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. #GivingTuesday 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 seasonIn 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:
- 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).
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