Study: Giving Showed 2.1% Hike For 2014

February 2, 2015       The NonProfit Times      

Unless you were fundraising for healthcare (without an ice bucket) or for international affairs, the likelihood is you had a decent 2014. Eight of the 10 sectors of nonprofits tracked in the new “The Charitable Giving Report” by Blackbaud showed positive revenue trends.

Overall giving data from 4,798 nonprofits representing $16.2 billion in total fundraising during 2014 showed an increase of 2.1 percent, despite the absence of the high profile episodic events that drove an increase in giving in both 2013 and 2012.

The report also includes online giving data from 3,724 nonprofits representing $2 billion in online fundraising from 2014. It showed online giving grew 8.9 percent in 2014 compared to 2013. Large organizations grew by 8 percent, medium organizations grew 9.7 percent, and small organizations grew 10.6 percent on a year-over-year basis.

In compiling data for the report, Blackbaud collected giving data on a monthly basis over a period of 24 months, checking and rechecking for anomalies, classifying each organization by sector using the National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities (NTEE) code, matching and retrieving reported total revenue information, and applying statistical expertise to the data.

According to the report’s author, Steve MacLaughlin, director, analytics for Blackbaud, donors continue to shift online even though they are engaged through both traditional and digital channels.

“Online giving continues to be very susceptible to spikes and drops due to episodic events. Certain unfortunate domestic and overseas events in 2013 led to a jump in online giving that year. This is because online giving is the first-response channel of choice for donors,” according to the report. “There was not a repeat of these types of events in 2014 and this certainly had an impact on the growth of online giving.”

International affairs was the only category to have a decline in online revenue, study figures show.

Small organizations, those with annual total fundraising less than $1 million, grew both overall giving and online donations more than large or medium organizations. Small organizations also have a higher percentage of their giving coming from online donations. These agile organizations are embracing new approaches and modern technologies to fuel their growth. They might have more limited resources, but their sustained growth rates over several years are a promising sign, according to the report.

Unlike 2013 and 2012, there was a noted absence of the high-profile episodic events in 2014 that previously drove an increase in giving. An accelerating economy fueled the stock market to new highs in 2014 and fears of changes to the charitable deduction never materialized.

Other bullet points from the report include:

  • Overall giving grew for the third consecutive year and this points to a continued fundraising recovery in the nonprofit sector.
  • Online giving also grew in 2014 by 8.9 percent and this growth is on top of 13.5 percent year-over-year growth in 2013.
  • The percentage of giving that happens in December continued to decrease in 2014 as nonprofits diversify their fundraising programs.
  • The #IceBucketChallenge was a tremendous success but its fundraising impact did not skew the overall results of online giving in 2014.

Overall giving to Public and Society Benefit organizations grew the most in 2014 compared to 2013. Higher education institutions had the largest increase in online giving of any sector in the analysis. International affairs organizations were the only sector to have both a decrease in overall giving and online donations in 2014, according to the report.

For the complete report, go to www.blackbaud.com