If you had to guess how much charitable giving grew in 2012, what would you say? What about online fundraising?

5% … 10% … 15% … 30% … more? Ok, now that I’ve got you thinking.

Based on our fundraising research, charitable giving grew by 1.7% in 2012 – nothing to write home about. One the bright side, small nonprofits grew by 7.3% and online fundraising crushed it. Check out the full charitable giving report here.

Let’s look at how online fundraising continues to take root.

1) Online Fundraising is a Growth Engine

Nonprofits have figured out how to boost online fundraising results.

Online Giving Grows 10.7% in 2012

Online giving grew 10.7% in 2012 compared to 2011 with large nonprofits growing by 7.2%, medium sized nonprofits growing by 14.3%, and small nonprofits growing by 11.8% on a year-over-year basis. Overall fundraising only grew 1.7%.


2) All Nonprofit Sectors Are Growing Their Online Fundraising

It’s no surprise that nonprofits continue to grow their online fundraising.

Online Giving Growth By Sector in 2012

Based on supporting research we’ve found that the online channel is a great way to acquire new donors who are both younger and have a higher lifetime value. But a multichannel fundraising approach is critical to donor retention.

We’ve found that the nonprofits that deliver the greatest results have a great online donor acquisition strategy coupled with a very proactive way to move those online donors to offline giving channels. They also make use of powerful fundraising software.


3) Online Fundraising Mirrors Traditional Fundraising

Online giving peaked in December — accounting for 22.4% of 2012’s online gifts. 34% of all fundraising happens in the last three months of the year so it’s no surprise that December leads the way. January was the slowest month of the year for online giving, bringing in only 5% of the year’s online donations.

End Of Year Fundraising Results for 2012


4) Online Fundraising Isn’t the Magic Bullet

In this year’s charitable giving report we found that, on average, online donations account for 7% of overall fundraising. This was an increase from 6.3% in 2011 and is nearing the record level of 7.6% from 2010.

Traditional fundraising methods such as major gifts, annual fund, checks, telephone, direct mail, and events are still king, making up 93% of all charitable giving last year.

Percentage of total fundraising coming from online channel in 2012

Although online giving only accounts for 7% of total giving it’s an important channel for more than just raising funds. Like I mentioned before, the web is a great channel for acquiring new donors who are younger and have higher net worth.

Don’t be deceived by the seemingly small number.


Your Turn. How have you seen online fundraising in the nonprofit space take shape? Grow? And become more important?


About the 2012 Charitable Giving Report by Blackbaud:

The Charitable Giving Report combines findings from The Blackbaud Index of Charitable Giving and The Blackbaud Index of Online Giving to provide the largest analysis of overall and online giving trends in the nonprofit sector. The aim of the Report is to provide
a benchmark for giving and help inform nonprofits’ fundraising strategies in 2013.

Data from 3,144 nonprofit organizations and more than $7.9 billion in fundraising revenue was used to produce Blackbaud’s Charitable Giving Report. The online fundraising findings are based on data from 2,581 nonprofit organizations and more than $512 million in online fundraising revenue.


Frank Barry is a Sr. Digital Marketer at Blackbaud and blogs at npNGAGE. He digs helping nonprofits excel at digital marketing, social media and online fundraising. Follow him on Twitter @franswaa.


Frank Barry, director of digital marketing at Blackbaud and blogger at npENGAGE, helps nonprofits use the Internet for digital communication, social media, and fundraising so they can focus changing the world. He’s worked with a diverse group of organizations including LIVESTRONG, United Methodist Church, American Heart Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters, ChildFund Int’l, InTouch Ministries, Heifer Int’l, University of Notre Dame and University of Richmond. Along with writing for industry publications like Mashable and Social Media Today, Frank facilitates discussions, presents solo sessions and organizes panels for industry conferences such as NTC, SXSW, BBCon and numerous others. When he’s out and about he enjoys talking to interesting people about how they are changing the world – check out his interviews. Say Hi on Twitter – @franswaa or Google+

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