Why Micro-Donations Are the Future of Fundraising

Jul 2, 2018 | Fundraising and Giving, Philanthropy Journal, Resources

While a micro-donation of $25 may not seem like it’s worth a ton of time or investment to cultivate, it may actually cost your organization to ignore these smaller donations.

Special to the Philanthropy Journal

By Gary Wohlfeill

It’s no secret that large gifts from high-wealth donors are important to nonprofit sustainability. But what about your super motivated supporters who don’t have the disposable income to donate month after month? Maybe they’re your best volunteers or always give a donation around the holidays, but could they be an untapped source of revenue?

While a micro-donation of $25 may not seem like it’s worth a ton of time or investment to cultivate, it may actually cost your organization to ignore these smaller donations.

Why? Because the group that is making those micro-donations is taking over the planet. And the way that they are sharing their actions on behalf of your nonprofit is making an impact on how others support and donate.

Meet today’s donors

When you look closer at the demographics of today’s donors, these micro-donations may actually be worth more than they’re letting on.

In CrowdRise by GoFundMe’s recent Social fundraising data report for nonprofits, we found that Millennials and Gen X generations made up nearly 50% of all GoFundMe donors. Additionally, 11% of donors are between the ages of 18 and 25, indicating that Gen Z is also active in donating to campaigns.

So what does a high number of Millennial donors have to do with micro-donations? First, the sheer power of Millennials is something that every nonprofit should be anxious to embrace. By 2019, Millennials will overtake Baby Boomers as the largest demographic in the country, with a population of 73 million. And they’re already engaged and passionate about giving — 82% of Millennials reported that they gave to a nonprofit in the previous year.

But the way that they give is different from other generations of the past. The average Millennial gave $580 to charity in the past year, which is low compared to $1,365 for Baby Boomers and $1,093 for Matures. But when you consider that this generation is also battling student loan debt, stagnant salaries, and a continuously high living cost, it makes sense why they are donating less than their financially-set parents or grandparents.

And despite their small gifts, their donations have real impact.

How today’s donors act

92% of Millennials own a smartphone, and 85% use social media. But we don’t need to give you stats to prove that today’s donors are all over tech and social media. You just need to hop on Facebook or Instagram to see that the actions that Millennials are taking (both digitally and in real life) are showing up online. And this includes the actions that they are taking to support a cause.

In our data report, we found that 20% of nonprofit donors, or 1 out of every 5 certified charity donors, shared a campaign following their donation. In fact, over 50% of a campaign’s donation volume received as a direct result of social media sharing comes from donor and visitor shares, while the rest is generated by the campaign organizer’s share.

What makes this number truly great for nonprofits? The average amount of donations generated by a donor’s share was $15. Even those who didn’t donate were able to help raise funds through social sharing, with the average amount generated by a campaign visitor’s share being $13.

Social fundraising, by our definition, is how your supporters these days want to engage with your cause, make it their own, and show the world how they care and give back. All through the megaphone of their mobile device and social networks. So, when you look at someone who is making a micro-donation of $25, the impact of that donation doesn’t stop there when you bring social fundraising into play.

Sharing that donation can bring in an average of $15. And if each of those donors share, that can bring in another $15 per share, and so on and so forth.

As you can see, sharing on social media has real value, and GoFundMe campaigns attest to that.

Embrace the power of social fundraising for micro-donations

To learn more insights on social fundraising, and dive deeper into social fundraiser donor demographics, click here to check out our full Social fundraising data report for nonprofits.

Also be sure that you are optimizing your donation process for social sharing in order to engage today’s micro-donors who want to show support online, and to bring in even more donations for your cause.

Gary Wohlfeill is the Director of Brand & Marketing at CrowdRise. He works with partners to develop highly engaging fundraising campaigns and leads the marketing team in developing the CrowdRise brand. Gary has been named as having the “third best haircut of people under 6 feet tall at CrowdRise” and hopes one day to slip to fourth.

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