When comparing the data for a sample set of organisations* over a five year period (January 2010 to December 2014), the average online donation in the UK has risen by 20%. The average online donation in 2014 was £63.69, up from £52.87 in 2010.
For the first time in five years the average online gift showed a year-on-year decrease, with the gift amount decreasing in 2014 by 8.6% (£6.01) compared with the 2013 average of £69.70. The impact of high-profile viral campaign the Ice Bucket Challenge is one of the main explanations for this change. If we look at how the average online gift changes once we remove MNDA from the figures, there is now a 13% increase year-on-year with the new 2014 figure standing at £78.59, which is a 49% increase from 2010.
“The Ice Bucket Challenge was a one-off phenomenon and its viral nature meant that the vast majority of income came from a very large number of £5 text donations, but we also saw a huge rise in online donations. Compared to 161,000 total donations in the previous year, the Ice Bucket Challenge resulted in 927,000 donations in three weeks! Obviously we were very keen to say thank you and engage with these new donors, but getting so much additional data onto the system using our existing processes became our biggest bottleneck in developing a communication programme. So our advice to other charities would be to look at your systems to see if you have the infrastructure and processes in place to handle sudden very large volumes of incoming donations and queries. Obviously it is a difficult decision on whether to spend money upgrading to cope with a social media campaign that may never happen, but you can understand what you would do to cope with such a nice problem.” - Douglas Graham, Director of Fundraising at MND Association.
After analysing our customers’ December online fundraising pages between 2010 and 2014, it was revealed that the average online gift in December 2014 was £64.76, up 15% from £56.27 in December 2010 – the fifth consecutive year of increase.
In 2014, November and December accounted on average for 33% of a not-for-profit’s total annual donations, which is a significant fall from 2013. If donations related to the Gaza Appeal, Ice Bucket Challenge and the Yes Scotland vote are excluded, November and December donations accounted for 43% of 2014 donations. This indicates that while Christmas is still a very important time of year for not-for-profits, one-off high profile campaigns can produce major results at any time of the year which then can impact Christmas giving figures.
*This data was collated and analysed across a sample of UK based not-for-profit organisations which includes charities, arts & culture and educational organisations, of varying sizes. The sample set of organisations fundraise through their own proprietary websites. Reported information may vary subject to new organisations that join or drop out of the control sample.