Major Donors Led Third Quarter Surge in Giving

Charitable giving increased dramatically during the third quarter of 2018, making up all of the year-over-year declines after a sluggish first half of the year.

For the first half of 2018, nearly every metric the Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP) measured was lower significantly compared to 2017, including number of donors, total revenue from giving and donor retention rates.

While the same is mostly true in the third quarter, one metric improved significantly: total revenue. While total revenue was down 2.1 percent at mid-year, giving totals are now ahead 2.6 percent of 2017 figures after the third quarter.

The FEP’s 2018 Third Quarter Report compares fundraising year-to-date in 2018 to the same time period in 2017. The information from the report is based on the Growth in Giving Database, which includes more than 18,000 organizations and $72 billion in donations since 2005.

The change is especially dramatic when comparing just the third-quarter data in 2018 to 2017 (solely revenue generated in that three-month period on a year-over year basis). It is a 14 percent increase in revenue.

Data from the FEP’s 2018 Third Quarter Report is based on a panel of more than 4,700 charities selected from the Growth in Giving database of 161 million individual transactions, which includes more than $72 billion in donations and 18,348 organizations since 2005. Organizations included in the panel have raised $5,000 or more from 25 or more donors in each of the last six years. Revenue figures have been adjusted for inflation.

The FEP was created in 2006 and includes the collaboration of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Urban Institute. The Growth in Giving database, with more than 161 million donation transactions, is continuously updated via multiple software database vendors.