In 2009, Americans gave over $300 billion to charity.
The charities that received the most were: YMCA ($5.6 billion), United Way ($3.8 billion), Catholic Charities USA ($3.3 billion), Goodwill Industries ($3.2 billion) and The Salvation Army ($32. billion).
While online giving represented only about 5% of the total, it is rising rapidly — by a stunning 50% in the last two years.
The leading online beneficiaries include some organizations that are not on the list of top offline beneficiaries: American Cancer Society, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and National Multiple Sclerosis Society. This suggests that they get it, that they understand the power of the Internet, particularly social media, as a force for social good.
For example, after the January 2010 earthquakes in Haiti, the American Red Cross raised $32 million in only a few months using a text messaging campaign.
And here’s the thing that I find most interesting. 19 out of every 20 people who contributed to Haitian earthquake relief by text messaging were first time contributors.
Something very powerful going on here. The Good Guys are learning how to reach large numbers of people, quickly and virtually for free, and to turn them into contributors — often for the first time.
This information, and more, is shown well in the infographic that follows. (What’s an infographic? As the name implies, it’s a graphic representation of information. If it’s well done, it makes it easier for you to understand, find or do something.)