Online Giving Trends

Sneak Peek

21%​

Online Giving Growth YOY

32%

Three-Year Increase in Online Giving

13%

Percent of Total Fundraising from Online Sources

28%

Percentage of Online Contributions from a Mobile Device

In this section, you'll find

Online engagement is a critical component of a nonprofit organization’s communication, fundraising, advocacy, and stewardship strategy. 2020 showed the vital role that online engagement and giving play in donors’ lives and nonprofits’ goals. We continue to see that the digital landscape is transforming the social good sector. In this section, we’re providing a specific look at online engagement trends to help you understand how to keep pace with this transformation.

Online Giving Trends by Size

Online giving in 2020 grew 20.7% year over year for the 4,964 nonprofit organizations in the analysis. These growth rates harken back to the early days of online giving, but they are much more significant now that the medium has matured. Online giving grew in size, gift amounts, retention rates, and the overall percentage of giving in 2020.

Nonprofit organizations of all sizes had positive online giving growth in 2020 compared to 2019. Large organizations, with total annual fundraising of more than $10 million, had an increase of 15.0% in their online fundraising in 2019. Medium-sized nonprofits, with total annual fundraising between $1 million and $10 million, had an increase of 24.9% in their online fundraising. Small nonprofits, with total annual fundraising less than $1 million, grew their online fundraising 22.3% compared to 2019.

Taking a more longitudinal three-year view of fundraising from the same organizations revealed a 32.4% increase in online giving.

2020 Online Giving Trends by Organization Size

Percentage of Total Fundraising from Online Giving

We have measured the growth of online giving for over 20 years. A key metric is the percentage of total fundraising that comes from online giving. Nonprofit organizations can use this metric to benchmark their online giving performance against peer organizations within each subsector or of a similar size.

13%
2020 Percentage of Total Fundraising from Online Giving

2020 signified a tremendous amount of growth and maturity in online giving. In 2020, 12.9% of total fundraising came from online giving. This is the highest percentage ever for online giving and marks an important milestone. We have patiently predicted that online would grow beyond 10% of total giving, and 2020 was the year it finally happened.

“The events of 2020 paved the way for substantial disruption to the status quo. That has never been more apparent than in online giving, where it represented more than 1/8 of all giving in 2020–an impressive four-point increase year over year. Organizations would be keen to build on the momentum by ensuring a continued focus on digital progress.”

Ashley Thompson, Managing Director, Blackbaud Institute

As a point of comparison, the U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that e-commerce sales in the third quarter of 2020 accounted for 14.3% of total sales. The data reveals once again that consumer behavior is also donor behavior.

Percentage of Total Fundraising from Online Giving by Size

Small nonprofits continue to grow their digital fundraising programs, with 18.9% of their total fundraising coming from online giving. Medium-sized organizations saw 10.1%, and larger nonprofits increased to 9.4% in 2020.

Percentage of Total Fundraising from Online Giving by Subsector

In terms of the percentage of total fundraising from online giving, Animal Welfare, Faith-Based, Human Services, and K–12 Education organizations have all now crossed over the 10% threshold in their online giving programs. We should expect to see this trend increase across a broader set of subsectors.

Mobile Giving

The Blackbaud Institute has measured the growth in online donations made on mobile devices for many years now. In 2020, an estimated 28% of online donations were made using mobile devices. This has grown steadily since 2014, when it was just 9% of online donations.

With the age of mobile giving in full swing, organizations must be equipped to process mobile transactions and readily optimize and test their platforms. Mobile-friendly websites, email, and donation forms should work together seamlessly to maximize the supporter’s giving experience.

Percentage of Online Transactions Made Using a Mobile Device

Online Retention

Donor retention reflects how you keep in contact with your donors and build a pathway for continued support. It is a direct, quantifiable reflection of how you are engaging your donors and communicating your mission, and your online presence can amplify these aims. As online giving continues to grow each year, calculate these figures at your organization so you can benchmark the growth of giving channels from year to year.

25%

First-Year, Online-Only Donor Retention Rate

66%

Multi-Year, Online-Only Donor Retention Rate

Like the rise of today’s subscription economy, sustainer programs reflect many of the trends seen in online giving. Providing supporters with even more control over how they engage with a cause and giving them the flexibility to donate in bite-sized increments, sustainer programs offer countless benefits to supporters and organizations. Ensure that your organization has the necessary backend supports and practices to implement a multi-channel, sustained giving option throughout your next campaign.

Online Giving Trends by Subsector

When examining online giving trends by nonprofit subsector, we see that Human Services, Faith-Based, and Animal Welfare organizations had online giving growth above 20% in 2020. There were double-digit gains for a wide range of other subsectors in 2020.

2020 Online Giving Trends by Subsector

The three-year analysis of online giving found that nine of the 11 subsectors experienced double-digit growth in their digital fundraising programs.

Three-Year Rolling Trend

2020 Average Online Donation Amount by Subsector

The Charitable Giving Report continues to measure average online donation size by subsector. Across all subsectors, the average online donation is $177. Just like with overall giving, we see a wide variance in average online donation amount among subsectors. This analysis includes all donations, including large major donations, which could also account for the higher numbers in some subsectors.

2020 Average Online Donation Amounts by Subsector

Online Giving Trends by Month

In 2020, there was a spike in online giving during December. Organizations in the analysis still drive a significant amount of online giving in the final month of the year. Additionally, nearly 40% of all online giving happened in the last three months of 2020.

2020 Online Giving Distribution by Month by Subsector

With end-of-year spikes in giving, be sure that your campaigns translate well online and offline. Your campaign must convey a core message that resonates with supporters. Think about what you want to say and how you’ll need to tweak it for every platform. Consider this an opportunity to try out new strategies, like a planned email series stretching throughout several weeks or months. Tap into practices like automation and segmentation to support your team’s stamina.

Download the Charitable Giving Report

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Where to next?

See the highlights of this year’s report and how you can make the most of the information to enhance your strategies.

In this section, you'll find:

  • Executive Summary of Findings
  • How to Use a Benchmark
  • About the Report and Blackbaud Institute Index
Read More

For the ninth consecutive year, the Charitable Giving Report has found an increase in giving.

In this section, you'll find:

  • Overall Giving Trends by Size
  • Profiles of the Average U.S. Donor
  • Overall Giving Trends by Month
  • Overall Giving Trends by Subsector
Read More

Get a glimpse into how international giving trended in 2020.

In this section, you'll find:

  • Canada Giving
  • United Kingdom Giving
  • Australia/New Zealand Giving
Read More