Donations To Occupy Wall Street Skyrocketed In Last Three Weeks


People seem to be getting more and more eager to send their money to the Occupiers.

As the protest movement -- initially based in Manhattan's Zuccotti Park, and now established in hundreds of cities around the world -- nears the six-week mark, the level of cash coming in from sympathetic donors continues to rise. And lately, according to one online payment company, it's not just rising -- it's taking off.

As of October 10 -- roughly three weeks after the first protesters amassed in lower Manhattan -- donors had sent about $81,000 to various Occupy locations using the online payment service WePay, according to data provided by that company.

But since then, contributions to the Occupy cause have quadrupled. As of this past Thursday, October 27, more than $325,000 in donations have come in through WePay. The vast majority of those funds were donated in the past two and a half weeks.

The sharp jump in contributions is no doubt related to the exponential growth of the protests themselves, which have spread from New York to countless other locations in America and around the world.

It may also correlate with police activity against the demonstrators. WePay found that on October 11, the same day more than 100 protesters were arrested at Occupy Boston, Massachusetts donations jumped by more than 400 percent.

Similar mass arrests have since taken place in Chicago and Oakland, although it's unclear whether those cities saw donation bumps following these confrontations.

Looking at the data on who's giving to the Occupy cause, WePay noted some other interesting trends.

Male donors outnumber female donors almost two to one, they found, and while 58 percent of donors have finished college or graduate school, 42 percent don't have a college degree.

Over a quarter of donors using WePay -- about 28 percent -- earn more than $100,000 a year. Another 57 percent make between $35,000 and $100,000 a year.

From a geographic standpoint, the donors seem to be widely dispersed. The average donor is about 861 miles from the site of the protest they're giving to.

Thirty-seven countries have given money to the Occupy movement through WePay, with Finland clocking the highest number of donations per capita. Other high-donating countries include Canada, Japan, Australia and the United Kingdom.

WePay said that the average Occupy-related donation is about $61.45.

Bill Clerico, CEO and co-founder of WePay, told The Huffington Post that donations seem to be driven in large part by online platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

"You see a pretty tech-savvy audience," Clerico said. "The social media sharing is amplifying impact a lot."

Polls have found substantial public support for the Occupy movement. In multiple surveys conducted in the past month, respondents have registered some confusion about the aims of the protesters, but more have tended to approve than disapprove.

Occupy Wall Street, the original group of protesters located in the heart of Manhattan's Financial District, was recently reported to have about $300,000 in donated funds saved up -- a cache that's causing some discord as protesters debate over the best way to use the money.

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