Online Giving To Schools Jumped in 2018

Schools raised 27 percent more money online last year than they did in 2017, driven by more donors and higher giving, particularly via mobile devices, according to a new report from GiveCampus.

Among other highlights of “Online Giving To Schools in 2018” were:

  • Schools received support from 14 percent more online donors than in 2017, including 22 percent during December;
  • Fundraising in December was up 48 percent in 2018 compared to the previous year;
  • On average, online donors gave 11 percent more than they did in 2017, including 20 percent more in December;
  • Almost 30 percent of all donations tracked via GiveCampus in 2018 were online, compared with just 13 percent and 11 percent in 2017 and 2016, respectively;
  • In 2018, the size of the largest online donations in a single transaction increased by almost 17 percent compared to 2017 and almost 40 percent compared to 2016, up from $50,000 to $70,000 over the two years; and,
  • The average first-year value of a recurring gift increased by almost 35 percent year-over-year and was 2.5 times the average value of a one-time gift.

Founded in 2014, the Washington, D.C.-based digital fundraising and volunteer management platform is used by more than 600 colleges, universities and K-12 schools. The six-page report is based on data collected during the past four years. Total giving was about $450 million during those four years, with almost $100 million raised online, according to Kestrel Linder, co-founder and CEO.

The most recent Voluntary Support of Education (VSE) survey from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) estimated giving to colleges and universities at a record $43.6 billion in 2017, up more than 6 percent. The 2018 survey is expected to be released in the next several weeks.

GiveCampus tries to control for growth in the number of customers, schools of different sizes, and schools joining at different times of the year. “It’s more art than science,” Linder said. To make the data as “meaningful as possible,” the study looks at the average amount raised by a school on GiveCampus throughout the year. If the study examined the same schools and compared their fundraising in 2017 to the same cohort for 2018, that growth would actually be greater than 27 percent, Linder said, adding that if anything, the study is conservative because it looks at the average amount raised per school.

The schools are geographically diverse, from 46 states plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and some overseas. They also range in size, from small private colleges like Davidson and Colby, to larger schools such as the University of Central Florida and Rutgers University, in addition to some junior colleges and technical schools. About 42 percent of customers are K-12 and private high schools, such as Hotchkiss, Andover and Exeter. Some schools raise as little as $15,000 online while others raise millions, Linder said.

More than 50 percent of prospective donors on a giving page accessed it through a mobile device, and as many as 55 percent in the second half of 2018, according to Linder. Of that mobile traffic, more than 80 percent was from an Apple device (iPhone or Ipad). One in 10 donors used Apple Pay to donate last year, which jumped to almost 17 percent on #GivingTuesday.

Given how new Apple Pay is, Linder said it’s a strong indicator that the overall trend is that people want it to be easier to give. It’s no longer an option to not focus on ease and convenience, Linder stressed. “If someone can’t pull up a web page on their mobile device and make their gift in 30 seconds, I don’t believe most people will,” he said.

For a full copy of the report, click here.