#GivingTuesday prompts spike in Canadian online donations and mobile traffic!

If you gave to a good cause or pledged to volunteer with a favourite charity this Tuesday, you weren't alone! Canadians enthusiastically embraced the inaugural #GivingTuesday event this week.

#GivingTuesday is a day of philanthropy designed to follow the shopping activities of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Originally launched in the United States in 2012, #GivingTuesday's Canadian debut was December 3rd, 2013.

Did Canadians donate online on #GivingTuesday?

As it's the first year of #GivingTuesday in Canada, we knew it was important to compare December 3rd activity vs. similar activity in 2013. Charities and non-profit organizations are already aware that their online giving numbers increase dramatically year-over-year.

At FrontStream, we saw a 150% increase in the number of donations on Dec 3, 2013 vs. Nov 27, 2012 (the first Tuesday after Black Friday) and a 171% growth in overall donation amount. However, due to the rapid rate of growth in online giving, we expect all days in 2013 to have significantly higher numbers than 2012.

To accurately gauge the impact of the first #GivingTuesday in Canada, we compared December 3, 2013 to similar days in November and December of this year.


We saw an impressive 35% increase in individual donations made on Dec 3rd! And that's not the only interesting outcome...

Mobile web is popular with Canadian donors

It's fascinating to witness the growing popularity of smartphones and tablets with Canadian donors. We discovered that over 25% of visitors to donation pages on #GivingTuesday were browsing on a mobile device!

How are mobile Canadians choosing to browse? The most popular mobile devices for Canadian donors on #GivingTuesday were: Apple iPhone, iPad, iPod, Samsung Galaxy III, Samsung Galaxy IV, BlackBerry Z10, Google Nexus 4 and BlackBerry 9900.

The average donation made through a desktop computer on #GivingTuesday was $166, while the average donation made through a mobile browser was $147. As the average gift by text-to-donate is only $10, mobile optimization of websites, blogs and transactional forms should be a major theme for charities and nonprofits in 2014. This is especially important in the run-up to the busy holiday period. For example, mobile web donations in December 2013 have increased by an amazing 137% over 2012!


#GivingTuesday was a social affair

Most charities and non-profit organizations were promoting #GivingTuesday through email and on social networking sites. Did sites like Twitter and Facebook succeed in sending donors to donation pages?

When we compared Tuesday to Monday, we saw a huge spike in Twitter traffic to donation forms. Twitter referral to charity pages increased 712% on Tuesday alone! By comparison, Facebook also saw an increase in traffic, but at a smaller rate. Facebook referral to donation pages increased 96% for the same period.

This is a reversal of typical donor patterns in social fundraising. For the majority of peer-driven fundraising campaign, Facebook is the top referring social network for donations. (Learn more about Facebook and Canadian donors in our Fundraising with Facebook research paper!)

Why was Twitter tops on #GivingTuesday? Our numbers are likely reflecting the one-day popularity of #GivingTuesday chatter on Twitter. Many charities, associations, consultants and non-profit professionals chose to use Twitter as the main channel for promoting this new initiative. Did you notice that both #GivingTuesday and #GivingTuesdayCA were top trends on December 3rd?

Insights for charitable organizations

There's no doubt that #GivingTuesday captured the attention of Canadians across the country. This mini "Day of Philanthropy" gave us lessons to apply to the upcoming period of heavy online donation volume for the holiday season. We know that most charities receive 30% of their annual online donations in December - typically in the last three days of the year! Is your organization ready?

Here's some easy tips to help you prepare:

  • Your supporters are already using smartphones and tablets to visit your site - Ensure they can complete a secure transaction on a mobile-optimized donation form.
  • Average gift amounts are higher in the holiday period - Experiment with raising the set suggested giving amounts on your donation forms.
  • Peer recommendations are influential - Encourage your supporters to share your cause on Facebook and Twitter.


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