November 24, 2005

13 million Americans made donations online after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

Washington (November 24, 2005) – In the aftermath of the Gulf Coast Hurricanes, 13 million Americans made donations to relief efforts online and 7 million set up their own hurricane relief efforts using the internet. In addition to using the internet to respond directly to the crisis, 50% of online users sought out news and information online, with most (73%) of their newsgathering happening at Web sites of the mainstream media. Sources such as blogs and international news sites served as important news supplements, with one quarter of those who got Katrina news online turning to one of these sources. “The internet took on a ‘do it yourself’ character for many internet users following Katrina and Rita,” said John B. Horrigan, Associate Director of the Pew Internet Project and principal author of the report. “Whether they made donations or quickly established relief sites, people used the internet as a tactical tool in a time of crisis – sometimes to provide relief, sometimes to check on others, and sometimes to post information about happenings on the ground.” The Pew Internet & American Life Project’s September-October 2005 survey of 2,251 Americans also showed that: • The number of Americans who say they’ve ever made a donation to charity online grew by 53% in our latest survey compared to January 2005. • 4% of internet users, or approximately 6 million Americans, say they posted comments, links, or pictures pertaining to the hurricanes to chat rooms, bulletin boards, or blogs. • 9% of internet users, or approximately 13 million Americans, used the internet or email to check on the safety of someone who might have been affected by the hurricanes. About the Pew Internet & American Life Project: The Pew Internet Project produces reports that explore the impact of the internet on children, families, communities, the work place, schools, health care, and civic/political life. The Project aims to be an authoritative source on the evolution of the internet through collection of data and analysis of real-world developments as they affect the virtual world. Support for the non-profit Pew Internet Project is provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts. The Project is an initiative of the Pew Research Center. The Project’s Web site: www.pewinternet.org.