts will be made in the last two days of the year.

Don’t forget that online donors are wealthier, higher-dollar, and sometimes younger donors.

They’re looking for a specific experience when they give and you better be ready to give it to them!

Here’s what they are looking for

10 things online donors want when giving online

1. They want to feel good about their gift.
Remember that your donor is making a personal, emotional statement with their gift. They are not shopping for hardware or bath towels.

Talk a lot about the good they are doing. Put evocative photos on your donation page.

Make your post-gift finish page warm and fuzzy. Send a lovely thank you note that touches their heart.

2. They want to feel connected to the cause.
In the Convio study, 74% of people said they responded most to emotional solicitations that provide info on the people, animals or places in need of their assistance.

Get yourself and your organization out of the way.

Don’t ask for your organization, instead ask donors to help the animals, trees, kids, sick people, students, artists, whoever you are serving and helping.

As I like to say, “You gotta play that violin” and make the emotions stir!

3. They want to know where the gift is going.
They want to know exactly what their gift is accomplishing – and the impact it will have. Lay it out clearly and don’t mess around.

Recap your outcomes and accomplishments for the year, and let them know what’s next.

Be specific.

4. They want holiday gifts that will support your cause.
Help your online donors make gifts, and offer easy shopping for nontraditional gifts. Try these opportunities:

“Last minute holiday gifts” – promote gift memberships that your donors can give to others. The World Wildlife Fund sends a “Last Minute Ways to Say Happy Holidays” e-mail that suggests adopting an animal on someone’s behalf online.
“Avoid the crowds and shop at home” – buy from our shop on line and ship to those on your gift lists.
“Holiday e-cards for your family and friends” – a green alternative that can promote your nonprofit AND carry a donation to your cause.

5. They want to be reminded.
It’s ok to remind your loyal donors about the need and how they can help.

They’re busy, busy, busy. And repeating your appeal is always more powerful and successful than a single ask that goes out as a stand-alone effort.

Check out this sample year-end email campaign that had three messages going out the last week of the year:

December 23: a “holiday support” email
December 29: an email emphasizing tax deductible giving opportunities
December 31: a final “last chance to donate” email

6. They want choices.
And all donors have a different vision of how they want to help you and how they want to give.

So be sure to offer them a variety of ways to support you and different giving opportunities all tied to specific results your organization achieves.

7. They want an uncomplicated check out.
Remember that a majority of would-be online donors never make it through the process to complete their gifts. Some stats show that 98% of visitors to an organization’s donate page do not complete their gift.

Make your donate page seamless and easy to whiz through.

Check out this list of the 11 Deadly Sins of Donate Page Design from Be sure you avoid these common mistakes in nonprofit donate pages:

Cluttered pages
Unintuitive layouts
Unclear directions
Too long, complex forms
Unnecessary fields
No address or phone number
Error messages are confusing

8. They want back up data on your results.
Be sure your web site is up to date and conveys credibility.

Remember that over 65% of ALL DONORS will probably check out your web site before they write a check or make a gift, according to Kivi Leroux Miller of

9. They want to donate quickly.
Make it easy for impatient online donors who are in a hurry. If you make it difficult for them, they’ll be gone – probably to another nonprofit’s site. That means you need to get your website ready for holiday giving.

Make your home page on your website optimized for donations. Put an extra large “donate now” button right on that page. (Yes, size does matter!)

And try adding a photo on the inside of the button so that it has a human face. (Dogs and children are wonderful.)

Check out Network for Good’s three tips for the best donate button: make it big; put it above the fold, and create a simple, easy-to-use contribution form.

10. They want it simple.
Since they are busy, busy, busy, don’t over complicate your site or the ask. People visiting your site at year-end are there for one purpose only – to give.

Put the ask right up front and make it easy for them.

These online fundraising strategies will help you bring in lots and lots of online gifts. Before you know it you’ll be zooming past your fundraising goals for year-end!

Happy prospecting and may generous online donors flood in to your site and your cause!

Many thanks to my friend Gail Perry of for this helpful article.