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Stormy Weather Pushed Giving Higher for 2012

By The NonProfit Times - February 4, 2013

Charitable giving in the United States is estimated to have grown 1.7 percent on a year-over-year basis during 2012, with small organizations doing the best and large organizations losing ground. Had it not been for Super Storm Sandy last October, fundraising might have posted an overall loss.

Online giving is estimated to have made a rebound of 10.7 percent, with medium-sized organizations leading the way but all sizes showing gains.

This is some of the data from a new Charitable Giving Report, developed by financial and fundraising software firm Blackbaud in Charleston, S.C. The data is gathered from 3,144 nonprofits representing $7.9 billion to total fundraising. The online report involved 2,581 organizations, which brought in $512 million online.

Giving to faith-based organizations grew by 6.1 percent, according to the Blackbaud data. This gave a boost to overall giving since giving to religious organizations receives the greatest share of giving. Last year’s Giving USA report showed giving to religion was 32 percent of all giving by individuals during 2011.

Arts and culture, environment and animal welfare categories were the only other sectors to experience fundraising growth in 2012 at 1.5 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively. Education was up 1.9 percent.

International affairs took the largest overall hit, declining 4.7 percent, followed by healthcare dropping 3.4 percent, human services down 1.2 percent, and public/society benefit down 0.5 percent.

The education number conflicts with a recent Council for Advancement and Support of Education report that showed fundraisers for colleges and universities estimated that giving to their institutions grew 5.5 percent during 2012 and predicting additional growth of 5.8 percent in 2013.

Small organizations in the Blackbaud report (less than $1 million) showed growth of 7.3 percent, with medium organizations ($1 million to $10 million) gaining 2.7 percent. Large organizations declined 0.3 percent. Overall, it was a 1.7 percent gain.

When it came to online giving, medium organizations led the way at 14.3 percent growth. Small organizations came in at an 11.8 percent gain and large organizations gained 7.2 percent. While online showed significant gain, at $512 million it remains less than 10 percent of all giving by individuals.

The last three months of every year shows an uptick in giving. There was a huge boost due to giving for Super Storm Sandy. Giving showed year-over-year improvement in each month, with December showing a 17.69 percent year-over-year gain. The slowest month was July, with year-over-year gain of 6.52 percent.

The same was true online, with December showing a 22.4 percent year-over-year gain. The next largest gain was 8.6 percent for October. The slowest month was January with a 5 percent year-over-year gain, according to the organizations in the Blackbaud study.

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