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Published November 6th 2019

Fundraisers, Listen Up: When Do People Talk About Donating?

Social data analysis reveals the time of year people are most likely to discuss donating to particular causes. Find out how conversations differ between donations to education, politics, and charities.

Andrew Carnegie once said “It is more difficult to give money away intelligently than to earn it in the first place.” So, where are people today deciding to donate their hard earned dollars?

Some elect to support medical research initiatives, while others choose to back political leaders or religious institutions. And with the emergence of online crowdfunding and fundraising sites, participation methods are as varied as the causes themselves.

In order to get the most ROI on your next donation campaign, it’s important to understand the donation landscape and where your organization stands. So, let’s look at some data around how people discuss their donation habits.

Breaking down the data around specific causes and industries

After analyzing thousands of conversations across millions of sites, it became clear that there is not a one-size-fits-all season for donations. Not surprisingly, these metrics vary drastically depending on specific industries and causes.


High school alumni, for example, tend to discuss donating to their alma maters at the start of the school year in September. This is an important consideration for anyone planning a local campaign for an K-12 school (see below).

On the other hand, people tend to discuss and donating to higher education right around the time that Universities are finalizing their admission lists. Most colleges aim to release acceptance letters around the end of March, making the topic prominent online during that time. Meanwhile, schools with Basketball teams participating in March Madness are likely to see donation conversations soar as their fans rally around their favorite college team (see below).

Foundations and charities

December is the most popular month for Foundation and Charity donations.

Presumed drivers of this volume spike include: holiday guilt, end of year taxation incentives, and New Years resolutions. For any charity or non-profit organization, the end of the year is a great time to capitalize on these motivations and release a widespread campaign. Digging further into these conversations can reveal more about what drives donations to specific kinds of causes in this area.


As people prepare their tax filings for April, we can see there is a large uptick in conversation around political donations. This is when people are most actively discussing candidates who may be able to get them a tax break that next year.

Considering when people are active in discussion online is a key element to strategic campaign planning, regardless of your cause or industry. Different seasons drive different motivations, each of which is important to keep on top of to get the most out of your own fundraising campaigns.

Want to know when people are discussing potentially donating to your cause, and what might be motivating them? Get in touch to find out more.

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