Online donations to educational institutions jumped 27 percent on a year-over-year basis in 2018, a report from educational fundraising platform GiveCampus finds.
Based on data from more than six hundred colleges, universities, and K-12 schools that used GiveCampus technology and services over the last four years, the report, Online Giving to Schools in 2018 (5 pages, PDF), found that the increase was driven by a 14 percent rise in the number of online donors and an 11 percent uptick in the average amount given. The share of online donations among all gifts tracked by the platform increased to 30 percent, from 13 percent in 2017 and 11 percent in 2016. And the share of people who visited the schools' online fundraising pages from their mobile devices also increased, accounting for 55 percent of all prospective donor traffic during the second half of the year.
The analysis also found that online giving is as popular with non-millennials as it is with millennials, with those who graduated before 2000 comprising half of all alumni donors to colleges and universities. Donors at increasingly higher giving levels also are open to — and in many cases, prefer — giving online. In 2018, the size of the largest online donations (as a single transaction) was up 16.7 percent from 2017 and 40 percent from 2016 levels — jumping from $50,000 to $70,000 over the two years. In addition, the average first-year value of a recurring gift established on the platform in 2018 was 2.5 times the average value of a one-time gift, while the average first-year value of a recurring gift in 2018 rose by nearly 35 percent on a year-over-year basis.
According to the report, peer-to-peer fundraising continues to be a critical component of online fundraising campaigns, with 16 percent of GiveCampus donors giving in direct response to an ask sent by a friend or peer through social media, email, or text message. The analysis also found that, in 2018, a third of prospective donors arrived at schools' fundraising pages on GiveCampus by way of social media, and that, as in each of the previous three years, Facebook accounted for more than 80 percent of that traffic.
In addition, fundraising on #GivingTuesday accounted for more than 4 percent of the total amount raised, and schools that mounted a #GivingTuesday campaign in both 2017 and again in 2018 saw a 17.3 percent increase in the number of donors and a 14.4 percent increase in dollars raised. The report also notes that a number of schools modified their strategies in 2018, reframing #GivingTuesday as only the start of the giving season and encouraging donors to give through the end of the year, while others launched smaller, more targeted campaigns and/or sent fewer solicitations over the course of the day.