News and analysis
January 08, 2016

Year-End Donations by PayPal Climb 15% to $857 Million

Donors around the world gave $857 million using the online-payment company PayPal during the 2015 year-end giving season, executives said Thursday, a 15 percent increase over the year before.

PayPal counted donations made from November 27 through December 31, which came from 7.2 million donors in 183 countries. Individuals in the United States gave nearly $700 million.

The average gift size was $93.

The number of charities that received donations by PayPal increased 6 percent to 258,759, according to the company.

PayPal executives cited two factors in the year-over-year increase. First, the company expanded its 1 percent matching program for gifts of at least $10 from just the United States to eight additional countries. Its users responded enthusiastically to the idea that 101 percent of their gifts would go to the charities of their choosing, said Sean Milliken, head of Global Social Innovation at PayPal.

Credit also goes to the organizers of Giving Tuesday, Mr. Milliken said, who have succeeded in making the day a major event during a busy year-end season. PayPal seized the day, December 1, to try and break the Guinness World Record for online donations in a 24 hour period, ultimately bringing in $45.8 million. (The previous record was $19 million.)

"People really like a compelling and challenging reason to get involved, and I think we were able to tap into that," Mr. Milliken said.

Giving Tuesday was the third biggest day for donations on PayPal, he said. December 31 and 30 were first and second.

Technology also played a role. Twenty-one percent of PayPal donations were made from mobile devices.

Online charitable-donation processor Blackbaud also reported growth in year-end donations made on mobile devices. On Giving Tuesday 2015, 17 percent of its contributions were made on mobile devices compared with 13 percent in 2014.

Send an email to Megan O’Neil.