Google Finds Donors Start Researching Charities in Earnest in September

Google research shows video is powerful way to solicit contributions

As the year-end giving season approaches, nonprofit organizations may be well advised to rev up their online fundraising efforts in September rather than wait until Thanksgiving.

Google discovered that donation-related searches on its site last year were 30% higher in September than they had been in August.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported this finding last week, and gave a brief look at follow-up research that it said Google would unveil for nonprofits on Wednesday and release more widely later.

Google’s advertising unit commissioned a study about donors’ online giving behavior by the market research firm Millward Brown Digital, which surveyed 982 people and analyzed the online behavior of 2 million people who had agreed to be tracked for six months.

According to The Chronicle, 57% of survey participants told researchers they had made a contribution after watching a charity’s online video.

Forty percent of participants said they had conducted research about charities on their mobile devices, and 25% said they made donations using smartphones and tablets.

Among those who made donations through their mobile devices, 45% said they contributed using a browser, while 28% said they gave by text message. Other donors reported using mobile apps, click-to-call features and other mobile options.

Analysis of donors’ online activity showed that nearly half of donors had visited multiple nonprofit websites before making a donation. Thirty-nine percent visited two to four sites, and 8% visited five or more.

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