Giving USA 2014: Giving on the Rise and the Importance of Individual Donors
Yesterday, Giving USA released its 59th annual report in conjunction with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, and the findings are promising for the fundraising sector. According to Giving USA 2014, Americans donated more than $335 billion to charity in 2013, which equates to a 3 percent increase over 2012.
Individual giving, foundation giving and bequest giving all rose in 2013, and although corporate giving declined by 3.2 percent, projections for the future overall remain bright. How bright? According to the study, the fundraising sector is on track to see giving surpass the pre-recession levels by 2015.
Here are some key numbers from the report on 2013 charitable giving:
- Individuals gave $240.6 billion
- Foundations gave almost $49 billion
- Bequests accounted for $27.7 billion in giving
- Corporations donated $17.9 billion
In addition, giving rose by 7.4 percent to education causes, 7 percent to public-society benefit causes, 6.3 percent to arts and culture causes, 6 percent to animals and environment causes, 4.5 percent to health causes, and 0.7 percent to human services causes. Only religious causes and international affairs causes saw declines, by 1.6 percent and 8 percent respectively.
So, what does this mean for fundraisers?
First and foremost, it drives home the point of just how important individual donors are to the sector. Individuals far and away contribute more to the sector than any other entity, and in addition, cultivating relationships with individual donors is often key to getting a foot in the door with foundations and corporations. And, of course, bequests themselves more times than not come from individual donors who have been loyal to an organization over the years.
It's just more proof that every donor matters. While every fundraiser would love to secure that major corporate partnership and land that transformative grant, the reality is the bulk of any fundraiser's dollars typically comes from those individual supporters. Fundraisers must always focus on their donors, cultivating them and building trusting, intimate relationships to land those future major gifts — and maybe even those future grants and corporate dollars.