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Sept. 11




Effect of Sept. 11 on E-Philanthropy

Image: Statue of Liberty and New York Skyline w/ backdrop of US flag


E-philanthropy has been around since the beginning of the Internet in the 1980’s. By the late 90’s, it was very common for “donate here” buttons to appear on nonprofit web sites. However, it was unusual for those sites to actually make vast amounts of money through their web sites. Up until that time, online donations accounted for less than 1% of U.S. charitable giving (Miller, 2002.)


It wasn’t until the tragedy of Sept. 11 that e-philanthropy really began to take off. According to a study by USA Today (, $150 million (roughly 10% of an estimated $1.5 billion in individual relief donations) was solicited through the Internet. Donations through AOL to charitable web sites (not just Sept. 11 relief efforts) rose over 150% by the holidays of 2001(Miller, 2002.)


Many experts believe that the reason for this sudden boom in giving arose from the fact that Americans historically dig deep into their pockets in times of crisis. The Internet proved invaluable to those people who had never donated before, but now had a compelling interest in helping the community. Many fundraisers believe that the Internet is helping to inspire these first-time givers to continue making their donations online (Miller, 2002.)


Philanthropy Statistics After September 11 (Miller, 2002)

According to a study published in the USA Today in March 2002, donations to charities and philanthropic efforts rose dramatically after the tragedies of Sept. 11.

Giving after Sept. 11:

  • 70% of Americans reported some form of charitable involvement in response to Sept. 11
  • 58% gave money
  • 5% reported giving online
  • 73% of givers said they would give as much or more than usual to other charities
  • 50% of Americans said an economic slowdown would reduce giving.

Volunteering online:

  • WWW.volunteermatch.org averaged 20,000 referrals a month to national volunteer organizations before Sept. 11; in the next 30 days that number rose to 36,000.
  • The three biggest categories of interest to volunteers were health and medicine, emergency and safety, and crisis support.


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Copyright ©2003 Cathryn A. Outzen