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Giving USA 2016 in a Nutshell

Have you read this year’s annual report on philanthropy? Well if you haven’t had a chance, here’s what you need to know in a nutshell. Charitable giving has reached an all-time high for the second straight year. Americans gave over $1 billion a day in 2015!

Giving USA is the longest running, most comprehensive report on the generosity of Americans. It reveals patterns and trends over time since they have been gathering this data for over 60 years. Every year this report helps those of us in the nonprofit community pause to celebrate the impact we are having…and then figure out how we can do even more.

But let me share a few more exciting facts:

• Giving by all sources increased in 2015. Individuals gave 71%, Foundations 16%, Bequests 9% and Corporations 5%. When you account for the fact that about half of the Foundations are Family Foundations, it becomes clear that almost 9 out of every 10 gifts made in this country are made by individuals.

• Every recipient category (except Foundations) received increased giving in 2015. The biggest group of recipients is still Religion (32%) followed by Education (15%).

• The charitable sector is enjoying sustained recovery after the recession. In fact, charitable giving is clearly linked to economic factors, almost all of which also improved in 2015.

Corporate giving as a percentage of pre-tax profits remains at only 0.8%, but it used to be as high as 1.4% in 2001. There is room to grow! One note: the contributions given by corporations reflected in this report doesn’t include event sponsorship money that comes out of corporate marketing budgets.

So how do you use this information? I find Giving USA to be very helpful to educate board and staff members about current philanthropic trends. It’s important for anyone involved with nonprofits to understand that 88% of all giving comes from individuals, so you can’t focus solely on grants and corporate giving. And when it comes to gifts from individuals, retention is the name of the game. More than ever before, donors in 2016 will be looking for impact and consider their gifts an investment in the community.

But for now – celebrate! Think about what WE can accomplish with over $1 billion a day going to nonprofits…

Posted in Giving USA

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