A mere 25 years ago there wasn’t widespread adoption of email or internet technologies.
Texting from mobile devices didn’t become popular until the early 2000s and smart mobile phones weren’t ubiquitous until later that decade.
Email, the internet, texting, mobile devices. . . We have experienced tremendous technological advances over the last 25 years. And, as we’ve journeyed along on our technological migration, the act of making charitable gifts for the typical American has become far more convenient, easy, simple, and quick.
A click here, a screen swipe there, and, within minutes, a gift has been made to our favorite charitable institution.
Prior to the 1990s, the almost universal way of making a current charitable gift involved a physical check in a physical reply envelope that had on the outside a physical stamp that was physically carried by the mail from the donor to our offices.
By today’s standards, this multi-step, time-consuming, and inefficient process almost sounds as antiquated as the “pony express” of the 1860s.
Yet, we must recognize and embrace this fact:
In the year of 2000, approximately 2/3 of American households made charitable gifts. Today, that number stands at less than half.
In the last 25 years, when great technological change has fueled the adoption of far more convenient giving options, almost 20% fewer American households are making charitable gifts.
We need to push back on the myth that “making giving easier,” will drive more donors to give.
We need to stop advancing the fiction that “giving is too inconvenient,” as a reason people aren’t responding to our appeals.
We need to rebut the fantasy that, “fixing our website,” will somehow lead to more donors giving.
Can we continue to make the act of charitable giving easier/more simple/more convenient for donors? Of course we can.
Should we make the act of charitable giving easier/more simple/more convenient for donors? Of course we should.
But, if “making giving easier,” was, in fact, a primary motivating factor for making charitable gifts, the data wouldn’t look so disheartening.