Join The NonProfit Times: or Become a member

Subscribe: Print Publication or Newsletter

Stay connected.
Stay informed.

Giving Up 1.6%, Online Gifts Still In Single Digits

By Andy Segedin - February 2, 2016

The online portion of charitable giving continued on its dial-up-speed ascension in 2015, representing just 7.1 percent of charitable giving, up from 6.7 percent in 2014. The small share restrained online giving’s overall 9.2 percent increase from making a bigger dent in overall giving, which climbed by 1.6 percent in 2015.

The data is from Blackbaud’s 2015 Charitable Giving Report, which tracked overall giving data for 5,379 nonprofits throughout the 2014 and 2015 calendar years. “It’s probably the thing that surprises people the most, that online is still less than 10 percent,” said Steve MacLaughlin, director of analytics for the Charleston, S.C.-based software company. “I usually point to commerce. Amazon is huge, but retail is still less than 10 percent online. We’re in a similar place with digital.”

E-commerce accounted for 7.4 percent of all U.S. retail during the third quarter of 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Apple products, iPhones and iPads, represented 85 percent of the devices used in mobile giving in 2015. iPads were the most common mobile giving device during four months, including January and December, while iPhones were the giving device of choice during the other eight months of the year.

People tend to browse and shop on tablets as opposed to phones while away from work during the holidays, MacLaughlin explained. He declined to speculate too much into a reason for Apple’s stranglehold on mobile giving devices other than noting that the demographic of Apple customers might mirror that of typical donors.

MacLaughlin sees giving on mobile devices as a potential driver of online giving, as its trajectory is moving more rapidly than online overall. Giving on mobile devices accounted for 14 percent of online giving in 2015, up from less than 10 percent in 2014. There might also be a natural transition of donor behavior brought on by Baby Boomers becoming more active.

“They are digital immigrants. They are not natives,” MacLaughlin said, differentiating Baby Boomers from more tech-savvy Millennials and members of Generation X. “But we know that they use [digital] and in increasing numbers they choose to make the gift. And when that happens, it will snowball.”

Other key findings from the report include:

* June continues to be the second biggest month for overall giving, trailing December 17.4 percent to 10.2 percent. April was 2015’s second largest month for online giving with an 11-percent share. June typically ranks second in both categories, MacLaughlin said, but April’s numbers were skewed in 2015 due to donor response to the earthquake in Nepal.

June is usually a big giving month because it marks the end of many fiscal calendars and organizations push to meet goals. “This proves that December doesn’t have a magical [power],” MacLaughlin said. “They do more fundraising and drive more activity.”

* December, while leading the way in many donation categories, had the fourth lowest share of mobile giving with 13.7 percent. May led the way with 17.1 percent of online gifts made with mobile devices. MacLaughlin attributed the difference to the fact that high December overall donation volumes dilute the portion of mobile giving.

* Medical research organizations proved to be an outlier in many categories, leading all subsectors in online-gift dependence with 17 percent of fundraising coming online. It was also the only subsector to see a decrease in online giving in 2015, by 0.7 percent, and not have December as its biggest online giving month. Medical research organizations jumped aboard digital fundraising earlier than most, MacLaughlin said, transitioning fundraising for popular run, walk and ride events to online a decade ago. Such events tend to occur earlier in the calendar year, likely leaving medical research organizations to focus on mid-level and major-gift donors in December.

* Higher education and K-12 education led all subsectors in online giving increases in 2015 with 15.2 and 12.3 percent, respectively. MacLaughlin said that he sees plenty of room for online fundraising for education and healthcare, which saw a 9.3 percent increase in 2015, to grow. Online giving accounted for about four percent of the subsectors’ charitable giving in 2015.

For a full copy of the report, visit


Sponsored Podcasts

Welcome to the Raise & Engage podcast, a filters-off series for nonprofit professionals hosted by Blackbaud's straight-shooting expert Danielle Johnson Vermenton. During this open-mic session, you’ll hear honest advice to help YOU do more for your cause.

