Is the future online?

Write a blog on the future being online they said! It’s a big old topic I said, where should I start?

Two hours into some research and to be honest, I’m not sure I’m any the wiser. Yes, lots of the ‘future’ does look very much online, but we still have a lot of ‘present’ to manage too, so let me share what I found and how it can be useful for small charities:

Online is growing – Are you ready?

Across the UK, and the world, ecommerce is growing. Microbusinesses with less than 10 employees have seen their e-commerce sales grow from £502billion in 2015 to £11billion in 2016 (ONS – E-commerce and ICT activity: 2016). So it should come as no surprise that online giving is moving in the same direction. A recent report by Blackbaud (Charitable Giving Report 2016) stated that online giving had increased by 7.9% from 2015 to 2016. The report goes on to show that within this increase, it is small and medium-sized charities that are seeing a growing share too.

So are you ready? Are your volunteers and supporters skilled to support you on this online journey? NO? Have a look at some online fundraising training coming up in London and Sheffield.

Offline has its place – Are all your supporters online?

Hang on a minute! Yes we are seeing a growing trend, but I think it’s also worth thinking about the make-up of our donors today, as well as the future.

So whilst the ONS statistics show that virtually all adults aged 16 to 34 years were recent internet users (99%), it’s important to consider a similarly important stat…. it is also this younger demographic (16-24) who are the least likely to be involved in charitable giving. Therefore could our online fundraising efforts be that effective?

In contrast, only 41% of adults aged 75 years and over are recent internet users, yet they are more likely to give to charities than the younger generation – and when they do give, it is ten times more (as a proportion of their total spending) (stats taken from CAF and Bristol University). So, should we still consider all the other fundraising methodologies?

YES? Have a look at our upcoming fundraising training such as Community and events fundraising, earning your income, corporate fundraising or just successfully retaining (or stewarding) your donors.

NB – Don’t get me wrong online fundraising has its place and we can’t forget that the current under 30s will be 65+ one day!

But “Online” is the future for many things, not just fundraising

Bill Gates once said “Never before in history has innovation offered promise of so much to so many in so short a time”, and when, as a sector we are continuously looking to support more beneficiaries with fewer resources, it is new innovation and technology that we look to, to help reduce the burden and smooth the present path into the future.

Don’t forget to consider technology when you are next looking at ways to support your beneficiaries or manage the administration of your services. Yes, while we may work with beneficiaries that are less likely to engage with technology, we are now seeing trends in an increase of women over 75 using the internet, with numbers trebling since 2011 (ONS) as well as seeing a decrease in the number of disabled adults having never used the internet too.

All this reading has made me think… Why not write a blog, to be shared with all our members…..online!

I can’t finish without a plug for our online training… So whilst we offer class based learning which is great, we also offer members an online alternative too. Be sure check out our Summer Series of 1.5 hr interactive webinars! 


Amber Shotton is the Head of Projects, Fund Development and Accredited Learning at the FSI.