The average online charitable donation made in the run-up to Christmas has increased by 15 per cent over the past four years, according to figures from the fundraising software firm Blackbaud.
The company found that the average online gift made through its 104 charity customers’ fundraising pages in November and December 2014 was £64.76, up from £56.27 in 2010.
But the figures show that the average amount donated was up by only 1 per cent over the past year.
The data showed that the proportion of 2014 charitable donations made in November and December was 33 per cent, down from 44 per cent in the previous year. The company noted that 32 per cent of online donations in 2010 were made in November and December.
Blackbaud said the reason might be the effect of the ice bucket challenge fundraising craze, which took hold over the summer.
The challenge, which involved participants having a bucket of icy water thrown over them, then challenging two or three friends to follow suit or make donations to charity, raised £3m for Macmillan Cancer Support by the end of August; the Motor Neurone Disease Association went on to raise another £7m. The ALS Association in the US received more than £73m from the craze.
If donations related to the ice bucket challenge, the Disasters Emergency Committee’s Gaza appeal and the Yes Scotland vote were excluded, November and December donations represented 43 per cent of last year’s donations.
Blackbaud said the figures showed the importance of charities making sure their cause areas were front of mind all year round.
"High-profile fundraising driven by social media, such as the ice bucket challenge, can take away from causes that people might ordinarily donate to," said Elliot Gowans, Blackbaud Europe’s general manager of core markets. "Such campaigns will undoubtedly happen again in 2015, so charities should be prepared to react when they do, ensuring they are not overly reliant on festive season generosity. This involves building deeper and more engaging relationships with supporters all year round, ensuring that their cause is front of mind."
Gowans pointed out that some donors might only make one or two online donations per year.