WP Remix


The Pew Internet & American Life Project just released an interesting report on ‘The Internet and the Recession’ that I found fascinating. This study shows how a lot of folks are using the internet in a variety of ways to help them survive these tough economic times. One scary statistic reported is that 35% of all Americans have seen their investments lose more than half their value and that percentage grows to a whopping 44% for those with household incomes of $75,000 or more.

You might be thinking right now ‘DUH! The economy’s horrible, where have you been?’ but what I found really surprising was the Pew survey in April that indicated that even in these tough times, people are reluctant to give up their internet access. Only 9% cancelled or cut back on internet service while much higher numbers of Americans were cutting Cable TV or modifying (or eliminating) cellular phone service. 22% gave up the TV and/or reduced or eliminated their cellular service.

I don’t know about you, but this amazes me. I LOVE my internet. I mean I REALLY REALLY love the internet. But my television comes first. I think I might starve to death before I turned off my satellite dish. It’s still great background knowledge as you examine your internet strategies, justify budget infusions for your electronic initiatives and generally think about this channel for getting your message across. Seems people really are addicted to this internet thing.

Speaking of getting the message across, I’m not sure we’re getting the job done in that arena. When you look at the original Pew survey in 2000 and the updates they have done up to 2009, growth in certain areas has been astounding. “Make a donation to charity” has definitely shown growth, but compare it to similar types of transactions such as buying a product, making a travel reservation, or using online banking. The growth is significantly less. People are turning more and more to the internet for financial transactions, but the growth in online giving lags the rest of the field. It might make sense for us to take a look at that statistic and determine what we’re doing (or not doing) to impact it. It’s important to note that everyone has to bank and buy stuff, but not everyone makes charitable contributions. This might be enough of a factor to cover the difference, but it’s still worth a more careful examination. If only I had the time and resources!!

NOTE: Click the chart to enlarge. Or find a magnifying glass to read it.

The Pew Internet and American Life studies can be found at www.pewinternet.org – if you haven’t spent time looking at their reports, you’re really missing something great. Interesting reports and a wealth of information is just a few clicks away. Much of what they have done is incredibly helpful to annual giving professionals. Good thing you didn’t turn off that internet access!

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