Charitable giving up online, down overall.

Charitable giving decreased 3.4% for the three months ending August 2012 as compared to the same period in 2011, according to the the Blackbaud Index. The study is a broad-based fundraising index that reports overall giving trends of 2,878 US-based nonprofit organizations representing $8 billion in yearly giving on a monthly basis.

Throughout 2012, charitable giving growth has been limited to single digits with a slightly downward trend, but this is the first time since March 2011 that giving has been negative. This was due to the spike in disaster giving related to Haiti relief work during the same period in 2010. Setting aside the slight negative (-.8%) in March 2011, the last time the Index dropped into negative territory was in July 2010.

The Blackbaud Index of Online Giving study reported that online donations rose 2.4% for the three months ending August 2012 as compared to the same period in 2011. High levels of giving to International Relief organizations in 2011 in response to a record number of natural disasters impacted the Index of Online Giving. Excluding International Relief organizations, online giving was up 7% for the three months ending August 2012.

The reports are updated on the first of each month (or the next business day) and are based on a three-month moving average of year-over-year percent changes in US-based charitable giving. They represent the most comprehensive and timely sources of charitable giving available. To subscribe to monthly email or text alerts, read about the methodology, visit