How Much Money is Raised through Online Giving? | npENGAGE

How Much Money is Raised through Online Giving?

By on Dec 27, 2011


One of the most common questions that I get is how much money is raised through online giving. The answer leads into plenty more questions about who, what, when, when, and why online fundraising continues to grow. The good news is that we can now answer most of these questions.

Here are some important questions, answers, facts and figures about online giving:

Online Giving in the United StatesHow much money is raised through online giving?
In 2010, online fundraising in the United States surpassed $22 billion. This was an increase of over 34% from 2009. The year-over-year growth was in large part due to the tremendous amount of online giving towards the Haiti Earthquake. Compare that to the $290 billion in total fundraising in the United States according to Giving USA 2011.

How much of all fundraising is done online?
About 8% of all fundraising is now done online. This has grown tremendously over the past decade. The 2010 Online Giving Report revealed that the size of the nonprofit makes very little difference in what percentage of total fundraising comes from online giving. Keep in mind that 92% of giving still comes from offline channels and that 32% of online donors switch to give through offline channels.

When does most of the online giving happen?
Over 30% of online giving happens in the final three months of the year. The majority of this online fundraising takes place during the final weeks of December. It is also worth noting that online giving spikes during disasters or extraordinary circumstances. Online fundraising during a disaster can be 3x to 4x normal trends and the vast majority of giving happens in just a few days. In non-disaster fundraising, The Communities Foundation of Texas raised $10.7 million online in a single day during the 2011 North Texas Giving Day.

Which nonprofit organizations raise the most money online?
According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, the nonprofits that raise the most online come from the social service, international, and health sectors. These organizations raise most of these funds from disaster relief or from peer-to-peer event fundraising. Nonprofits in the education, hospital, and the arts sector raise smaller amounts of money online compared to other organizations.

How much is the average online gift?
The average online gift has been trending in the $140 range. This varies a lot by sector and online giving type, but is still significantly larger than the average offline gift. For example, online average gifts in higher education can be in excess of $250 or more. Peer-to-peer fundraising has average online gifts of $60 or higher. Multichannel donors have both higher average gift amounts and are more loyal than single channel donors.

How much online giving comes from social media?
Donations made through social media currently represent a very small percentage of online giving currently. The 2011 Nonprofit Social Network Report indicates that less than 1% of nonprofits have raised more than $100,000 using social media. One area where social media is helping grow giving is peer-to-peer fundraising. The use of social media tools with friends asking friends fundraising has proven itself as a method for raising money.

How is online giving trending right now?
The Blackbaud Index of Online Giving is a monthly view of online fundraising trends. The Index is based on data from more than 1,700 nonprofit organizations and is broken down by size and sector. The Index shows a three-month moving average of year-over-year percent changes in giving. Both the Blackbaud Index of Charitable Giving and the Blackbaud Index of Online Giving are updated on or about the 15th of every month.

What about online giving trends in other countries?
Data from outside the US is easy to count but harder to measure. We have plenty of giving data but there isn’t enough formal classification of organizations or in-country reporting to help measure what’s really happening. Knowing the size of organizations and being able to compare groups with a certain focus can be challenging in certain countries. For that reason Blackbaud does not currently report on certain international trends.

Where can I get more information about online giving trends?
Here are three good places to start: Blackbaud Index of Online Giving (monthly trends), 2010 Online Giving Report (annual trends), and the 2011 donorCentrics Internet and Multichannel Giving Benchmarking Report (multi-year trends).

How do you know all this stuff?
Blackbaud has more data about the nonprofit sector than anyone else. That allows us to do research, produce reports, and give more representative information about what is happening. Blackbaud’s research and insights into the nonprofit sector have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Los Angeles Times, The Agitator, and other leading authorities.


Steve MacLaughlin is the Vice President of Data & Analytics at Blackbaud and bestselling author of Data Driven Nonprofits.

MacLaughlin has been featured as a fundraising and nonprofit expert in many mainstream publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, USA Today, The NonProfit Times, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Bloomberg, and has appeared on NPR.

He is a frequent speaker at events including the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP), American Marketing Association (AMA), Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), Direct Marketing Fundraisers Association (DMFA), Giving Institute Summer Symposium, National Association of Independent School (NAIS), Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC), Institute of Fundraising National Convention (United Kingdom), Civil Society Conference (Netherlands), International Fundraising Congress (Netherlands), Ask Direct Fundraising Summer School (Ireland), and a keynote speaker at several conferences across the social good sector.

Steve previously served on the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) Board of Directors and is currently an adjunct faculty member at Columbia University.

He is a frequent blogger, published author of a chapter in the book People to People Fundraising: Social Networking and Web 2.0 for Charities, and is a co-editor of the book Internet Management for Nonprofits: Strategies, Tools & Trade Secrets. His latest book, Data Driven Nonprofits, became a bestseller in 2016.

Steve earned both his undergraduate degree and a Master of Science degree in Interactive Media from Indiana University.

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