The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

Overall giving flat, online giving up

Charitable giving was nearly flat in 2011, just as it was in 2010, according to the newly released report, “Giving USA,” the annual report on the state of American philanthropy. A total of $298.4 billion was donated, rising from the previous year by 4% — but that equals just 0.9% after adjustments for inflation. Individual giving grew 0.8% after inflation.

A free summary of the report is available here.

“If we continue to grow at this rate, it will take more than a decade to get back to where we were in total giving in 2007,” Patrick Rooney, executive director of the Indiana University Center on Philanthropy, which compiles “Giving USA,” was quoted as saying by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. It pointed out last year Rooney predicted that a recovery in giving could occur by 2016; now, given current conditions, “he says it will more likely be 2022.” Total charitable giving last year was still 11 percent below what it was in 2007.

International relief and development organizations and environmental organizations experienced growth over inflation, while all other types of charities were flat or down. Religious organizations fared the worst, down nearly 5% after inflation.

Meanwhile, Network for Good has found online giving continues to grow, reflecting a shift from offline to digital support of charities. While it’s still a relatively small proportion of overall giving — less than 10% — it is up 20% over last year.

Don’t despair over any of this news. You can succeed as a fundraiser in this environment by sticking to what works. As the Giving USA team points out, that comes down to what has always been true: tell the story of why your work matters, make clear what the money will do, and let people know the difference they made. Do a great job on that and your results won’t be flat.

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About This Blog

Linda Lombardi
Content Manager

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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