Donations More Than Doubled For #Giving Tuesday

December 4, 2013       Mark Hrywna and Patrick Sullivan      

Online donations for #GivingTuesday through four of the nonprofit sector’s larger payment processors totaled more than $27 million, according to preliminary estimates. Their totals were slightly more than $12 million last year.

Three times as many organizations participated in #GivingTuesday this year, the second annual event that aims to be a national day of giving. More than 8,300 partners were involved, and some of the charities involved last year were much more active in the 2013 edition. Of the 8,300 partners more than 7,000 were nonprofits.

Henry Timms, interim executive director of the 92nd Street Y (92Y) in New York City, said the response far exceeded his expectations. “We were just overwhelmed by the outpouring of generosity,” he said. “I think it really showcased the creativity and entrepreneurism in the nonprofit world and the generosity of the heart of this country. The combination of traditional values and new technology proved to be a really powerful one,” he said.

#GivingTuesday originated with 92Y and the United Nations Foundation last year. Timms said there was no consolidated number of donations on #GivingTuesday. He pointed out that Blackbaud captured about 10 percent of the donations, but was unwilling to extrapolate that into a total. “That’s before you get to offline gifts,” he said. “We’ve always thought about #GivingTuesday as not just a day but the opening of the season.”

Blackbaud reported $19.2 million in online donations processed from more than 3,800 customers, nearly double the $10 million in 2012. The average gift was nearly 40 percent greater, to $142.05 compared with last year’s average of $101.60. The Charleston, S.C.-based firm handles approximately $3 billion in online donation processing annually.

Network For Good (NFG) reported a 74-percent increase in funds raised and an 89-percent increase in the number of donations. This year, $1,780,709 was contributed through 13,435 donations, for an average gift of about $132.55. The total $1,021,755 that was raised last year was surpassed by 4 p.m. Eastern yesterday. The 2012 total came via 7,120 donations, for an average gift of about $143.50.

The total reported by the Washington, D.C.-based donation processor includes all sites that it hosts for charities, in addition to platforms such as CrowdRise, Causes.com and other corporate websites.

Horsham, Pa.-based DonorPerfect reported fundraising of more than $5 million for the nearly 500 organizations on its platform, compared with $1.2 million in 2012. The average gift was almost $165 for the 473 organizations, almost 9 percent more than last year’s $151 average, which was among 222 organizations.

Comparing those organizations that participated in 2012 and 2013, DonorPerfect estimated that the dollars raised increased by 162 percent, the number of gifts increased 89 percent, and the total average gift jumped 39 percent, from $125 to $173.

Razoo, the San Francisco, Calif.-based fundraising platform behind Giving Days, reported $1,141,097 raised for more than 470 organizations, according to CEO Lesley Mansford. The highest total was by Karam Foundation, which raised $59,458 from 525 unique donors to share in $103,000 in prize money from the Razoo Foundation.

The busiest time of day for Network for Good clients was mid-day, with the largest number of donations (4,188/31 percent) made between noon and 4 p.m., followed by 8 a.m. to noon (3,315/25 percent). The biggest improvement from 2012 was during the noon to 4 p.m. hours, when fundraising jumped of 131 percent, followed by 8 p.m. to midnight hours, which improved by 111 percent.

The noon to 4 p.m. hours led all parts of the day in dollars raised with $538,457, roughly 30 percent of the day’s totals. Almost a quarter of the day’s totals came in on either side of that time period — the 8 a.m. to noon and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. hours.

The highest average gift ($171) came in between midnight and 8 a.m. but that may be more a result of fewer donations – just 519, a fifth of the next busiest time of day. Throughout the other four parts of the day that NFG tracked, the average gift ranged from $127 to $131.

Nonprofits seeking to leverage #GivingTuesday’s momentum for their year-end campaigns should do two things, said Timms. Many charities received donations from first-time donors, and it’s important to make sure the relationship doesn’t begin and end with #GivingTuesday. “With new donors, this is the beginning of the relationship and not the end of a transaction,” he said. “And second, do a good job of saying thank you. People get excited about getting the gift but they’re not excited about thanking their donors.”

Some two-thirds of people who gave to DonorsChoose were first-time donors. Much like the broader nonprofit sector, the New York City-based charity was much more active this year. DonorsChoose sent an email to all its donors, which it did not last year, in addition to being among four charities that received an endorsement from Bill and Melinda Gates as an organization to support this year (the others were Heifer International, Save the Children and World Vision).

The result was $199,555 from 2,569 individuals to support classroom projects, for an average gift of almost $78. Last year, the New York City-based charity raised $69,086 from 752 donors; an average gift of almost $92. In each year, roughly two-thirds of the donors were first-timers, according to Chief Marketing Officer Katie Bisbee.

Timms said those involved with #GivingTuesday are already assessing the day and planning for next year. “The first thing we’re going to do is a lot of listening. We really want to try and understand what worked, where it worked, how it worked and what didn’t work,” he said. The 92Y and others plan to take those findings and distribute best practices as early as possible “so we have the best information early in the year,” said Timms. “#GivingTuesday has become a better project because of other ideas and I think we’ll see more and more creativity coming out of the sector. We see so much appetite for experimentation and new ideas.”