Charitable Giving Chugs Along, Up 0.9%

July 1, 2014       The NonProfit Times      

Charitable giving increased for the second consecutive month, growing a lackluster 0.9 percent overall compared to the same period last year, according to the latest update to the Blackbaud Index.

After increasing by 1.9 percent year-over-year in April, the increase for May was not quite as large for overall giving, though the increase in online giving was slightly greater this time around, at 8.1 percent compared to 7.9 percent according to the Index, which is updated monthly by Charleston, S.C.-based Blackbaud. The Index draws its data from 4,138 organizations that raised more than $13 billion in the past 12 months.

According to Steve McLaughlin, director of the Idea Lab at Blackbaud, the modest increase in overall giving is still a positive development considering the giving levels last year.

“It’s worth nothing that in May of 2013, overall giving was up 6.7 percent and online giving was up 17.7 percent,” said McLaughlin. “That means the 2014 data trends are positive considering this is additional growth.”

As usual, the increase in overall and online giving was driven by large nonprofits (those with a budget of more than $10 million). Those organizations saw an increase in overall giving of 1.9 percent; online giving for these groups increased by 8.5 percent. The one organization size that did see a drop in overall giving were medium-sized nonprofits (budget between $1 million and $10 million) which saw a decrease of 1.6 percent, though these groups did see the largest increase in online giving at 10.4 percent.

Other sectors that saw significant increases in May 2014 were:

  • Environment and Animal Welfare: 3.7 percent overall; 10.5 percent online.
  • Faith-Based: 2.8 percent overall; 8.2 percent online.
  • Higher Education: 3.6 percent overall; 17.6 percent online.
  • Public & Society Benefits: 2.2 percent overall; 1 percent online.

The sectors that saw drops in overall giving were Arts & Culture (0.1 percent), Healthcare (3.5 percent), Human Services (0.6 percent), International Affairs (1.1 percent), and K-12 Education (8.9 percent).

Despite these decreases, McLaughlin noted that overall giving is up 3.1 percent (online, 7.1 percent) for the first five months of 2014 on a year-over-year basis. “These are good trends considering this is not peak giving season and there have been no significant events thus far in 2014,” said McLaughlin.

You can view the full Blackbaud Index by visiting