PMA Consulting, LLC

Holiday Giving Expected to Surpass $48-Billion

Based on the views of 1,148 people who plan to give during the holidays as well as a sampling of all American adults, holiday giving this year will surpass $48-billion from more than 170 million American donors.

Online contributions alone are growing by 30 percent to more than $6-billion. Seventy-four percent of American adults will make a year-end gift, many of them in response to at least two solicitation approaches, such as online appeals and supermarket checkout donations in 2010. The survey was released by the fundraising software company, Convio.

So what approaches appeal to donors?

  • Direct mail (43 percent)
  • Supermarket checkouts and other such appeals at a store’s cash register (41 percent)
  • Buying something from a charity gift shop or catalog (25 percent)
  • Galas and other special fund-raising events (24 percent)
  • Online appeals (21 percent)
  • Making a purchase from a company that gives a portion of the proceeds to charity (14 percent).

Social Media

Nine percent of the people polled said they expect to receive an online holiday appeal on Facebook, Twitter, or another social network this year. Only 4 percent said they will make a year-end gift using those sites.

Size of Average Gift

  • The average donation will be $281. 
  • However, people who give online said they would contribute an average of $378.

Who’s Donating?

  • Donors in their 40s or younger intend to be more generous with their year-end gifts than older donors.
  • Four in five of donors in that age group, said they would donate to charity over the holidays. 
  • 71 percent of people in their 50s through their mid-60s.
  • 66 percent of people older than that.

How Much? 

  • Donors in their mid-30s or 40s – ($348)
  • Donors 33 or younger – ($241)
  • People in their 50s to mid 60s – ($251)
  • Donors older than that – ($268)

Other Key Information

  • Seventy-four percent of people polled said they respond to emotional solicitations that provide information on people, animals, or places in need of their assistance—far more that those who respond to messages that stress an organization’s track record (53 percent), its strategies for the coming year (51 percent), or tax deductions for giving (28 percent).
  • Findings suggest that the holidays may be an opportune time to appeal to younger donors who have been difficult for many charities to recruit.

The study was conducted for Convio by Edge Research, a company in Arlington, Va.