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On-line Holiday Giving May Exceed $3 Billion

Survey results commissioned by Convio, the constituent relationship management software and services provider, indicate that on-line donors plan to be generous during the 2008 holiday season.

Convio contracted with JupiterResearch, a Forrester Research company, to add questions about on-line support for nonprofit organizations to the researcher's annual U.S. On-line Retail Consumer Survey. The study was conducted September 17-24, 2008, and thus reflects some of the economic challenges that donors and nonprofits are currently facing.

The survey found that:

  • More than 50 percent of on-line consumers—more than 89 million people—will give in November and December 2008.
  • Nearly 70 percent of these donors plan to give the same amount as, or more than, they have in the past. Another 33 percent expect to give less because of the economy.
Based on these responses and the Chronicle of Philanthropy's annual studies of on-line giving, Convio's analysts estimate that on-line donations during the last two months of 2008 will total more than $3 billion.

The survey also identified the types of organizations on-line donors intend to support and which consumers are most likely to give during the holidays:

  • The greatest proportion of donors (41 percent) plans to support human and social services organizations, such as food banks and homeless shelters. Next come faith-based organizations (34 percent); disease and health service organizations (33 percent); animal welfare organizations (24 percent); and disaster and international relief organizations (22 percent).
  • More women (54 percent) than men (48 percent) expect to give; 45 percent of women plan to give to a human or social service organization, compared to 35 percent of men.
  • Some 55 percent of donors aged 45 to 54 plans to give.
  • A majority (64 percent) of individuals with incomes of $100,000 or greater intends to donate.
  • Some 15 percent of African-Americans and Asians, the highest proportion of all ethnic groups, plan to give more this year than in the past.
Finally, the survey revealed which on-line tools donors expect to use most when making their giving decisions:
  • Charity Web sites (27 percent)
  • E-mails from family and friends (15 percent)
  • Charity information and evaluation sites (10 percent)
Additionally, some participants cited the relationships they already have with a nonprofit as a factor in their decision to support it.

See more information

Suzanne E. Coffman, November 2008
© 2008, GuideStar USA, Inc.

Suzanne Coffman is GuideStar's director of communications and editor of the Newsletter.
Topics: Fundraising