Wise Giving Wednesday: Online Giving 7.1% of 2015 Total

By H. Art Taylor
President & CEO BBB Wise Giving Alliance
Jul 17, 2020

With all the attention given to charities’ use of technology, the internet and social media, you would think that the online environment is the dominant fundraising engine that fuels philanthropy. While the signs are pointing in that direction, online giving still has a long, long way to go. Last month, Blackbaud, a company that offers nonprofit software and services, released its Charitable Giving Report for 2015. Based on data it obtained from about 4,000 organizations, it estimates that “ about 7.1% of overall fundraising revenue, excluding grants, was raised online.” While it may be hard to believe, despite the fact there is continuing growth in online fundraising from year to year, it still is less than 10% of the charity fundraising pie.

If one compares this 7.1% online giving statistic to what is taking place in the for-profit retail word, it surprisingly tracks fairly closely. The U.S. Department of Commerce puts out quarterly retail E-commerce sales figures and the latest numbers show that during 2015 E-commerce as a percentage of total retail sales ranged from 7.0% to 7.5 percent of total retail sales.

Keep in mind that the 7.1% online giving figure reflects a total percentage. For certain types of charities, such as international and domestic relief organizations, online giving has been more successful, particularly following disasters that make the headlines. In turn, the same diversity of online experience occurs in the for-profit retail space, where certain types of sales have had a larger portion of E-commerce activity.

For now, direct mail, fundraising events and other development methods still dominate. While donors should not expect that to change overnight, the online giving train continues to pick up speed and will likely continue to grow as younger generations of givers are more likely to make their transactions online. At the same time, charities might help encourage more growth if more charity websites were optimized for mobile devices to make it easier for donors to contribute using their phones.

Of course, no matter how one chooses to contribute, we remind our readers to check out charities before a gift is made to ensure that the organization meets the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability .

On a separate note, in recognition of Women’s History Month, continuing our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video that features Jennifer Windsor, CEO of Women for Women International (a BBB Accredited Charity). This organization was founded twenty years ago to help the most marginalized of women in conflict affected countries to rebuild their lives. The heart of their program is a 12-month training program that helps provide basic skills such as economic, literacy and knowledge of health and basic rights.

We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit Give.org or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:

Finally, remember to let us know by going to https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/ if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.

H. Art Taylor, President & CEO
BBB Wise Giving Alliance

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