The festive period is traditionally the season of goodwill, when charity is particularly front of mind. It’s the time of giving something back, of Christmas fundraising appeals and events
As a result, every year we see a peak in online giving that begins as early as October and builds to its Christmas crescendo throughout November and December. These months can see at least a double intake of new regular givers and phenomenal results in one-off donations and raffle plays.
2020 saw greater than ever online support for charities as people rallied in response to the Covid pandemic.
2021 was our second Christmas under its shadow, so how did it compare?
Here’s what we observed as the main trends throughout the peak of 2021:
#1 Online giving remained strong
In 2020, the increase in public giving to charities that began at the start of the pandemic continued throughout the year and with truly explosive results for some charities during the Christmas peak. We thought that this heightened generosity might significantly dip in 2021 as the nation suffered pandemic fatigue and a second Covid-tainted Christmas, but far from it! In fact, we saw giving continue at the same elevated level and support remained strong during Christmas peak 2021. The widespread uptake of digital channels, greatly accelerated by the pandemic, and multichannel fundraising approaches are providing great results for charities.
#2 Average one-off gift value rose
Across both November and December, we saw an increase in one-off donation amounts compared to the previous year, with average gift levels increasing by 5.3% – more than the Consumer Price Index of 4.6%*. This was encouraging news, especially for those charities who suffered losses during the first year of Covid and those that are facing increased operating costs across their operations. We will be delving into these figures more later in the year to see how online giving is trending for all our UK charities, so look out for our update.
*inflation and price indices - Office for National Statistic (ons.gov.uk)
#3 Mobile payments led the way
With mobile payments increasingly popular with the public, we continued to see a rise in mobile donations as a proportion of all donated income volume during this period. Mobile donations, through Apple Pay, Google Pay and PayPal, saw a 7.2% increase on the previous year. Facilitating mobile donations is now imperative for all charities, and with more adopting these payment mechanisms on their donation pages as a result, we expect to see this trend increase further.
#4 Campaigns with online donation mechanisms saw increased success
Charities that led with a special appeal or campaign during this period, offering a different online payment journey and dedicated webpage to their standard website donation page, saw a significant increase in both engagement and subsequent donations, more so than the usual uplift expected during the festive season.
At the same time, and partly because of the usual seasonal uplift, we tended to see more donations via standard donation pages too. But it’s worth noting that often if a charity launches a special appeal page, the main donation page will also see an increase in volumes from the spill-over effect (someone committing to a donation but not clicking a specific link).
Successes likely reflect a greater ability now to create a dedicated supporter journey via email and social channels, along with improved reporting and insights for shaping and driving such campaigns.
#5 Raffles on the rise
We saw amazing online sign-up rates for charities using our raffle donation pages – way up from peak of last year with some charities experiencing triple figure percentage increases (one charity saw +260% in their online transactions!). The focus on keeping the raffle sign-up journey fast and easy, while offering seamless charity branded pages with no visible third-party involvement, has been proven in the results. We will be drawing on our recent experiences to help more charities improve their raffle pages this year, and we’ll be chatting to those that recorded great results so we can share case studies.
In summary then, 2021 saw another great Christmas peak period for online giving, with no end in sight for its continuing growth. There are many areas that can be improved and tweaked to further encourage this growth for your charity if you have a donation, raffle or membership online ask, so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have questions or need advice. We are committed to the ongoing development and success of the online giving environment for our charities, both during the demands of peak and across the entire year.