Giving during the holiday season is crucial for many nonprofits, with estimates that one-third of all charitable giving happens in the last three months of the year. This year is no different as nonprofits look to overcome a sluggish economy and other challenges.
kicked off the heart of the holiday giving season this week with Blackbaud reporting a 53 percent increase in online donations totaling more than $10 million on November 27 compared to the Tuesday after Thanksgiving last year.
Giving trends this holiday season
In a recent survey of more than 1,000 US-based VolunteerSpot members conducted by Blackbaud and VolunteerSpot, 96 percent of the survey respondents said they plan to donate to charity this holiday season. However, that number is tempered with 46 percent of the respondents that plan to donate to charity this holiday saying they will either give to fewer charities or give less to the same number of charities as last year. Thirty-nine percent plan to give the same amount as last year, while 13 percent plan to give more.
“It’s encouraging to see that such a large percentage of donors are planning to give to charity this year,” said Steve MacLaughlin, director of Blackbaud’s Idea Lab. “With the nonprofit sector representing more than 5 percent of gross domestic product and employing about 10 percent of the American workforce, the year-end giving season is critical to the success of the many organizations that have a significant impact on our culture and communities.”
Survey highlights show that:
About the survey
- Effect of presidential election and Superstorm Sandy: The US election appears to have little bearing on giving during the holiday season, with 89 percent of respondents saying the it didn’t change their plans to give. Superstorm Sandy will likely have a greater impact on giving this holiday season, with 28 percent of respondents saying Sandy influenced which organizations will receive their donations, while 22 percent of respondents claim they will donate more this year due to Sandy.
- Donors are giving: 82 percent of those that plan to give say they will donate between $1 and $500 dollars this holiday season, with a fairly even breakdown between: $1 - $50 (21 percent), $51 - $100 (20 percent), $101 - $200 (21 percent), $201 - $500 (20 percent). 3 percent plan to give more than $3,000.
- More than one charity benefits: 37 percent of survey respondents indicated they plan to give to two charities this holiday season. 25 percent said they plan to give to three charities. Only 16 percent of survey respondents plan to give to one charity.
- Most popular charity sectors: Human and social service organizations look to be the largest beneficiaries of donations during the holiday season, with 56 percent of respondents planning to give to those organizations. Faith-based organizations are a close second with 48 percent of the respondents’ support. Education (29 percent) and disaster relief (28 percent) follow farther behind. Membership organizations (3 percent) and public affairs organizations (3 percent) will likely receive the least amount of donations.
- Giving is overwhelmingly multichannel: Most donors will give to charity through a variety of methods and channels. The most popular will be to donate goods and services (74 percent), followed by mailing in a check (54 percent), adding a donation at checkout from a retail store (37 percent), online donation (28 percent) and making a product purchase where a portion of proceeds help an organization (27 percent).
- Appeals that work: The most effective appeals that work are those that either explain the a charity’s need for the funds right now (72 percent) or appeals that focus on people, animals or places in need of help (70 percent).
Blackbaud and VolunteerSpot joined forces to conduct an online survey of more than 1,000 VolunteerSpot members from November 9 to November 12, 2012. The survey focused on 14 questions about giving to charities this holiday season.
Serving the nonprofit and education sectors for 30 years, Blackbaud (NASDAQ: BLKB) combines technology and expertise to help organizations achieve their missions. Blackbaud works with more than 27,000 customers in over 60 countries that support higher education, healthcare, human services, arts and culture, faith, the environment, independent K-12 education, animal welfare and other charitable causes. The company offers a full spectrum of cloud-based and on-premise software solutions and related services for organizations of all sizes including: fundraising, eMarketing, social media, advocacy, constituent relationship management (CRM), analytics, financial management and vertical-specific solutions. Using Blackbaud technology, these organizations raise more than $100 billion each year. Recognized as a top company by Forbes, InformationWeek, and Software Magazine and honored by Best Places to Work, Blackbaud is headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina and has operations in the United States, Australia, Canada, Mexico, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit
With more than 2 million volunteers in service, VolunteerSpot makes it easy for people everywhere to join together and make a difference. Founded by ‘mompreneur’ and PTO leader, Karen Bantuveris, VolunteerSpot's free online coordination tool saves time, streamlines communication and makes it simple for more people to get involved at their local schools, teams, faith groups and nonprofits. VolunteerSpot was recognized by Inc. Magazine as the number one Top Time-Saving App for Moms in 2012 and as a Cool Mom Picks - Coolest Websites for 2011. Launched in 2009 and funded by ffvc and angel investors, VolunteerSpot is headquartered in Austin, Texas. For more information, visit
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