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Alexandria, Va., is top city for online giving

Alexandria, its neighboring Arlington, Va., and Cambridge, Mass., were the three most generous U.S. cities for per capita online donations in 2009, says report from Convio.

Despite the recession, two cities in Virginia and one in Massachusetts donated more than their fair share of money to charitable causes through the Web last year.

Out of 273 cities, Alexandria, Va., its neighboring Arlington, Va., and Cambridge, Mass., topped the list for donating the most money online per person in 2009, according to a report released Monday by Convio. The list is based on the more than $921 million in online donations processed directly through Convio last year, a company that manages online fund-raising for nonprofit groups and charities.

Alexandria donated $2.91 million through Convio last year, about $20.24 per person, the highest per capita rate in the report. Cambridge gave $1.56 million, around $14.72 per person, while Arlington donated $3.02 million, around $14.36 per person. Due to the recession, the amount of the average donation from U.S. cities fell last year. But the overall amount grew, with more than $284 million given out by all the cities tracked, up from almost $240 million in 2008.


"The growth of online giving, particularly in the nation's most generous cities, shows that donors will increasingly turn to the Internet to build and manage relationships with charities and in turn use technology to help the nonprofit reach and inspire more people," said Convio CEO Gene Austin in a statement.

Breaking down the 2009 online donations seen by Convio, almost 45 percent went to health organizations, such as the American Cancer Society, National Multiple Sclerosis, and Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Many of those donations were driven by team fund-raising events, according to Convio, which allow individuals to raise money on behalf of a charity or nonprofit.

Around 14 percent of the donations went toward disaster and international relief groups, such as the American Red Cross, US Fund for Unicef, and Oxfam. Almost 10 percent went toward Catholic and Christian charities, including churches.

Groups dedicated to the environment, wildlife, and animals--the World Wildlife Fund, the Sierra Club, PETA, and the ASPCA--received around 6 percent of the donations. Finally, just over 5 percent went to human and social service associations, such as The Salvation Army, Feeding America, and the Disabled American Veterans.

The report ranked cities with populations of more than 100,000 that donated money to online charities through Convio from January 1 through December 31 of last year. The company's research has found that the donations it sees processed through its system tend to mimic online donations as a whole.