Online donations soared during the pandemic

Online giving by UK donors has increased during the Covid-19 pandemic, with an overall growth of 115% in donations volume, and an income increase of 97% over the past 12 months.

The findings are released today in the second annual Online Donations Report from WPNC. The integrated agency analysed data behind online donations totalling more than £40m to compare findings with its previous study, published in April 2020.

Online Donations Report 2021 has been produced using anonymised data gathered from gifts made through WPNC’s online donation platforms including goDonate, with a total value of more than £40m – a 29% increase on 2019.

goDonate is used to power donor experiences on a number of high-profile charities’ websites, including Prostate Cancer UK, Alzheimer’s Society, NSPCC, and Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.

The report features key information showing trends in both one-off and regular giving comparing 2020 to 2019 data, plus donor behaviour across the board covering geography, seasonality, day of the week, and time of day – all of which offer crucial insights for planning campaigns.

Online Donations Report 2021is available free of charge to charities on request here: goDonate Report

Here are four important findings from the data analysis:

  1. There has been a big uplift in online donations

The analysis shows online giving has increased despite the challenges to household finances posed by the pandemic. When looking at the same donation funnels that were live in 2020, WPNC registered an overall growth of 115% in donations volume and a 97% income increase, across both one-off and regular gifts. This eclipses the 26% increase in the volume of one-off donations, and a near-20% rise in overall value in 2019 when compared with giving through the same channels in 2018.

  1. One-off donations and regular donations are growing

When looking at one-off gifts in 2020 going through donation funnels that were also live in 2019, there was an increase of 119% in donations volume and a 78% growth in value.

For regular gifts in 2020 – going through donation funnels that were also live in 2019 – there has been an increase of 92% in donations volume and a 151% growth in value. Regular donations under £50, paid on a monthly basis, made up almost 98% of all regular donations made in 2020. Meanwhile, monthly average value increased by 6% in 2020, compared to the previous year.

  1. Linking to a Covid-related cause is a successful strategy

Due to 2020’s unique situation and the restrictions in place throughout the year, many charities with a mission not directly related to Covid-19 suffered a drop in income.

Instead, health-related charities and those focused on education experienced some of the highest growth; especially if they were able to relate their cause to the effects of the ongoing pandemic.

  1. Digital wallets are stealing share from card payments

When looking at payment methods used for one-off donations across all charities it’s clear the volume of card payments decreased, with donors favouring ApplePay instead. Some 7% of donations were made through ApplePay across all devices, including desktop. Usage on mobile-only devices was higher: for example, 46% of donations at one large charity in the analysis were made through ApplePay on mobile devices.

This is a consistent trend during the past few years, with new payment methods expected to increase even more in the future. The reason behind their success is a simpler, frictionless donation experience – especially on mobile devices. 

Vicky Reeves, Managing Director Digital and Deputy CEO, WPNC, said: “The trends we share in the report clearly show a significant rise in online donations for both one-off and regular giving.

“Covid-19 has also prompted a rise in giving to related charities, so linking your cause to topical national and global issues where possible is a key learning for organisations.

“It’s also important to factor into the donor experience an increasing preference for online giving, including aspects such as mobile wallets rather than traditional types of giving. Donors want a frictionless experience, and offering them convenient ways to give will increase chances of conversion.”

To receive a copy of the full report, Online Donation Report 2021please click here.

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