Report: Online Charitable Giving Surges in 2016

The latest edition of Blackbaud’s Charitable Giving Report finds a nearly 8 percent increase in online giving in 2016—well outpacing charitable giving as a whole, which grew at a slower pace.

In the scope of Blackbaud’s Charitable Giving Report, online-based fundraising represents about 11.3 percent of the $23 billion in 2016 fundraising revenue analyzed by the software company. (Taking grants out of the picture, it’s about 7.2 percent, according to the report.)

But that $2.6 billion in revenue analyzed represents a major growth area. The report notes that while overall giving grew by about 1 percent between 2015 and 2016, online giving grew by 7.9 percent—with much of this growth driven by medium-sized nonprofits, which saw online giving rise by 11.4 percent last year.

And those donations got bigger last year, with 10 percent of online donations topping $1,000—and more than 40 percent of the nonprofits studied getting at least one online donation of $1,000 or more. The result is that online giving remained the main bright spot in the world of charitable giving—one being driven by broader technological trends, such as mobile giving.

“2016 showed a continuation of lower year-over-year growth rates in overall charitable giving and strong growth in online donations,” the report stated. “A strong U.S. economy, increased consumer confidence, and other positive trends had minimal impact on giving growth.”

Other notable findings from the report:

Winners and losers: While most sectors saw growth in giving overall, particularly K-12 education, which saw a 7.5 percent year-over-year improvement, a few large charity sectors saw their numbers dip a bit, particularly healthcare (down 4.5 percent), public and society benefit (down 1.3 percent), and environment and animal welfare (down 1.2 percent). Online donations, however, helped close the gap for these sectors—on that front, all three of these categories saw improvements above 9 percent. Arts and culture organizations led the way in online giving growth, jumping by 15.4 percent year over year.

Giving Tuesday moved the needle: The most popular month of the year for charitable giving has traditionally been December (at 17.7 percent), with June right behind (at 10.6 percent). However, online giving shifts the balance significantly in favor of December, with 21.8 percent of online giving happening during the last month of the year. (By sector, the only category where December isn’t the biggest month for online donations is medical research.) The report says that the presidential election likely didn’t have an impact on donations, but that #GivingTuesday did—making November the second-most-popular month for online donations.

Curious to learn more? Head over to the Blackbaud website to get your hands on the survey.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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