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Published October 12th 2012

The Rise in Online Fundraising and the Perception of JustGiving

As charities embrace social media and technology, we explore how this has impacted online fundraising service providers in a new report.

Charities, although not-for-profit, have the same needs as brands when it comes to marketing and promotion, so it is no surprise that they have begun to embrace social media, just as brands have.

Figures from late 2011 showed that 71% of charities use Facebook, 62% use Twitter and 50% use YouTube, and this has no doubt continued to increase.

Plus, charities and not-for-profit organisations accounted for over 25% of the top 20 brands in Social Brands 100 this year, with Cancer Research UK fairing best of the 17 charities in the top 100. This was up from just one charity featuring in the 2011 list, proving that charities are increasingly becoming social.

We recently interviewed the RSPCA about their use of Brandwatch in order to monitor online buzz about the charity and its campaigns, underlining how important social media is for charities in this day and age.

RSPCA Digital Communications Officer Gemma Smith told us: “More and more people are recognising it [social media] is a real opportunity” and says “hopefully it’ll become a more integral part of our business, and what we do, and how we liaise with our supporters.”

Joe Wilson, who is a Media Analyst at the RSPCA, explains that social media monitoring is used “to inform the campaign […] and help to define the success of the campaign”.

Online fundraising, aided by the growth of social media, is also increasingly common, with online charitable giving in the UK having risen 85% in the past three years despite the economic downturn, according to research by nfpSynergy.

This is good news, as online giving is also considered cost effective, with an estimated £10 generated for every £1 spent.

So how is this increased use of social media and online giving impacting online fundraising sites? We took a look at the online buzz surrounding three of the most popular online fundraising service providers: JustGiving, Virgin Money Giving and Bmycharity, with a particular focus on JustGiving as one of the biggest service providers in the UK.

Among the key findings were:

  • JustGiving was by far the most discussed provider of the three
  • Online fundraising services tended to be discussed most often on Twitter and Facebook, with these being preferential over blogs and forums for discussion
  • The majority of mentions of all three providers were positive
  • Reflecting Cancer Research UK’s standing as a social brand, it was the most mentioned JustGiving charity
  •  JustGiving was more discussed by women, with 10 female tweeters to every 7 males mentioning the brand. This could be attributed to Cancer Research events such as the Race for Life, which is a female-only event
  • JustGiving was also more discussed by younger social media users, with 46% of chat coming from the 16-24 bracket
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