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December is the most popular month for online donations

Howard Lake | 17 December 2010 | News

Pie chart showing online giving by time of year
Network for Good confirms December is the key period in the US for online giving – onlinegivingstudy.org

When do charities raise the most online? December, perhaps not surprisingly, according to separate US and UK studies.

A study using seven years of data by Network for Good in the USA reports that one third of online donations are made in December. In fact, it is all down to a late spike, as income for most of December is similar to others month. But what a spike: 22% of online donations are made in the last two days of the year.

But there’s a spike to this spike! The optimum time for online donations is the period from 10.00 to 18.00 on 31 December in the donor’s time zone.


Why your supporters are wealthier than you think... Course by Catherine Miles. Background photo of two sides of a terraced street of houses.

In “The Online Giving Study: A Call to Reinvent Donor Relationships, Network for Good looked at the behaviour of 1.9 million donors who had given a total of $381 million over the past seven years to about 70,000 nonprofit organisations in the USA.

Online giving by day throughout December

In the UK, JustGiving also reports a similar if not quite as pronounced December surge.

Homelessness charities using JustGiving received 23% of their annual income from the site during December 2007, although that dropped to 18% in 2008 and 19% in 2009. Disability charities received 16% of total income during December 2009 and animal charities 15%. Indeed, “all charity categories receive a higher proportion of direct donations in the run-up to Christmas. On average, in December they receive 60% more than they do in any other month”.

Christmas Day rather than 31st December is the most popular day for giving. “The average direct donation made on 25th December 2009 was a whopping £119 compared to the December average of £74!” they say.

Needless to say, these figures come from two major providers, so one can’t assume that this applies to all online giving.