President's Perspective Blog

Giving USA 2022: Digging Deeper Into the Numbers

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Last week, we held a fascinating webinar in partnership with the Giving Institute and the Giving USA Foundation to cover the key data and takeaway from the recent Giving USA 2022 report.

Our panelists—Laura MacDonald, founder of the Benefactor Group and chair of the Giving USA Foundation; Anna Maria Pruitt, the managing editor of Giving USA; and Dwayne Ashley, founder of Bridge Philanthropic Consulting (and celebrating his 30th year of AFP membership—congratulations, Dwayne!)—were fantastic and provided so much insight and perspective. I’m so appreciative of their participation.

There was a lot to take in, and we have a recording of the webinar that members can listen to—you can find it here.

As we hit the mid-year mark, I thought I’d provide a few of the key points that are especially helpful for fundraisers, as well as a couple that are eye-opening and surprising. In no particular order:

  • Giving by individuals accounted for less than 70% of overall giving for just the 4th time in the history of the Giving USA reports. But we need to remember that individuals are giving in very different ways now, for example through family foundations.
     
  • 90% of high-net-worth donors gave compared to 50% of all donors. And mega gifts, like those of MacKenzie Scott, accounted for 5% of all giving in 2021. But we also need to keep balance in our fundraising and ensure we are still focusing on developing the pipeline of future donors even as we solicit major donors.
     
  • That “50% of all donors who give” stat above? We can’t just divide the US population in half and say that this group gives and this group doesn’t. People give one year, then don’t—or can’t—in the next, then give again in the future. That population isn’t static, so let’s not treat them that way.
     
  • The percentage of overall giving that foundations account for has risen from 6% in 1981 to 19% in 2021—almost a fifth of all giving. That’s quite a rise. (Spoiler alert: there’s a great article in the upcoming July issue of Advancing Philanthropy about major GRANTS, not gifts. Be sure to read it!)
     
  • Giving to religious organizations accounted for more than 50% of all giving in the 1980s and then roughly 37% in early 2000s, but then represented just 27% in 2021. Why does that matter for other organizations? Because the drop has coincided with a drop in participation in giving by American households according to data by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. That’s correlation, NOT causation, but it’s an important piece of the overall giving picture. 
     
  • According to Blackbaud, the percentage of giving that is contributed online has risen from 7% in 2012 to roughly 12-13% in 2021 and is expected to continue its slow but steady rise. Plus, open rates from advocacy emails are now roughly 25%. There is a hunger to be involved beyond just giving, and people want to hear from you online.
     
  • And finally, our panelists noted some key themes for the year: resiliency, adaptability and “leaning in” to our supporters. It’s all about stewardship and “dancing with our donors.” That’s Dwayne’s line, and I can’t promise I won’t use in the future (with credit of course)!

So those are just a few of the key points we talked about. Thanks again to our panelists, and be sure to watch the recording of the webinar—it’s a great tool to strengthen your fundraising for the rest of the year and into 2023!

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Mike Geiger, MBA, CPA

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08 Aug 2022 President's Perspective Blog
01 Aug 2022 President's Perspective Blog
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