In Part II of this article series, we continue looking at insights from Giving USA 2019, a study of US charitable giving in 2018. (Read Part I.)

1. What you heard: Nine of eleven recipient sub-sectors saw giving fall or stay flat.

What you might not have heard: The two sub-sectors with growth (International Affairs and Environment/Animals) also have the highest percentage of online giving. Some speculate an embrace of technology is one factor in the growth. It can make giving easier, appeal to a younger set of donors, and allow a nonprofit to be nimble in its fundraising.

Our tip: Evaluate the “journey” your donors take in making a gift, especially online. Is the process easy? Do donors feel appreciated? Do you report back on outcomes?

2. What you heard: Giving as a percentage of GDP (gross domestic product) remained flat at 2.1%. It has hovered around 2% for more than 20 years.

What you might not have heard: Giving as a percentage of disposable personal income (DPI) also remained flat (1.9%) even though DPI increased by 5% in 2018. The share of wallet for “traditional” charitable giving (to a 501(c)3) isn’t going
up even with more in our wallets. This may signal a change in how Americans view “giving.”

Our tip: Donor stewardship must be a top priority for nonprofits. Donors could spend their disposable income on any number of things, and they choose your organization. Show them you are truly grateful and they are making a difference.

3. What you heard: The fundraising landscape is changing.

What you might not have heard: Some things we can’t control, but we can keep up with changes to ensure giving stays strong.

Our tips:

        • Focus on retention! With fewer households giving, acquisition is more challenging. Building relationships is always a solid strategy.
        • Talk to donors about how policy is affecting them – don’t assume you know.
        • Use strategies such as recurring giving to diversify revenue streams. Build a pipeline for the future by engaging younger donors, even if they aren’t giving yet.
        • Continue to study trends in giving, such as demographic shifts, changes in giving strategies and vehicles, and the influence of technology. Adapt your fundraising accordingly.