In the not too distant past, we dialed 411 for information, went to the store to shop and called our friends on the phone. Today though we Google for information, visit Amazon to shop and Facebook our friends in between.

In short: we engage online.

The Interactive Investment Benchmark Study from Charity Dynamics shows that nonprofit professionals are well aware of this trend and are wisely investing in solutions that will help their organization be a part of the ever growing online interaction pie.

55% of respondents say their organization is increasing their investment in interactive solutions this year and about half of those say it will be a big increase, 11% or more. 42% of total respondents project they’ll maintain 2013’s interactive investment levels.

Just as telling as the actual investment increase though is the prioritization of solutions.

priority-investment-areas_graph
Not surprisingly, basic solutions like online fundraising, e-commerce and data management are high priorities for many. These are the transaction fundamentals and prerequisites for successful constituent engagement.

It’s the investment in solutions that foster long-term relationships like constituent engagement/social media and mobile solutions that showcase strategic trends. At 47% and 20% respectively, these types of interactive solutions are making their mark on nonprofit fundraising, marketing and most importantly, supporter relationships.

The value of digital constituent engagement isn’t just a gut feeling or hunch; it is very real and very tangible. In fact, Waggener Edstrom reports that 55% of supporters who engaged with causes via social media have been inspired to take further action and the Nonprofit Donor Engagement Benchmark Survey shows that 79% of donors who gave $100 or more to their favorite charity also visited that charity’s Facebook page at least monthly.

As nonprofits develop their interactive strategies and budgets, they have the right idea: ensure the basics work and then make them work hard for you with effective engagement.

Originally published in Fundraising Success on May 13, 2014