Augusta ranks last among major Georgia cities for online giving

Monday, June 23, 2014 3:50 PM
Last updated 8:21 PM
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For the sixth consecutive year, Augusta ranks last among Georgia’s five largest cities in a national study tracking online donations.

Since 2008, the Charleston, S.C.-based software firm, Blackbaud, has researched which of the country’s 265 largest cities - those with a population of at least 100,000 people - are the “most generous online.”

In each of the annual surveys, Augusta has found itself near the bottom nationally, and last among the five Georgia cities included in the report - Atlanta, Athens, Columbus and Savannah.

In 2013, Augusta ranked 202nd nationally, with $662,000 donated online through 6,575 online donations.

Though that figure has improved significantly from 2012, when Augusta ranked 236th nationally with $335,624 donated through 5,225 online offerings, the city still lags behind Columbus (7,578 online donations), Athens (11,041), Savannah (13,056) and Atlanta (140,175), which currently ranks third in the nation. The report was completed before Macon consolidated with Bibb County.

Many local nonprofit organizations speculated that the reason for Augusta consistently ranking poorly in online generosity is that Blackbaud’s study was restricted to the charitable groups to which it provides software and services for operations, such as fundraising and financial management.

Another theory is that the Augusta area is saturated with nonprofit organizations. According to data compiled by the Chronicle of Philanthropy and the Urban Institute’s Center on Nonprofits & Philanthropy, Augusta has the second most nonprofits per capita in the U.S., one for every 193 residents. Only Missoula, Mont. has a greater rate – one for every 80 residents.

“We have a lot of small nonprofits in our area that very much dilutes what we do,” said Barry Paschal, senior director of marketing and communications for Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia and the CSRA. “The (smaller organizations) do not poach too much from the larger nonprofits, but it can lead to philanthropic fatigue from people asking for too many donations.”

Paschal said online giving has never been a major part of Goodwill Industries annual campaigns, but said the charity implemented a new online donation system this year through FirstGiving.com. The site helped Goodwill raise more than $25,000 during its annual Good Boats dragon boat festival, he said.

Other organizations suggested Augusta lags behind other cities because it has fewer young people with smart phones, wifi accounts and disposable income.

Before coming to the Augusta Chapter of the American Red Cross, Executive Director Jennifer Pennington said she worked with the East Georgia Chapter headquartered in Athens.

Though she said overall giving is stronger in Augusta, online donations in the Athens area were 52 percent higher in the last year compared to Augusta.

Despite the statistic, Pennington reminded residents that all donations are accepted.

“No matter which way our donors give, we are grateful for every dollar donated to the American Red Cross,” she said.

Georgia’s Most Generous Online Cities
PlaceNational rankingPopulationDonationsAmountPer 1,000
Atlanta3432,427140,175$17.6 million$40,861
Savannah110139,49113,056$981,066$7,033
Athens153116,08411,041$631,288$5,438
Columbus198194,1077,578$686,667$3,537
Augusta202196,4946,575$662,001$3,369
Comments (12) Add comment
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gargoyle
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gargoyle 06/23/14 - 04:24 pm
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The business of charity....

The business of charity.... the good news Stock price: BLKB (NASDAQ) $35.39 +0.09 (+0.25%)
Jun 23, 4:00 PM EDT

nocnoc
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nocnoc 06/23/14 - 04:47 pm
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How has it rated previously?

Was it better 16 years ago and started to tapper off?

Has Columbia Co. (Evans/Martinez) picked up?

Also economically ARC average Wages and type of employers also have a major impact on the amounts.

Augusta ain't loaded with HI-TECH or Big F-500 firms like some others.

corgimom
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corgimom 06/23/14 - 04:56 pm
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Who cares about this? Why is

Who cares about this? Why is this a story?

GnipGnop
12744
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GnipGnop 06/23/14 - 05:42 pm
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Wonder how

majority democratic cities rate?

Little Lamb
48900
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Little Lamb 06/23/14 - 07:26 pm
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Corgimom is A Number One

Corgimom is absolutely correct. This story deserves neither paper and ink, nor electrons and space on a server.

Meaningless tripe is this story.

Butterman
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Butterman 06/23/14 - 11:25 pm
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Is this a surprise?
Unpublished

Look at Augusta's poverty rate! Plus we all know that Augusta's wealthiest citizens (Billy, Paul et al) are the ones who always have their hands out for government largesse.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 06/24/14 - 03:05 am
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Does the Nigerian Lottery Count?

I'd like to know how this company determines how much each city gives online and what areas "Augusta" includes. They are trying to make us feel guilty we didn't give to the Nigerian Lottery for Charity.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 06/24/14 - 03:10 am
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Wonder How Much He Gave?

Gargoyle, I note the CFO of the company, Anthony Boor, makes 795 thousand a year. Yep, trying to make us feel bad so they can sell us their software to get more donations.

iaaffg
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iaaffg 06/24/14 - 04:20 am
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i think blackbaud needs to
Unpublished

i think blackbaud needs to find something new and worthwhile to do besides monitoring online donations. another bunch of worthless nincompoops. what was the point of this story? if it was to make us feel bad that we aren't online donating and giving away our money to every organization with a hard-luck story that comes along, well......you failed!!! i don't feel bad at all, seeing as how i 'donate' generously every two weeks to the federal government and they give it away nilly-willy for all kinds of inane and insane nonsense. sorry, don't have any more to give away, or i'd be having to line up at the welfare office for assistance.

Dixieman
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Dixieman 06/24/14 - 06:12 am
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The reason

People in other cities go online and phone it in.
In Augusta, we roll up our sleeves and go out and do missionary work, serve in soup kitchens, etc. -- personal involvement, not just writing a check. Also Atlanta is distorted by a few large donors.

Little Lamb
48900
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Little Lamb 06/24/14 - 06:55 am
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1
Tired

I wondered why I've been feeling so tired lately. I'm glad that Barry Paschal explained that I've got philanthropic fatigue. I feel better already now that I've got a diagnosis.

AFjoe
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AFjoe 06/24/14 - 07:13 am
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Who cares

Another fine company doing feel good work-"Blackbaud". How does it make money? Surely we don't pay for such dribble. Why would anybody care. If I want to give, I'll write a check.

gargoyle
20683
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gargoyle 06/24/14 - 10:53 am
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Riverman got it ,Product

Riverman got it ,Product placement in a press release. Blackbaud needs to ramp up the sale of their software and services in Augusta.

Darby
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Darby 06/24/14 - 11:22 am
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Why is giving on-line kept as a separate and

distinct form of charity? My wife and I don't give a lot, but we DO GIVE. We write checks to St. Jude, the Shriners Hospital, numerous Disabled Veteran's organizations, etc.

Like I said, we don't give much, but I did notice a few years back that we gave more than Al Gore did. Don't know if I'm supposed to feel superior because of that though, because he gave practically nothing.

jimmymac
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jimmymac 06/24/14 - 12:13 pm
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CHARITY
Unpublished

It not hard to understand a lack of charitable donations in Augusta. Most are used to receiving charity rather than donating. Besides democrats are notorious cheapskates.

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