October 14, 2009 – (HOSTSEARCH.COM) – Britain is a nation of online givers with over a third of consumers (37 per cent) having used a charity's website as a channel to donate money, according to research released by 1&1
, the world's largest web host. The survey of 1700 British consumers found for 31 per cent of Britons, giving money via a charity website is now their preferred way to donate. Second only to donating in-person, the method is now more popular than direct debits, phone payments and the post. In fact, two thirds of consumers believe they are more likely to give to charity as a direct result of the availability of online payment. Furthermore, individual charity websites are now the resource most utilised when people are considering making a donation. Investing in a quality web presence is now a must for all non-profits, with consumers expecting such websites to be as attractive as business ones. In fact, charities can be reassured that three quarters of Britons feel that a charity website can never be 'too flash' or 'too expensive-looking'.
1&1's 'Non-Profits on the Web Study' has found that the individual websites of charities and non-profit organisations are now the preferred port of call for consumers wishing to research causes and donate money without visiting the charity. In total, 60 per cent of Britons have used a charity or non-profit group's website. Over one third (37 per cent) of respondents have used such a website as a channel to donate money, with 31 per cent now preferring to make their donations to charity via websites. Whilst in-person donations were most popular (42 per cent), making donations online is today more favoured than established fundraising practices such as direct debit forms (16 per cent), posting cheques (8 per cent) and payments by phone (4 per cent). Indeed, two thirds (68 per cent) of respondents believe they are more likely to give to charity today than ever before, as a result of the convenience of being able to pay online.
The data shows that the Internet is now a vital element of how we engage with both local and international non-profit groups. 30 per cent of Britons currently use charity websites to remain connected with overseas appeals and 1 in 5 (21 per cent) to keep abreast of a local cause. When considering whether or not to make an individual donation, a charity's website is the most utilised source of information for Britons (39 per cent). Other sources utilised were recommendations from family & friends (30 per cent), 3rd party online material (24 per cent), printed materials (21 per cent), charity representatives (16 per cent) and Charity Commission material (9 per cent).
Oliver Mauss, CEO 1&1 Internet Ltd., said "In today's economic climate, it is vital for non-profit organisations to realise the value of the Internet for making connections and driving revenue. The public now prioritises charities that can inspire them with content and accept payments immediately online".
However, the research shows that would-be donors can be deterred from parting with money if they see a charity has an unattractive or ineffective website. 47 per cent of consumers report that a slow website would deter them from donating money. Website speed annoyed busy Londoners the most (63 per cent), whilst those in Northern Ireland were least judgemental (37 per cent). Some 43 per cent of respondents would be less likely to donate if a charity's website looked unprofessional, with women most deterred by online image (45 per cent) as compared to men (39 per cent). Once again, Londoners were most judgmental, with 59 per cent potentially deterred by a poor website design. A lack of a charity's up-to-date news was a potential put-off for 42 per cent of donors. This material had most value for those aged 16-24 years, with 48 per cent needing to see this, as compared to 38 per cent of 35-44 year olds.
Non-profit organisations often worry that an impressive website could be counter-productive when appealing for donations. Significantly however, three quarters of respondents believe they could never be deterred from donating money if a charity website looked 'too flashy' or 'too expensive'. The research suggests that Britons now judge charity websites in the same critical light as they do business websites.
Mauss added, "Maintaining an effective website should be viewed as a mission-critical activity for charities. As the most preferred source of information used by donors, the standard of a website will directly impact a potential supporter's response. Charities that drag their feet on the web may in the long-term risk losing out financially to more technologically savvy organisations".
iT4Communities is a charity that runs a large UK-wide network of IT volunteers who support hundreds of charities with IT projects each year. The body has seen a steady year on year increase in requests for volunteer help with websites. Anne Stafford, Programme Manager for iT4Communities, comments, "Charities are relishing the benefits of using websites that make it cost effective to update their information and collect money".
1&1 recently launched a unique new website package, 1&1 MyBusiness Site which greatly simplifies the process of creating a website. With a custom template for 'Non-profit group/Charity' including relevant images and text, users need only enter basic details and the tool generates a fully functioning, relevant website to be trialled free of charge and priced at £9.99/month+VAT thereafter. 1&1 MyBusiness Site comprises an excellent way for any charity to launch online with no skill or upfront fees required.
.ORG is the domain name of choice for organisations dedicated to serving the public interest. Lance Wolak, Director of Marketing for .ORG, The Public Interest Registry adds, "The contributions of the .ORG community in recent years are truly inspiring. They have not only helped to galvanise interest in various causes, but have given non-profits as well as individuals and commercial organisations an unprecedented means to inspire, educate, collaborate, and ultimately change the world as we know it".
United Internet AG, the parent company of 1&1 Internet, itself harnesses the power of online fundraising with its 'United Internet for UNICEF Foundation'. Leveraging the millions of visitors to the Group's websites and users of its European portals of GMX, 1&1 and WEB.DE, the company has raised over £4million, much of which has been donated directly with online payment on the campaign website (www.united-internet-for-unicef.com). The first priority of the foundation is to support the projects of UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund. UNICEF projects are presented on the websites of the United Internet Group in order to attract and inspire as many donors as possible.
About 1&1 Internet Ltd.
1&1 Internet Ltd based in Slough, west of London, is Europe's No.1 web hosting and domain name registration company. 1&1 Internet Ltd is the UK arm of 1&1 Internet AG based in Germany (a subsidiary of United Internet Group, a public company with a market cap of more than 2 Billion GBP). 1&1 was established in 1988 and holds some 9 million British, German, French, Spanish, Austrian and US customer contracts and serves some 10 million domain names at its 70,000 server strong Data Centres. 1&1 prides itself on being the one-stop-shop for web solutions.
1&1 Internet Ltd entered the UK domain registration and web hosting market in June 2000. As a well funded profitable company, it is in a strong position to deliver a high quality service at low cost. 1&1 is an accredited Registrar with ICANN (.com), Nominet (.co.uk), Afilias (.info), NeuLevel (.biz) and PIR (.org).