Digital Micro-Donations 101

by George Konetes | Jun 8, 2018 | Digital, Fundraising

Recent research shows that charitable giving in America is holding strong in terms of total dollars given. But there are more charities and more ways to give today than ever before.  Breaking through the noise to reach new potential donors is no small task. Strategies like digital micro-donations can add a very valuable tool to your toolbox. Here is an introduction to the concept.


A micro-donation is simply a very small ask, usually under $5, that gives prospective donors a very low entry point to make some small positive impact.  An example would be a humanitarian aid ministry provides an opportunity to donate $3 to buy a meal for a hungry child. Often people will give more than the minimum amount once they consider the cause and decide to act.

Most non-profits, of course, need larger donations to operate at scale and make use of the efficiencies that enable them to succeed. The idea with small gifts like this is to reach new people and cultivate the relationship so they become larger and more frequent donors over time.

Donor Psychology

Most people do not get on the internet looking for new places to send money, especially people spending time on social media. So in essence all appeals are intrusions into someone’s regular schedule and digital space. When someone’s routine is disrupted by an organization with a need, they immediately begin to look for reasons to dismiss, delete, or scroll past it. Here are some of the reasons people ignore a message:

  • Not relevant to their interest – Not every organization’s mission will resonate with everyone. Finding the right audience can remove this barrier.
  • Too busy to think about it – Sometimes people just start deleting things because they are busy and frustrated that one more thing has gotten in front of them. There isn’t much you can do about this other than do your best to time appeals for when people are more likely to have time to consider them.
  • The creative is not compelling – If the appeal does not feel genuine, important, legitimate, or timely, it may not engage them deeply enough to connect on a heart level.
  • They do not have enough funds – People justify brushing an appeal aside because they instantly conclude they don’t have spare resources to help another organization. This is the barrier that micro-donations can help overcome.

If people know that they can make a difference for $3 up front, they are less likely to reject your message on the grounds of not having the money to help. You will still have to clear all of the other hurdles but this gives you a big advantage. The primary benefit is now they are willing to consider your mission, who you help, and why it is so important to partner with you.

They may give a few dollars as an impulse gift, but often as they start to consider giving they will step up to a higher level.  Once a donor becomes engaged and emotionally invested with a cause they believe in, they will often open their wallet a little wider. Perhaps, they will feed three children for $9 or a whole family for $15.  Some may even decide to feed an entire village.

A New Conversation

The most important thing is that micro-donations allow you to start a new conversation with someone who has a heart for your organization. You can now engage a new audience segment that may not have existed for your organization previously.

Infinity Concepts can help you develop an effective micro-donation strategy.

Let’s talk!

George Konetes

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