Online donations increased in 2013

Charitable donations grew nearly 5 percent in 2013, according to a recent report released by nonprofit software provider Blackbaud. The revenue increase is the largest spike in growth since the 2008 recession, Forbes said. 

In an equally impressive feat, online donations increased 13.5 percent - the second consecutive year that the category had double-digit gains. All three categories of nonprofits - small, medium and large - showed substantial improvements in accepting online donations as well. Small charities had the largest increase at 18.4 percent year-over-year, the report said. 

Other findings from the report include:

  • The sector that saw the largest gains in online donations was faith-based charities, which grew 18 percent.
  • Healthcare and education rounded out the top three at 14.5 and 14.4 percent, respectively.
  • Medical research had the most modest spike in gifts at just 4.9 percent. Public/society benefit and arts and culture followed at 7.2 percent and 8.5 percent, respectively.

Online donations accounted for 6.4 percent of all charitable giving in 2013, which was down from 7 percent the previous year. As the report explains, that number usually fluctuates due to random or unfortunate occurrences during the year. 2012 saw a large spike in overall online giving because of Hurricane Sandy

"This metric has moved up and down since 2010," the report read. "We expect these types of fluctuations to continue in the future. Because online giving is the first response channel of choice for donors during episodic giving, there will be times when online giving spikes."

Importance of online donations 
There's no arguing that large sponsors significantly help in charitable organizations' efforts to fulfill their cause. For the small and medium-sized outfits, corporate cash isn't always an amenity that can be relied on. In diversifying its donation portfolio, a charity can increase its fundraising efforts significantly. For example, having a strong online presence is a good way to interact with donors where they already are.

According to recent data compiled by the Pew Research Center, 85 percent of U.S. adults 18 and over use the Internet on a daily basis. Seventy-three percent of those adults are on some type of social media. The Internet is a vast, seemingly untapped market of potential contributors, all waiting to be escorted to your online donation form

It's important to note that recent developments in donor management software have streamlined the giving process, making it quicker and easier for benefactors online. Once they set up an account with your website, you have access to personal information and email addresses so you can market your events year-round.

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