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Online Giving to Nonprofit Organizations Reaches a Record High in 2016

(Mar. 1, 2017) Overall giving increased 1.0 percent and online giving grew 7.9 percent in the U.S. compared to 2015, according to Blackbaud’s fifth annual Charitable Giving Report.

Released under the Blackbaud Institute for Philanthropic Impact, the report analyzes trends from more than $23 billion in fundraising revenue from 2016 and provides the latest insights from leading industry experts to help inform fundraising strategies.

The report also spotlights giving in Canada and the U.K. using the Blackbaud Giving Index, which was expanded into those two countries over the past few years. The Index tracks giving data from 494 nonprofits in Canada with over 1.2 billion in charitable giving. The results: overall charitable giving was down 1.8% among Canadian nonprofits in 2016, but online giving increased 10% compared to 2015.

In the U.K., with giving data from 342 organizations with over $675 million in charitable giving, the Report found that overall charitable giving was up 2.8% among U.K. nonprofits in 2016, while online giving increased 2.2%.

In general, online donations continue to grow significantly, but still represent a small slice of overall giving. Online donations were 7.2% of all fundraising in 2016, and nearly 17% of online donations were made on a mobile device.

Giving by Sector, Size

Overall giving to K-12 education and arts & culture sectors grew the most in 2016, and the healthcare sector experienced the largest decrease in year-over-year fundraising with a 4.5% drop.

In 2016, overall giving to large organizations grew by 1.0%, medium organizations increased 1.7% and small nonprofits experienced flat growth while online giving to large organizations grew by 6.3%, medium organizations grew 11.4% and small nonprofits grew 8.1%, on a year-over-year basis.

To commemorate the publishing of the fifth report, Blackbaud asked several nonprofit leaders, including AFP Interim President and CEO Jason Lee, to share their thoughts on how these fundraising trends have shaped the industry and where it is headed in the future.

“I’m pleased to see that giving grew in 2016 and appreciate Blackbaud’s great analysis of the year,” said Lee. “That said, over the course of the past five years, we are seeing more giving, but fewer donors. That speaks to the work that charities must do to improve their retention and cultivation of donors by creating a culture of philanthropy and telling their stories of impact and change. It also requires an understanding that the newer generations of donors view themselves as change agents who do not simply want to passively give charitable contributions; it requires building new types of relationships with donors to help them enact change in the context of charitable mission.” 

The report can be downloaded at Members can also track montly giving trends and changed by visiting the The Blackbaud Index, which is updated on the first of each month.

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