Not only did the recession apparently make us smarter, its gradual recovery has also led to a boost in charitable giving.

Blackbaud, a software and services provider designed specifically for nonprofit organizations, released its “2013 Charitable Giving Report” this week, showing that overall donations to nonprofits grew 4.9% last year, the largest increase since before the recession.

One key finding also shows that online giving grew 13.5%, accounting for 6.4% of all charitable giving in 2013, which, according to Steve MacLaughlin, director of Blackbaud’s Idea Lab, fluctuates based on the episodic giving resulting from natural disasters.

In 2013, we saw Typhoon Haiyan take the lives of 6,000 people in the Philippines and Typhoon Phailin affect the livelihoods of over 13 million people in India. In the US, the Boston Marathon bombings killed 3 and injured over 260 and a string of tornadoes devastated several towns in the Midwest. These and the many other disasters both abroad and at home spurred monetary donations, typically within first 90 days after each crisis. Organizations like the American Red Cross make donating easy with their “Text ‘redcross’ to ‘90999’ to donate $10” program.

Another factor in increased online giving in 2013 resulted from the social media campaign #GivingTuesday, the charitable counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In its second year, online giving on #GivingTuesday increased by 90%, with over $19.2 million in donations processed by Blackbaud to more than 3,800 organizations.

So who was behind last year’s biggest donation? None other than Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, who gave 18 million shares of Facebook stock, valued at more than $990 million, to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

It’s heartening to hear that charitable giving is once again on the rise, giving us further proof that the economy is, indeed, improving. Here’s hoping that this positive trend will continue in 2014!