It’s almost Spring in a long-awaited new year, but there’s a part of 2020 we still need to talk about. Don’t worry, it’s good news, particularly if you were a nonprofit that already had some of the systems in place. (And if you didn’t, keep reading anyway, because it’s never too late to get started!)

According to our friends at Blackbaud Institute who’ve been tracking online giving for two solid decades, 2020 was the year that online giving broke major records! For the first time ever, online giving surpassed 10% of total fundraising, and it gets even more exciting:

  • Online giving grew by nearly 21% over the previous year and more than 32% over the last three years. 
  • Nearly 30% of online gifts were made from a mobile device, compared to 2014, when it was just 9%.
  • Nearly 40% of online giving took place in October, November and December of 2020.

How did your organization compare to those of similar size and subsector? View the full breakdown in the Blackbaud Institute's 2020 Charitable Giving Report.

Looking back at your 2020 online giving, you’re either celebrating the fact that your investment in digital fundraising has finally paid off or you’re diligently assessing reasons you underperformed compared to your peers. 

But if right now you’re experiencing big time FOMO, a.k.a. fear of missing out, because you weren’t set up for online giving last year (ahem, even though it’s one of the most cost-effective and donor-friendly ways to raise money), know that it’s never too late to get started.

So don’t let FOMO get you down. The fundraising experts at Envision Consulting want to see that you too can take part in the digital transformation happening right now in philanthropy. Let’s talk through some of the basics of implementing an online giving program at your organization: 


Get a sense of how online giving can fit into your existing strategy. Do you have a case for support? How often do you communicate with your donors through email and social media? Do you have a website with a prominent donate button? What are your annual fundraising goals?


When selecting online fundraising software, it’s important to consider fixed operational costs and one-time expenses and make sure the service plan fits your budget and anticipated volume of donations. Service plans can have a mix of fees--monthly, per transaction and a percentage of donation. Select a plan that makes sense for your organization and know that it takes time for online giving to grow. Pro tip: Be sure your online donation form provides an option for monthly or recurring giving!


Take advantage of both passive and active ways to ask for donations. In the passive approach, we’re simply aiming to make the donation link visible and accessible. So, once your online donation page is ready, link it to that big bright donate button on your website and emails, and make it available on all your social media channels (LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, etc.). You may not be asking directly for a gift, but if a donate button is visible next to a compelling story or photo in an email, a donor now has the option to give!


In the active approach, you’re directly asking for donations, and online giving campaigns are a great way to do it. Decide when in the year they’ll take place--end of the year, Earth Day, International Women’s Day, Giving Tuesday? Set up a series of email and/or social media asks (based on your trusty case for support) and provide that button or link to your donation page. Naming your campaign fundraising goal and your progress toward it is a good additional motivator for your donors. We’re just $2,500 shy of our goal! Help us reach our goal by midnight.


Be sure to track your year-one online donations so you can establish next year’s goals and track your progress. Set up a good coding system in your donor database so you can track online giving separately, but also the progress of your online campaigns year over year.

Need some help getting started? We’d love to help you with fundraising strategy and plans! Send us a message so we can help you reach your goals!