Study Shows That 35% of Online Giving Is Prompted by a Personal Ask

A recent study by AFP yielded some very revealing results about Personal Fundraising.  Whether you call it Personal Fundraising, Peer to Peer Fundraising, Friends Asking Friends, or Viral Fundraising it’s all referring to the same dynamic that involves supporters of an organization asking their personal networks to give.

There are many interesting nuggets in the results from the study that can be found here (Study Shows Direct Mail is a More Important Driver to Online Giving than Online Communications – Press – AFP).

What I found most interesting is 20% of online giving was a prompted by someone asking the giver in person for a donation.  And 15% of online giving was prompted  by an ask in a social media setting.  Taken together, this indicates the close to 35% of online giving is prompted by asks outside of the traditional direct mail and email channels where an organization asks a prospective donor directly.  Instead, people who give online are most likely being asked to give by a peer who doesn’t work for the organization.


This is more proof of something that makes sense intuitively.  One can further infer from the results that the “quality of the ask” in personal fundraising is so much more likely to prompt action.  It’s one thing to get a postcard or letter from an organization.  It’s completely another, more powerful thing to be asked by your mom, dad, son,or daughter to donate to their charity.

Organizations that act on this information can substantially increase their online giving by incorporating personal fundraising campaigns into their development portfolio.  Personal fundraising can come in many forms.  The most common, and I believe the most effective, is event based.  Examples are walkathons, marathons, bike rides, bowlathons, etc…  Regardless of how its done, the goal is the same and that goal is to get people out there asking on behalf of your organization.

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