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Nearly One in Five U.S. Internet Users Have Contributed Online

(Dec. 12, 2005) More than 26 million Americans have now made a charitable gift online, according to the most recent survey from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

The project, which asked about online donations to charities following major events, shows a significant increase in Internet giving over the past year.

Following Sept. 11, 2001, approximately 10 percent of Internet users, or about 11 million Americans, indicated they had at one time made an online donation. Following the Southeast Asia tsunami at the end of 2004, that figure increased to 13 percent, or about 17 million Americans.

After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, 18 percent of Internet users -- more than 26 million Americans -- indicated they had made a gift online, with half of them saying their donations were specifically for hurricane relief efforts. Since the beginning of 2005, the number of Americans who say they have made an online donation has increased by 53 percent.

In addition, nearly a quarter of respondents (24 percent) went online to determine where to make contributions to relief efforts, while five percent said they used the Internet to organize their own assistance efforts. About nine percent of users said they used email or the Internet to check on the safety of someone who might have been affected by the hurricanes.

About the Study

The findings were based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International between Sept. 14 and Oct. 13, 2005, among a sample of 2,251 adults. The survey has a 95 percent confidence rate, plus or minus two percentage points.

A more detailed explanation of the study is available on the Pew Internet & American Life Project website.

The Pew Internet & American Life Project produces reports that explore the impact of the Internet on families, communities, work and home, daily life, education, healthcare, and civic and political life. The project aims to be an authoritative source on the evolution of the Internet through collection of data and analysis of real-world developments as they affect the online, virtual world.

Support for the nonprofit Pew Internet & American Life Project is provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts. The project is an initiative of the Pew Research Center.

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