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When you visualize what a “typical” donation looks like, you might think of a giant written check with a ton of 0s at the end. While that may be true of some organizations’ donor bases, the world of philanthropy and giving is changing… in a “micro” way.

The concept of micro-donations has taken the fundraising industry by storm in the past few years as the world grappled with unprecedented times. While disposable income dwindled as the need for support grew, micro-donations offered — and continue to offer! — a simple-yet-effective solution based on one straightforward principle: small donations can make a huge impact.

What is a Micro-donation?

The definition of micro-donations is about as literal as definitions can get: Micro-donations are small donations.

While most people characterize a micro-donation as a gift between $0.25 and $25, GreaterGiving considers a micro-donation as “any gift small enough to go almost unnoticed.” If you wouldn’t do a double take seeing that number come out of your bank account, it can be considered a micro-donation.

Who Gives Micro-donations?

Tons of people give micro-donations, but the majority of the micro-donation donor pool is made up of millennial donors (born between 1981-1996. But why?

One of the reasons millennial donors are dominating micro-donations is that they’re dominating the Canadian demographic, in general. Millennials are considered “the fastest-growing population” by StatsCanada and are expected to become the largest generation by 2029.

Millennials are also considered the most dedicated to advocacy and activism with passions that range far and wide. This means that micro-donations can help millennials spread their monetary support to as many causes as possible without breaking the bank.

Finally, millennials are some of the best-equipped people to adapt to the online-first micro-donation experience. Not only can millennials adapt to online micro-donation platforms at a record pace, but their dedication to social media makes spreading the word easier than ever.

Why Choose Micro-donations?

As an organization, it might seem counterintuitive to not only accept smaller donations but actually encourage them. How can you possibly meet your goals if you’re encouraging $5 donations instead of $100 donations?

The answer is simple…you do both.

A micro-donation strategy does not need to replace every other fundraising strategy you have, but there are huge risks to not including a micro-donation strategy at all.

There are 3 key reasons why a micro-donation strategy is non-negotiable:

  1. It Diversifies Your Revenue Streams.
  2. It Expands Your Donor Pool.
  3. It Encourages Sustainable Long-Term Giving.

As the past few years have revealed, we can never predict what the future will look like. And, as many organizations have unfortunately found out, putting all of your revenue eggs in one kind of donor basket is a recipe for disaster.

Offering micro-donations lowers the risk of losing out on revenue should we find ourselves in another bout of unprecedented times.

If your middle/major donors fall into financial hardship, no problem, because you’ve got micro-donors. Then, if your micro-donations are lower than they have been, you’re still safe because of your middle and major donors. Since mass (or annual) donors are difficult to acquire and maintain with existing models, introducing micro-donations is essential to maximizing and maintaining them as recurring donors.

In addition to diversifying your types of donors, leveraging micro-donations can help expand your donor pool to individuals who may otherwise feel unable to donate.

Millennials and Gen Z, for example, can feel “unfit” to donate because their extra dollars often go to paying off student loans or saving for their first home. But, by adding micro-donations to your gifting options, you’re removing barriers between what people think a donor is and what a donor actually is, making the act of donating much more accessible.

Once your new donor pool gets a feel for how easy and low-cost micro-donations are (and how appreciative you are as an organization for donations both big and small) you’re one step closer to life-long monthly recurring donors… and more long-term donors means more long-term funding.

Hope Factory - micro-donations long term

So, How Can You Gift a Micro-Donation?

Micro-donations can look like a ton of different things depending on where you’re giving to and how they accept funds.

When you put a loonie in a cash register charity box or donate $2 on a purchase you’re already making, those are both micro-donations (to causes chosen by someone else).

When you Round UP with Hope Factory, that’s a micro-donation, too…but to a cause chosen by you, instead.

With Hope Factory’s Round UP option, the transactions you’re already making are rounded up to the next $1. The cash from every transaction’s Round UP is put into a “digital spare change jar” over the span of one month. At the end of the month, you get to empty your digital spare change jar by donating it to a cause you care about.

The best part about micro-donating through Round UPs?

You’ll be shocked at how much you can give despite only saving a few cents every transaction because small gifts do make a huge difference.

With micro-donations increasing in popularity as more and more organizations diversify their options for giving, the pressure is off to donate beyond your means. Whether you’re giving $0.25 or $20, micro-donations are a small and easy way to make a massive difference to the causes that matter most to you.

Want to learn more about how micro-donations can work for your organization? Fill out the form below and our team will be in touch!