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Studies Show Growth in Online Giving

By Angela Bevacqua

Welcome to our new blog! We plan to discuss topics related to philanthropy, online giving, and GivingFirst in particular. We also hope to share perspectives from a variety of people here at the Foundation.

But what’s on our minds right now are the results from recent giving studies.

The bad news is that the Giving USA Foundation and Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University reported that charitable giving from individuals, corporations and foundations was down 3.6% in 2009 over 2008. The hardest hit areas were religion, arts/culture/humanities, education, and public-society benefit. Individual giving in particular was down .4%

But the good news is that online giving continues to climb. A study by the software firm Convio indicates that online giving was up 14% in 2009 among the charities they reviewed. In fact, 92% received more donations online in 2009 than 2008.

This comes as no surprise to us. In fact, our data through GivingFirst.org is showing more dramatic results: donations were up 30% in 2009 over the previous year. We always see a dramatic spike in donations in November and December. Last year was no exception: 58% of online gifts were given during the holiday season. This tells us, as it should you, that this is one of the best times to use limited advertising, promotional dollars and resources to get your word out.

And now on to 2010—where the really good news comes in.

Consistent with a Chronicle of Philanthropy poll that says the early months of 2010 have been stronger than last year, we second that with a resounding, “Yes!” In fact, we have seen a staggering 160% increase from January - May 2010 over the same time last year.

What do we attribute that to? We believe there are many factors…people are feeling more stable economically, online giving is a growing and easy way to give, word-of-mouth about GivingFirst is increasing…we can’t pinpoint any single reason. But we do know, from the comments we receive, that more and more nonprofits appreciate the ability to accept online donations and receive 100% of those gifts, fee-free, through GivingFirst.org.

The growth in online giving shows us that we’re moving in the right direction. You’re moving in the right direction. E-philanthropy is growing and it’s here to stay.

Angela Bevacqua is the communications specialist at Community First Foundation.

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