6 Recent Trends in Online Charitable Giving

February 22, 2021

By Suman Sridhar

Bake-offs, galas, food drives, and marathons were once popular ways employees raised money for charity, but obviously, that had to change in 2020. In the midst of one of the largest worldwide crises in recent history, many felt compelled to help causes in need in any way they could. As people sheltered at home and worked remotely, it’s no surprise that they turned to digital methods for their contributions. Selecting a few buttons is much more convenient than throwing a fundraising event, especially in the COVID-19 climate.

Undoubtedly, participation in online charitable giving will only continue to climb. We wanted to share a few remarkable statistics from the Blackbaud Institute’s new 2020 Charitable Giving Report. This annual report is known as one of the most credible resources on fundraising performance, and this year’s research describes how online giving has exploded over the past year.

1.   Online giving increased by 21 percent. In the United States, online giving in 2020 increased by 21 percent from 2019. This giving method grew in size, gift amounts, and retention rates.

2.   Mobile giving is in full swing. Users expect their giving experiences to have mobile-friendly websites, email, and donation forms working together seamlessly. In 2020, 28 percent of online giving was through mobile devices—a remarkable statistic when you compare it to its 2014 rate of 9 percent.  

3.   The nonprofit subsector with the highest online giving growth rates was Human Services. Human Services boasted a growth rate of 45.8 percent year-over-year in their online giving rates. Animal Welfare ranked second with a 29 percent YoY increase, and Faith-Based giving ranked third at 26.9 percent.


4.   People gave the most in December. Since people associate December with a season of giving, it’s no surprise that this is when people felt compelled to help causes in need. Also, nearly 40 percent of online charitable giving happened in October, November, and December of 2020. 


5.   Retention is more important than ever. Retention reflects how you maintain your relationship with your donors, and it’s easier to keep in touch with them digitally. There was a 25 percent increase in the retention rate for first-year, online-only donors. For multi-year online-only donors, the retention rate increased by 66 percent.

Sustainer programs have become a major trend in online giving. These are programs where the donor commits to donating a predetermined amount at a regular frequency. Supporters can control how they engage with a cause and donate in bite-size increments if they want.


6.   Medium-sized organizations grew their online fundraising the most.  Medium-sized organizations, with total annual fundraising between $1 and $10 million, grew their efforts by nearly 25 percent. Small businesses with annual fundraising of less than $1 million ranked next at 22.3 percent. Large businesses with total annual fundraising of over $10 million grew by 15 percent. 

Technology can help you give from anywhere 

Don’t let being stuck at home make you feel like you can’t help a cause in need. Online giving enables you to help and you don’t even have to leave the room. The right app should make online charitable giving as easy as possible. As an example, check out Grateful’s virtual giving cards that match businesses and individuals to different nonprofits.

If you want to learn more about workplace giving, check out our recent blog post on: Fostering a Culture of Giving at Work in 3 Simple Steps.

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Other Posts

All Posts