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This New Data Will Help You Connect with Donors

6 min read
April 13, 2022
Tim Sarrantonio headshot
Tim Sarrantonio
Director of Corporate Brand, Neon One
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When do your donors give?

In our recent report on donor behavior and how it has changed since the beginning of the pandemic, new data reveals that online donors are most likely to give on a Thursday at 11:30am CT. 

But what does this information actually mean to fundraisers? Let’s break down why timing is one of the most important elements to keep in mind when you design your online donation process. 

When Do Donors Prefer to Give?

Before we dig into when donors prefer to give, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. This data focuses only on online giving, which is easier to track accurately than direct mail responses and other donation methods. The data in the report examines when donors are most likely to give during the week and at what time during the day. The results were remarkably straightforward, and they provide us with some key points to explore further.

First, let’s look at what the data says about when donors prefer to give.

Individuals are most likely to donate in the early afternoon on weekdays. One critical point to consider is that the data wasn’t directly compared against any data related to emails sent during these times. Regardless, the sheer number of donations made during those hours is too great to ignore.

Interestingly, this trend aligns with data around the hours people are most likely to engage in online shopping. According to SalesCycle’s study, there were two peak hours for online shopping in 2020: shoppers were especially active from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., with a second peak at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. The fact that online donation processing and online shopping both peak in the mid-morning and early afternoon means that your donors are actively spending money during those hours. 

So we know when donors are online, spending money, and likely to give. Next, it’s time to ask yourself how you can best understand how donors spend their time online and how you can inspire them to give.

How do donors spend their time online?

Nonprofit solicitations do not exist in a vacuum. The average person receives 10,000 advertisements per day—you’re competing for your donors’ attention! If you want people to give to your organization, it’s important to anticipate when they will want to donate and to give them an easy way to act on that impulse.

Still not sure how your donors behave online? Here are some other notable data points:

When we step back and look at all of these together, it paints a clear picture of when and how our donors are spending their time online. Your donors spend nearly 7 hours online every day, but they’re most likely to donate in the early afternoon on weekdays. When they’re on your website, they’ll spend less than a minute on each page, but they’ll spend up to 4 minutes making a gift. Around 12% of desktop users and 9% of mobile users will actually complete a gift on your page. 

When you ask donors to give, timing is important! Send appeals during the windows donors are most active, and remember to keep your appeals clear, concise, and easy to act upon. With so many distractions happening around your donor, it’s important to create a moment they will remember. 

What can you do to create a giving moment?

In Francesco Ambrogetti’s fantastic book Hooked On A Feeling, he outlines research that explains how humans make decisions. He wrote specifically about giving, saying, “Our memory cycle is organized… in a peak-end form. We remember little: the beginning, the peaks (the extreme positive or extremely negative experiences), and the end. That’s why donors don’t even remember when asked whether they support a cause.” Creating a giving moment that taps into donors’ emotions and lived experiences will make your appeal more compelling.

By understanding the human psychology around creating peak moments, your organization will be able to tap into that short amount of attention the potential donor is giving you. For example, your appeal may aim to delight your audience by surprising them with a video from a celebrity announcing a special prize for donors to the campaign. That is a peak moment for your potential donors that will catch their attention and stick in their memory.

Here are a few tips on how to make an immediate impression when someone visits your donation page and help smooth the journey toward that peak moment of donating:

  • Remove the navigation bar from your donation page so donors aren’t distracted during the giving process
  • Write a compelling headline that catches donors’ attention and inspires them to stay on the page
  • Keep your messaging short and sweet so potential donors immediately understand how they can make an impact
  • Add a mission-centric visual next to the form to connect them to your mission and the people you serve
  • Change your call to action button’s text to reiterate the donor’s impact and keep them engaged during the giving process

When combined with the peak moments you’ve created for your donors, these small adjustments to your donation page can work wonders for your conversion rates. 


The beauty of online fundraising is that your nonprofit can accept donations any time a donor wants to give, but our research shows there are certain times of the day that your donors are most likely to process online gifts. People are spending more time online but less time browsing specific web pages, which means that your organization needs to make an amazing first impression—and quickly. 

The best way to be memorable to a potential donor is to tap into their innate desire for an amazing experience. People love moments that will stick with them and make them happy, which is why, with a few small adjustments to your online donation page, you can appeal to what makes people tick and ensure that they tap that donate button.

Donors Report Tablet View
Donors Report Tablet View

Donors: Understanding The Future Of Individual Giving

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