Fundraising Takeaways and Quotables From Giving USA 2013
There have been countless articles and blog posts on the Giving USA 2013 report … and here is another one. Last week, I was honored to attend the Philadelphia unveiling of the report held at the Union League of Philadelphia, where Patrick M. Rooney, associate dean for academic affairs and research at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, presented some key findings from the report.
That was followed by a panel discussion on what the report means for nonprofits and fundraisers moving forward. Joining Rooney on the panel were Jon Biedermann, vice president of fundraising products and services for DonorPerfect; Robert Evans, founder and managing director of The EHL Consulting Group; and Eileen R. Heisman, president and CEO of the National Philanthropic Trust.
Here are some key statistics and quotes shared at the presentation.
- "Philanthropy has been stuck at about 2 percent of the GDP. What's the value-added proposition we can articulate to move that to, say, 4 percent?"
- "The single biggest predictor of changes in giving is changes in the S&P 500. Thankfully giving is not as volatile as the stock market, but there's a strong correlation."
- "About 86 percent to 87 percent of total giving per year is coming from individuals."
- "Charities are facing an increase in demand but the overall growth is slower, putting more pressure on them."
- "Historically, philanthropy took one to two years to get back to its pre-recession levels. Not now. If growth continues at the same rate, it'd take six or seven years to get there."
- "Giving as a percentage of disposable income is at a low 1.9 percent. If everyone cut frivolous spending by $5 and put it toward charity, we would double individual giving overnight."
- "Most big companies have a philanthropy budget, but corporate philanthropy is stuck at less than 1 percent of corporate profits."
- "Donors think the tax caps for charity are unfair, and donors react to fairness."
- "Eliminating the tax deductions drives a wedge between the full value of charity, and the cap sends the message that charity is not important."
- "Raise awareness of the nonprofit sector. It is 10 percent of the labor force and 5 percent of the GDP. Fully deductible says that giving is important socially and morally, and that's worth fighting for."
- "I think text funding and crowdfunding is terrible fundraising — you can't steward, can't collect donor data, can't thank the donor. It's bad fundraising."
- "Over the last several years, the motivations of giving have changed. Donors want to see the difference their gifts make, the impact. They want evidence, stories, anecdotes that show what their gifts do. It's no longer valid to ask without showing the impact."
- "It's a bad sign that religious giving is down because religious donors are the most loyal givers."
- "It's frightening the percentage of income that goes to giving."
- "Donors are looking for impact. Nonprofit communications are not responding with the right messages. We need to wake up. There's no more competition. It's all about impact and messaging."
- "What is the vision of the nonprofit community, and are we conveying it? We need to be transparent."
- "We are seriously behind on retention. The number of one-time donors has risen dramatically."
- "The potential elimination of the tax detection is a serious threat to giving, and I'm very frightened that we're asleep at the switch, not pushing the issue."
- "There is still great wealth in America. Aiming for the same as last year is not good enough."
- "Every nonprofit needs to plan for today and long term. You need to build an endowment or you will be at death's door. You can never have a large enough endowment. We recommend at least five times the annual budget — used to say two to three times, but times have changed. Donors who are committed will be open to it."
- "It's a different conversation than 10 years ago. Have testimonials. The cases for giving needs to be more compelling and show impact."
- "The last five years, retention has dropped from about 50 percent to 41 percent. That's a huge issue."
- "For new donors, the retention rate is 27 percent. Repeat donor retention is at 70 percent. Getting that second gift is huge. We know what we need to focus on — retention."
- "It's very important to keep asking — no 'resting' your donors.' We have to keep asking."
- "I have a glass-half-full attitude. I think this report is enormously good news. Giving is going up, but there is a shift."
- "I was talking with a couple of economist who told me this is going to be a really slow economic recovery, perhaps the slowest ever, so the fact giving is going up is still a good sign."
- "The Internet is taking over in our lives. We need to figure out how to take advantage of that."
- "The world is now global, which is a challenge for local organizations."
- "We need be clear on how to make our case for support."
- "How do we use those crowdfunding tools the best for our organizations?"
- "We are in a really hard business. People don't surrender money in charity easily. That's why we can never be too smart about the case for support."
- "Exceeding 2 percent of GDP is big. Can we grow this?"
- "Getting depressed and down is not a way to get better. Look at the opportunities instead."
- "You cannot rest on your laurels. There's no room for laying back in a development role. What can you do to keep donors interested?"
- "If you put the cap in place, it starts to chip away — the cap starts at 28 percent. Then they say, 'Well it's at 28 percent — why not 22 percent?' How low will it go? It sets a precedent of reduction."
- "You can count outputs or outcomes. The number of people you serve is an output. Outcomes look at five years down the line — the impact. Show that. What are you saying? Think in terms of output vs. outcome."