In 2018, Americans gave away a total of $428 billion. That may sound like a lot, but it decreased about 2% compared to 2017 levels when adjusted for inflation, driven in large part by a reduction of individual giving, Fast Company reports. But recent data from PayPal shows the online payment platform has bucked that trend.
People using PayPal may not be making donations that are quite as large as they have in the past, but they’re making far more of them overall. The smaller gifts are happening often enough to channel more money toward charities—and perhaps offer a lesson for how to help boost giving overall, by making it a more seamless process.
In 2018, more than 55 million people globally used the service to give $9.6 billion to at least 665,000 nonprofits. That’s up from $8.4 billion in 2017, and far more than the $7.3 billion PayPal helped raise in 2016. Globally, users made 115 million individual gifts though the service in 2018. That too is far more than the 95 million from 2017 and 82 million from 2016. The analysis is part of the company’s just-released 2018 Global Impact Report.
PayPal has several ways that it encourages online giving. Those include providing charities with online “Donate” buttons for websites and emails and PayPal Here, which let fundraisers collect in-person contributions via smartphone or tablet. It even has its own giving fund to allow users to direct money seamlessly to the charities of their choice. In May 2019, the company enabled a new service for Airbnb hosts to share a portion of what they make on rentals with organizations that support temporary housing for those in need.