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Online giving skyrockets

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As online giving has surged in recent years, donors are showing themselves to be younger and more generous than traditional givers, a new study says.

Network for Good, a processor of online charitable donations for more than 1 million nonprofits, released a report analyzing the $100 million dollars donated to 20,000 groups through its site and affiliated sites since November 2001.

Online donors tend to be young, with a median age of 38, compared to offline donors who tend to be over age of 60, the study says.

More than half those donors are female and virtually all of them have given to a charity before.

People giving online through Network for Good are more generous than traditional donors, the study says, with an average online gift of $137 in 2005, compared to $27 for the industry overall.

People in Washington, D.C., were the most generous online donors on a per-capita basis, the report says, followed by New York and Connecticut, while Mississippians gave the least online.

While half of Network for Good’s donors give to 1 percent of charities, including giants like the American Red Cross and Salvation Army, the remainder spread their gifts out among small and mid-sized nonprofits.

When removing disaster-relief groups from the mix, almost seven in 10 dollars donated benefit small and mid-sized nonprofits, the study says.

Disaster relief and international organizations were the most popular categories for giving, the study says, capturing a combined $24.5 million in donations for the East Asian tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and the earthquake in Pakistan, the study says.

Animal-related groups ranked third, followed by human-services organizations and education groups.

Online donations are heaviest in the wake of a disaster and at the end of the year, with four in 10 dollars donated through Network for Good in December and three in 10 given in response to disasters.

Most people give on weekdays during business hours, the study says.

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