Friday, November 11, 2016

So, what brings you here? End-of-year giving, most likely

It’s that time of year again: the trees are bare, everything is pumpkin spice-flavored, and Americans are thinking about end-of-year giving. In the years that we’ve been keeping track, November and December have generally been our busiest months. (Hi-res graph)

The graph above shows the percent of visits that take place within each week of the year. For each week, vertical column, multiple points represent observations over multiple years. The data shown are from the years 2007 through 2015. In a subsequent blog post, I’ll be talking about some of the outliers.

Now, you’ll often hear this end-of-year spike as “holiday giving.” Taxes, however, may also have something to do with it; over the years, 23% percent of December traffic has come in the week from Christmas to New Year’s Day. (Hi-res graph)

Demand varies over the year for different kinds of charities. The chart below shows the same data as before, but now each line represents a particular category of charity. We se, for example, that , health charities see a slow build over the second half of the year, while animal charities see a big spike at the end of the year. (Hi-res graph)

In my next blog post, I’ll be exploring the geography of Charity Navigator’s user base. Until next time, keep warm—and keep on giving wisely!

David Bruce Borenstein is Charity Navigator’s lead data scientist. He holds a PhD in Quantitative and Computational Biology from Princeton.

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