Lists keep us organized at the store, doing our chores, getting through our work, and letting us know we have capped off one year and moved into the next one. The Chronicle of Philanthropy recently reported on the list of the Top 10 cities giving money online to charities and nonprofits in 2010.
For those who followed the list last year, the top three are no surprise as they were league champions in 2009 as well: Alexandria, Virginia – Cambridge, Massachusetts – and Arlington, Virginia. What might be surprising, though, is that online charitable giving outpaced overall giving and overall expectations about economic growth.
The report comes from Convio, a marketing and online strategy company in Austin, Texas that specializes in developing fundraising programs for charities. The report was aggregated through their software system developed to help their clients track giving trends.
The complete list is as follows: Alexandria, VA – Cambridge, MA – Arlington, VA – Seattle, WA – Washington, DC – Berkeley, CA – St. Louis, MO – San Francisco, CA – Ann Arbor, MI – Minneapolis, MN.
But what might be especially heartwarming about the report are the facts that not only was overall giving up from 2009, but that the average donation rose by a couple of dollars as well – even as much of the first half of 2010 was spent discussing the possibility of a ‘double-dip recession.’
The average gift size increased from $62 in 2009 to $65 in 2010 as more than $389 million was donated by people who reside in the 273 major cities. The donors in the most generous cities increased their total online contributions by more than 27 percent over 2009 totals.
It is fair to point out that Convio’s report confirms Convio’s business model of developing online strategies for nonprofits and charities. Nevertheless, the company’s presence in over 270 cities with populations over 100,000 makes their ‘sample group’ sufficiently large to make the data acceptable – and exciting.
While micro-donations are rising in amounts and breadth online, big-dollar donations from the nation’s wealthiest are, alas, falling. CNN reported last week on the Top 10 individual philanthropists of 2010 gave $3.3 million, the lowest amount since 2000. As a month or so ago, most of that money went to colleges and universities – institutions that might not have needed the money as badly as many grass-roots groups might have.
The overall growth of giving, and of the average donation of givers, is driven by younger people (under 45, according to Convio) turning ever more to the convenience of online giving. The numbers are especially evident as the winter holiday season approaches: “Of the estimated $53 billion that was donated to charities by US adults this past holiday season, $6 billion (or nearly 12 percent) was estimated to have been donated online.” Therefore, the need to develop a strong and unified online/social-media presence for your nonprofit is growing ever clearer.