Giving USA: more of the same


Andrew Watt

Andrew Watt

Andrew Watt

It’s more of the same for giving, which isn’t a bad thing.

Giving USA 2013, which covers giving levels for 2012, was released today, and the results are what you’d probably expect:  a small increase in giving – about 3.5 per cent before inflation, and 1.5 per cent when calculated with current inflation.

Patrick Rooney, with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, suggests that at the current rate of growth, giving won’t reach pre-recession 2007 levels for another six to seven years. That aligns with what we’ve been hearing for a while now – that giving will be pretty flat with cautious growth for the rest of the decade.

Of course, there are number of trends happening within that overall small level of growth. Corporate giving surged, as did contributions to arts and culture groups, as well as animal/environmental organizations. Bequests fell, and religious giving was essentially flat.

But overall, this seems to be a case of no news is good news. Why?

Because it means the opportunities are there for charities and fundraisers, if we have the skills and knowledge to take advantage of them. We are not rowing against a huge tide, and in fact can make a big splash, but it’s up to us to make it happen. There’s no reason we can’t succeed in this environment.

Think engagement and retention. The Fundraising Effectiveness Project continues to show we’re losing – on average – more donors than we gain. And the latest NRC Year-End Fundraising Survey has some great analysis of engagement and stewardship strategies, which I blogged about recently.

Take a look at the Giving USA report and our video about it – they both have some great information and data that we can use in our fundraising. But don’t be too optimistic or pessimistic about the numbers.

We are living the situation. We know we can succeed. It’s up to us – using the resources, knowledge and community that we have developed – to make it happen.

Andrew Watt is president and CEO of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. This article was first published on the AFP blog.

Tagged in: Fundraising Giving USA Individual donors USA

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