The efficacy of online fundraising continues to be a puzzlement. For years it has appeared that disaster relief agencies, with their urgent calls to action, were the only organizations that could expect to enjoy any real success. But recently, I witnessed a community give day in my home community where 8,000 donors gave more than $800,000 for local causes. Some in higher education have had similar success with giving days. Just as with the ice bucket challenge, these high-profile, innovative appeals seem to enjoy greater than normal success.
A recent Chronicle of Philanthropy article bears this out. In an environment of generally mediocre results, schools are beginning to have success with giving days and other innovative approaches. I presume that as people accumulate experience giving online through such special initiatives, they’ll get in the habit and start giving online regularly. This ought to be inevitable, but despite repeated predictions by social media prognosticators, it hasn’t happened yet.