December 18, 2012

Year-End Online Gifts are Bigger, but Number of Donations Slows

Donors are making bigger online gifts to charity this month than they did last year at this time, but they are making fewer gifts, according to data provided by Network for Good, a giving site that provided information on online contributions to 8,700 charities.

Last week, the average online gift made through Network for Good was $122.55, up from $113.57 for the same week in 2011.  The average gift size rose by a similar percentage in the previous week.

The gain could be a sign that concerns about the economy are starting to ease, says Katya Andresen, chief operating officer for the giving site. However, she noted that a growing number of companies are using Network for Good to run employee-giving drives, making year-to-year comparisons tricky.

And signs of a slowdown in the number of gifts last week could be worrisome. In the first week of December, the number of donations made through Network for Good grew by 7 percent, but last week they fell by 6 percent.

One reason for more numerous gifts earlier in the month is that many charities participated in #Giving Tuesday, an effort to draw donations just after Thanksgiving. Some fundraisers worry that the day may have simply shifted when people made contributions, rather than prompting more people to give.

December is a crucial month for online giving, as many charities attract their largest gifts then. Blackbaud, the fundraising software company, found that the average gift was $180.04 in December of last year, more than double the average $82.53 given in January. (The company has not released figures yet for this month.)

See our interactive graphic to track year-end online giving by day.

How the Size of Average Online Donations Is Growing

Week 2011 2012 Change
October 1-6 $78.03 $83.30 $5.27
October 7-13 $62.74 $81.94 $19.20
October 14-20 $73.54 $86.26 $12.72
October 21-27 $68.68 $91.21 $22.53
October 28-November 3 $74.59 $79.35 $4.76
November 4-10 $75.79 $87.52 $11.74
November 11-17 $74.14 $104.22 $30.08
November 18-24 $82.12 $98.11 $15.99
November 25-December 1 $98.33 $112.93 $14.60
December 2-8 $108.24 $114.77 $6.53
December 9-15 $113.57 $122.55 $8.98

Source: Network for Good

Emily Gipple contributed to this report. Send an e-mail to Holly Hall.