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Online donations on Giving Tuesday jump by over $10 million

Online donations on Giving Tuesday reached nearly $40 million this year, upping last year's day of generosity by over $10 million.

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    Salvation Army food line volunteers bow their heads for prayer at the beginning of their Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015, in Odessa, Texas. Online donations on Giving Tuesday reached nearly $40 million this year, upping last year's day of generosity by over $10 million.
    Jacob Ford/Odessa American/AP/File
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A technology company that processes online giving says donations on Giving Tuesday exceeded last year's day of generosity by more than $10 million.

Blackbaud, Inc. recorded $39.6 million in online donations Tuesday and gave only a bit of the credit to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's big philanthropic announcement on Tuesday that he and his wife would be donating 99 percent of their Facebook shares to charity.

Steve MacLaughlin, director of analytics for the Charleston, South Carolina, company that makes software for nonprofit companies, said the online donations Blackbaud noted Tuesday continues a trend of increased online giving that they have seen throughout 2015.

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"There was a tremendous amount of increased awareness about the nonprofit sector on Tuesday," MacLaughlin said, giving Zuckerberg some of the credit for that increased awareness.

The tech CEO and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan have made splashy donation announcements in the past and apparently made a decision to post a letter on Facebook to coincide with Giving Tuesday.

"It's great that it happened on Giving Tuesday," MacLaughlin said, noting that Zuckerberg's donation valued at $45 billion was not counted in the Giving Tuesday totals.

Blackbaud processes more than 10 percent of all online giving in the United States, the company estimates, but handles more than 80 percent of the donations on Giving Tuesday, a promotional effort started by it and others in 2012.

The company recorded $26.1 million in donations on Giving Tuesday in 2014 and processed $10.1 million in 2012.

Another online donation processor, Network for Good, reported nearly $6.6 million in donations Tuesday.

Payment processor PayPal reports it recorded donations totaling $45.8 million globally. Some of this money may have also been recorded by a donation processor like Blackbaud or Network for Good as some use PayPal like a bank.

Individual gifts also increased in value on Giving Tuesday from 2014 to 2015, with the average online gift amounting to $137 this year. A few $50,000 gifts were recorded online Tuesday, according to MacLaughlin, but most were below $1,000.

Blackbaud reports online giving is up 9 percent year-over-year in 2015. With the increase in Giving Tuesday dollars, MacLaughlin predicts it's going to be a good holiday season for U.S. nonprofits.

According to Giving USA, charitable giving in the U.S. returned to pre-recession levels for the first time in 2014.

Online givers tend to be younger and online campaigns tend to bring in new donors, MacLaughlin said.

This year, several organizations riffed on the Giving Tuesday theme with online campaigns. The University of Michigan raised about $4.4 million on Giving Blue Day. A collection of zoos worked together to raise money through Giving Zoo Day.

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