Posted , by Victoria Dietz, Campaign Manager. Topic: Philanthropy Research & Events.

On April 11, Blackbaud, a leading nonprofit technology firm, released their fifth annual ranking of the Most Generous Online U.S. Cities. The study includes 265 cities with at least 100,000 residents based on per capita online giving. In the cities studied, donations topped $509 million online in 2012. And, while it may not be surprising that online giving rose 15% from 2011 to 2012, we found it impressive that eight Virginia cities made the list.

Seattle, WA, again claimed the number one spot, with Alexandria, VA; Washington, D.C.; and Arlington, VA, rounding out the first four. The greater D.C. area continues to be at the forefront of web-based giving, remaining in top positions from last year’s study. Only one other state, California, had two cities ranked in the top 10. Regionally, the South ranks as the most generous with nine cities listed in the top 25.

Other Virginia cities that made the list include Richmond (25th), Virginia Beach (97th), Chesapeake (154th), Norfolk (163rd), Newport News (178th) and Hampton (192nd). Blackbaud reports that online donations in Alexandria, Arlington and Richmond reached 142,350 unique gifts with over 11.8 million raised. Of the five Hampton Roads cities that made the list, 76,382 online donors gave in excess of $4.7 million.

Top Ten Most Generous Online U.S. Cities
1. Seattle, WA
2. Alexandria, VA
3. Washington, D.C.
4. Arlington, VA
5. Ann Arbor, MI
6. Cambridge, MA
7. Berkeley, CA
8. San Francisco, CA
9. St. Louis, MO
10. Minneapolis, MN

“Online giving continues to be an important part of a nonprofit’s overall fundraising strategy,” said Steve MacLaughlin, director of Blackbaud’s Idea Lab. “While overall giving remains relatively flat, we continue to see double-digit growth in online giving and expect the trend to continue throughout the year.”

Though online giving still represents only a fraction of charitable donations in the U.S., it is a strategic way to engage donors. Basic methods to attract online gifts can be as simple as including a link to a donation page in your electronic newsletter, or a “Donate Now” button on your website, to more complex strategies involving QR codes and smart phone apps. However, one thing is certain; with national movements such as #GivingTuesday and an increasing number of web-based platforms dedicated solely to online giving, this trend will continue to gain momentum.

To view more on the study, including the complete list of rankings, visit the Blackbaud study’s website.

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