Six online donor profiles and action points

Give as you Live research has identified six online charity supporter profiles from its Digital Donor Review.  Polly Gowers, chief executive of Give as you Live tells Third Sector that the research will help charities save time and money.

As a quick summary of the report highlights, did you know that across all charities, online audiences are now as large as traditional offline audiences (51% online, 49% offline), and that soon Facebook and Twitter audiences will be over a third of the total charity audience.

So this really is helpful research, and can help your charity consider what your online donors are really looking for.

The six profiles cover the most common types of online donors, and you can use them to start to tailor your charity’s online presence right now.

The six profiles that GAYL has identified are:

  • Young starter Neil, who is most likely to give via text
  • Marie, who represents young, comfortably well-off families and is a heavy online shopper, so uses websites such as Give as you Live to generate donations
  • Industrial heartland Clive, who donates mainly through traditional offline channels but has donated via text and online sponsorship sites
  • Affluent oldie Margaret, who donates mostly through direct debit or cash appeals, but is a digital native who buys gifts and banks online
  • Rachel, who represents squeezed middle families and who actively engages with her favourite charities on Facebook
  • Wealthy professional Jacqueline, who regularly sponsors friends through online giving websites

As a start, let’s think about the six donor types.

If you are getting support from Neils, the students and young professionals, who are not very famliar with giving to charity, you might like to set up a JustTextGiving account, and ensure that all your documents have the JTG number and details on them.  You also might consider producing business cards or flyers to give out to interested supporters at key events. And carefully consider fundraising on the streets.

If you are working with Maries, the family donations, make sure you have set up a Give As You Live profile.  It’s very simple to operate, and raises money with minimal effort from your supporters. You might also like to ensure that any communications you send to them have attractive, easily digested and compelling case studies, and easy options to give online.

If you have Clives, industrial background, interested in you, make sure you are encouraging your network of active supporters to run, jump, cycle, eat, fast for charity, and get some JustGiving pages set up.  You might also like to lead the way with a high profile sponsored event involving your senior staff, trustees or patrons.

If you have Margarets, affluent oldies, in your networks, then make sure you are not neglecting your paper and postal asks, but ensure that you have all the digital channels details in your documents.  Margaret might like to visit a YouTube channel or a to learn more, but make sure its easy to navigate through to the giving section of your website, or allow her to buy some charity merchandise.

If you appeal to Rachel and the squeezed middle, don’t forget to build an interesting and encouraging community for your supporters, using your Facebook page to promote your causes and campaigns.  Ensure you have high quality stories and asks, that Rachel might want to share with her network, and help you build your profile and reach.

If you are being supported by Jacquelines, the wealthy professionals, get to work again on your active supporters to get some JustGiving sponsorship pages and don’t forget to involve your senior staff and trustees.  Think also about whether you can gently work with Jacqueline to encourage her along the giving continuum but be prepared to demonstrate good value for money.

Giving on-line is constantly evolving, but taking some simple steps could really make a difference.

Feel free to contact me for more information: andrewkmackay[at] and @BetterCharity.


4 thoughts on “Six online donor profiles and action points

  1. […] Consider whether your fundraising activities are as varied as they could be.  Visit the Institute of Fundraising for some ideas and guidance, or think about ways to engage your online donors. […]

  2. […] the New Year – watch this space! The results have already started to attracted the attention of bloggers and Third Sector […]

  3. The GiveAsYouLive Blog has picked up this post, which is nice. There is still time to contribute to their Digital Donor Review, so check it out at

  4. […] how to reach donors both by post and online, and make sure that your Christmas ask fits with your broader fundraising […]

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