By Todd Cohen
Online giving for relief exceeded $350 million in the first two weeks after the tsunamis struck South Asia, compared to $215 million raised online after 9/11, according to media and industry estimates.
In the first month alone, the American Red Cross raised $228 million, roughly half of it online, including $83.9 million through redcross.org and another $22.9 million through Seattle-based Amazon and Yahoo! in Sunnyvale, Calif., says Leigh-Anne Dennison, a Red Cross spokesperson in Washington, D.C.
Amazon, in just under four weeks after posting an online-giving button on its main page on December 28, handled 165,000 donations totaling $15.5 million, says Craig Berman, director of platform and technology communications.
Boston-based Oxfam America, like Save the Children a client of GetActive, raised $19.5 million, including $13 million online, while Atlanta-based CARE USA, another client, collected $16 million, including $6.1 million online, with first-time donors accounting for 85 percent of tsunami donors to the charity.
And clients of using software from Austin-based Convio raised more than $15 million online, including New York City-based Action Against Hunger, which raised over $850,000.
In the first two weeks after the tsunamis, Network for Good in Washington, D.C., processed more than $10 million from nearly 80,000 individual donors for relief efforts by several dozen charities.
“People have become more comfortable with using their credit cards online, they’ve established relationships with charities and with intermediaries that help them give to charity,” says Ken Weber, president.
Compared to December 2003, nonprofits using Charleston, S.C.-based Blackbaud’s NetSolutions software saw the number of online donations double in December 2004, while the size of the average online gift grew 15 percent to 20 percent, says Charlie Cumbaa, vice president of products and services.
One nonprofit client, Life for Relief & Development in Southfield, Mich., generated 90 percent of its relief fund through online donations in three weeks after the tsunamis, with existing donors accounting for 80 percent of those online gifts, he says.
The surge, he says, “clearly points to the fact that the internet is a vital channel of their ability to communicate with donors and constituents more broadly to build relationships.”
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