Charity Navigator’s Kevin Scally Talks Recurring Giving Stats and Trends
Donors don’t just give to any organization. They do their research. I’ve seen statistics showing anywhere from one-third to three-quarters of prospective donors go to the organization’s website or check out charities’ backgrounds, missions and ratings on watchdog sites, like Candid (formerly known as Guidestar), Charity Navigator, and Charity Watch.
I reached out to Charity Navigator after seeing some stats on gifts made on Giving Tuesday. As you know, I’m always looking for statistics on recurring gifts, so I was really excited to interview Kevin Scally, chief relationship officer at Charity Navigator.
With his background in fundraising and digital campaigns, including recurring gifts at Smile Train, Kevin gets nonprofits and thus knew exactly what I was seeking.
He shared that with a shrinking donor population, recurring gifts can both democratize philanthropy and lower the barriers for giving.
I was of course most interested in drilling down on the recurring giving trends.
- The average one-time gift was $125 versus an average $36 monthly gift (annualized $432 per year).
- Of those donors, some 55% of gifts are one-time gifts, and 45% recurring gifts. That’s a substantial percentage, and I’m personally really excited about this.
- If you look at the trends, from January to February of 2022, there were 1,356 active monthly plans with 3,392 total gifts. During the same time period in 2023, there are 3,383 active monthly plans with 8,398 total gifts. Growing for sure!
Scally indicated that the biggest days for giving are Giving Tuesday, as well as Dec. 30 and 31 — no surprise there. Charity Navigator collected data from donors who provided insights into how much they planned to give in November and December 2022 compared to the prior year, and how much they actually gave year over year. From that, 46.6% of survey respondents indicated they planned on giving the same amount, and 41.1% planned on giving more.
Charity Navigator saw some 11 million donors visit its site in 2022. Donors can donate to the organization they’re researching via a donate button right below the charity’s star rating. That button brings the donor to the Giving Basket where the donor can give up to $100,000 via a one-time or monthly gift via credit card, bank account or digital wallet, such as PayPal and Google Pay. Giving Basket launched in 2015. Give Lively has powered the Giving Basket since 2021 and delivers the funds to organizations without any extra fees. The donor can also choose to provide limited or all personal information to the nonprofit.
This offering increased donations through Charity Navigator from $32 million to $40 million. That amount has been increasing year over year.
“Some donors use this tool to teach their kids about philanthropy,” Scally said. “Together parents and kids do the research and then make the gift together. This is where this $1 a month [minimum donation] is helpful.”
On Giving Tuesday 2022, Charity Navigator’s Giving Basket donations results increased in four categories:
- $1,141,451 raised (up 6% from Giving Tuesday 2021)
- 9,679 total gifts (up 16% from Giving Tuesday 2021)
- 3,518 total charities (up 9% from Giving Tuesday 2021)
- 2,059 total donors (up 5% from Giving Tuesday 2021)
Plus, Giving Basket donations were up 20% over the course of the year, in comparison to 2021. Only 2% of donors who visit the site to check out an organization make a gift using the Giving Basket, which signals most donors give directly to the nonprofit after conducting their research.
Charity Navigator is continually working to enhance the donor and nonprofit experience. The team is in the process of actively surveying donors to better understand the timing of giving, reasons to give, reasons to use the Charity Navigator Giving Basket and which information donors are most comfortable sharing with nonprofits.
“Recurring giving encourages donors to think about how much they can give — often more than one-time gifts — and to which causes, with the added benefit that nonprofits receive a steady stream of dependable funding,” Scally said “This empowers nonprofits to plan and innovate with their programs. As a nonprofit ourselves, we’re always looking to break down barriers for donors and nonprofits alike.”
The preceding blog was provided by an individual unaffiliated with NonProfit PRO. The views expressed within do not directly reflect the thoughts or opinions of NonProfit PRO
Erica Waasdorp is one of the leading experts on monthly giving. She is the president of A Direct Solution, a company serving nonprofit organizations with fundraising and direct marketing needs, with a focus on monthly giving and appeals. She authored "Monthly Giving: The Sleeping Giant" and "Monthly Giving Made Easy." She regularly blogs and presents on fundraising, appeals and monthly giving — in person and through webinars. She is happy to answer any questions you may have about this great way of improving retention rates for your donors.
Erica has over 30 years of experience in nonprofits and direct response. She helped the nonprofits she works with raise millions of dollars through monthly giving programs. She is also very actively supports organizations with annual fund planning and execution, ranging from copywriting, creative, lists, print and mail execution.
When she’s not working or writing, Erica can be found on the golf course (she’s a straight shooter) or quietly reading a book. And if there’s an event with a live band, she and her husband, Patrick, can be found on the dance floor. She also loves watching British drama on PBS. Erica and Patrick have two step sons and a cat, Mientje.