Episode 6: The Power of ‘No’ at Work|| daniellejohnson-76

You have a job description, but on any given day, you're probably doing dozens of things outside the scope of that description. Combine that with the challenge of a fast-paced environment and the shifting priorities of funders, colleagues, and board members and it’s easy to fall short of doing your best. By being mindful of your limitations and capacity—and saying “no” when your plate is full—you can actually do more for your cause. In the sixth installment of the Raise and Engage podcast Danielle Johnson and Robin Anderson discuss the power of saying “no” at work.

Episode 5: Professional Development: Getting Un-Stuck|| daniellejohnson-76

In the most recent episode of Raise + Engage, Danielle is back with Brian Reich from little m media to discuss how nonprofit professionals can stay motivated and energized in their day-to-day roles. Brian shares his experience working with nonprofits and the lessons and tips he's learn from and shared with them over the years, including tips for avoiding a professional rut, creating forward momentum in your career and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. If you're considering making a career move or want to ensure you're on the right path, you won't want to miss this inspo-packed episode!

Episode 4: Apps and Hacks to Stay (Mostly) Sane || daniellejohnson-76

Episode 4: Apps and Hacks to Stay (Mostly) Sane, is all about tips, tricks and tools for sanity. Blackbaud’s own interactive product marketer, Julia Lenz, joins host Danielle Johnson to share some high tech. (and no tech.) productivity tips to help nonprofit professionals stay sane in the crazy world of philanthropy.

Tune in to hear:

  • Tips for how to spend the first 30 minutes of your day
  • The benefits of 15 minute meetings
  • Why notebooks are still relevant to a successful organization
  • Ideas for better managing your inbox
  • Why you should take lunch outside the box
  • ...and much more!
Don’t forget to visit the #NoFilterNonprofit Hub afterwards to download our newest tip sheet10 Productivity Hacks for Nonprofits.

Episode 3: Tech. Connection: Solutions, Strategy, and Staff || daniellejohnson-76

Episode 3: Tech. Connection: Solutions, Strategy, and Staff In episode 3 of the Raise + Engage podcast, Danielle Johnson is joined by Chris Geady and William DaSilva, two IT experts in the nonprofit space, to talk technology integration for NPOs: when you need it, when you don’t, and how to do it successfully.

Tune in to hear:

  • When to say NO to integration
  • How to set your strategic plan before even looking at technologies
  • Ways to get your entire team on board
  • The importance of identifying a project lead
  • The RFP process - how it should and should not go
And William shares a story about a nonprofit that may or may not have still been using a typewriter. You don't want to miss this one!

Episode 2: From Socially Awkward to Socially Awesome! || daniellejohnson-76

According to Danielle Johnson, straight-shooting host of the Raise + Engage podcast series, if your staff members aren’t the number one advocates for your cause on social media, you’re failing. In the most recent episode, Danielle is joined by Blackbaud’s own social media guru Madeline Turner to discuss overcoming social struggles and creating a social ambassador program at your organization. This entertaining and insightful duo dishes on the importance of making your social media presence human, making the case for a formal social program to leadership, how University of Michigan turned a one time social media campaign into a long term social program, and how Madeline's mom unknowingly became a social ambassador on #GivingTuesday.

Episode 1: Corporate Culture & Development: Shake It Up! || daniellejohnson-76

In the premiere episode of Raise & Engage, Danielle is joined by three straight-shooting nonprofit rock-stars: Jodi Smith of Sanford Health Systems, Veronica Brown of Chicago Public Library Foundation and Ali Burke of Southlake Regional Health Centre Foundation. The group talks organizational culture, problem employees, why its important to celebrate and how to shake things up this year and build a better more authentic team that gets stuff done!


Stay informed, catch latest trends in the nonprofit space.

Subscribe to Our Free Newsletter

No obligation, unsubscribe at anytime.

Success! Check your email inbox.

Follow Us On Twitter

NPT 2016 Buyers' Guide

Newsletter Sign-up

click here to return to the previous page