Online Fundraising and the Top 10 Most Generous Online Cities of 2012 | npENGAGE

Online Fundraising and the Top 10 Most Generous Online Cities of 2012

By on Apr 11, 2013


By Steve MacLaughlin, director of Idea Lab, Blackbaud

Online fundraising continued its double-digit growth in 2012, retaining its title as the fastest growing fundraising channel. Consider this — in the last seven years, online fundraising has grown more than three times from approximately $6.8 billion raised online in 2006 to more than $22 billion raised online in 2011. And that number will be even higher for 2012. 

Today, Blackbaud announced our 5th annual ranking of the most generous online cities in the United States; true to form and mirroring the national trend, the most generous online cities in the U.S. marched in lockstep.  For example, we are seeing that the growth in the amount donated online in each city correlates well to the national trend, at minimum doubling in most cities the last five years (from 2008 to 2012) since we started the analysis.

Our report ranks 265 cities with a total population of more than 100,000 based on per capita online giving and donations given between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012. Residents in the 265 cities combined gave more than 6.3 million donations online to the tune of $509 million. This was an increase from 2011 numbers at 12 percent and 15 percent respectively.

The top 10 most generous online cities remained mostly the same, with one exception: Minneapolis, MN moved back into the top 10 after dropping out in 2011. Minneapolis replaces Bellevue, Washington, which slipped to #11 on the list.

From a regional perspective, the South has the most cities in the top 25 with nine. This includes a tight-knit cluster of Washington, DC; Alexandria, Virginia; and Arlington, Virginia. The West comes in second place with eight. The Midwest has five and the Northeast three.

Below are the top 10 Most Generous Online U.S. Cities for 2012:

City 2012 Rank (2011 Rank) 2012 Donation Amount Per 1,000 Population 2012 Total Online Giving (% change from 2011) 2012 Number of Donations (% change from 2011)
Seattle 1 (1) $38,297 $22,922,420 (+36%) 160,905 (+19%)
Alexandria, VA 2 (2) $33,106 $4,763,519 (+25%) 56,585 (+13%)
Washington, DC 3 (3) $23,995 $14,201,233 (+20%) 131, 252 (+10%)
Arlington, VA 4 (4) $23,759 $4,988,799 (+19%) 55,949 (+13%)
Ann Arbor, MI 5 (6) $21,499 $2,459,272 (+26%) 28,419 (+26%)
Cambridge, MA 6 (5) $20,202 $2,133,279 (+17%) 23,984 (+10%)
Berkeley, CA 7 (7) $17,800 $1,804,445 (+11%) 23,937 (+13%)
San Francisco, CA 8 (8) $17,384 $14,063,720 (+22%) 129,319 (+12%)
St. Louis, MO 9 (10) $16,631 $5,893,686 (+19%) 82,594 (+15%)
Minneapolis, MN 10 (14) $15,721 $6,014,963 (+24%) 73,122 (+15%)

To download the full ranking of 2012 Most Generous Online U.S. Cities, visit


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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