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Online Charity Gifts Spiked on New Year’s Eve: Analysis

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Online donors gave 38% more to charity and made 18.2% more gifts during the last week of 2017 than in the final week of 2016, according to an analysis by The Chronicle of Philanthropy in partnership with Network for Good, an online giving platform.

Online contributions reached their 2017 peak on New Year’s Eve, with some 61,000 donations in the U.S. bringing in $14.4 million.

This fundraising bonanza came the same week President Donald Trump signed the tax overhaul, and may have had something to do with the gains, as many donors could expect to see major changes in their tax bills and the financial benefits they receive from giving, according to The Chronicle.

A report in November said that changes in Washington were prompting experienced donors to increase their charitable giving in 2017.

However, whether looming tax changes strongly influenced giving in December is hard to say, Walt Dryfoos, principal analyst for the vice president for advancement at the University of Washington, told The Chronicle. Washington raised $285 million more for a capital campaign in December than in the last month of 2016, but Dryfoos attributed this to such factors as an effective campaign and Seattle’s booming economy.

According to the analysis, December was the most popular online giving month in 2017.

Donations were also strong on this year’s Giving Tuesday (the Tuesday after Thanksgiving): 60,428 gifts totaling $8.2 million. Donors gave the least — $236,373 — on July 9.

The analysis showed that donors who gave 55 to 59 times during 2017 donated a median of $2,405, more than any other group. Seventy-seven donors fell into this group, contributing a total of some $364,000.

Ninety-five percent of donors — 1.4 million individuals — gave fewer than five times during the year, but their gifts represented 79.6% of the total $237 million donated online.

Human services nonprofits received more than 709,000 online gifts last year, totaling $86 million. Trailing far behind was education, with 292,000 contributions totaling $44 million, with 382,000 gifts amounting to $39 million. Gifts of $25 and $50 were most common.

Recent research found that donating online was the favored giving method of the 62% of Americans who had engaged in some form of charitably activity during 2017, used by three in 10 donors.

A study published by the Blackbaud Institute for Philanthropic Impact last year found that online giving in December 2016 increased for the second consecutive year, accounting for 22% of total online giving for the year. Online contributions in November accounted for nearly 10% of the 2016 total, thanks mainly to #GivingTuesday donations, which increased by 20% year over year.


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