Charitable giving decreased by 1.4 percent in February 2017 as compared to the same time last year, according to the Blackbaud Index, a month-to-month recording of charitable performance. The index, which tracks approximately $20 billion in U.S.-based giving, is based on year-over-year percentage changes.
The decrease is the second in three months, with December 2016 having experienced a decrease of 1.6 percent as compared to the previous December. The months are the only two to dip below zero during the span recorded by the index, which dates back to January 2012.
Large organizations, defined as having $10 million or more in revenue, felt the dip the most, dropping 2.4 percent, the third decrease in five months for the group. Medium organizations, defined as having between $1 million and $10 million in revenue, fell by 0.6 percent, the first dip in the group since October of 2015. Small organizations, those with revenue less than $1 million, were the only group to keep afloat, increasing 1 percent as compared to February of last year. Small organizations have seen increases in each of the past two months after dropping into negative territory for five of the previous eight months.
Among subsectors, environmental (8.5 percent), healthcare (7.8 percent), and international affairs (3.0 percent) nonprofits saw the greatest increases. Medical (-3.6 percent), foundations (-3 percent), and arts (-2.1 percent) organizations saw the starkest decreases.
Overall online giving increased by 7.1 percent in February, snapping a five-month streak of increases of at least 10 percent — including a 17.5 percent increase in November of 2016 that was the largest recorded by the index since June of 2013. Large organizations were the smallest climbers at 5.8 percent and have failed to outpace monthly overall online giving increases since January of 2016. Medium-sized organizations increased by 7.8 percent and have met or out-paced overall online giving totals each month since February of 2016.
Small organizations saw online giving increase by 9.7 percent. Online giving to small organizations had outpaced overall online giving from December 2015 through November 2016, before losing pace this past December and January.
Public-society benefit organizations enjoyed the largest online surge, up 12.1 percent, followed by arts (10.8 percent) and faith (9 percent) organizations. Medical organizations (-3.9 percent) and foundations (-1.3 percent) were the only subgroups to see decreases in online donations.