Giving Pinched Upward By 1%

This isn’t the fundraising sector your parents and grandparents knew. Everything is changing, from population sizes, demographics and the economy.

What it all came down to last year in the United States was a 1-percent increase in off-line giving and 6.8 percent increase in online giving. A three-year trend of overall giving shows an increase of 5 percent and online donations climbing nearly 10 percent.

These are a few of the data points released today by the Blackbaud Institute, a research division of Blackbaud, the world’s leading cloud software company powering social good. The Blackbaud Institute developed the numbers from its customer base which raised $36.3 billion of off-line giving and $2.7 billion in online giving. This is the eighth consecutive year that the Blackbaud Institute’s “Charitable Giving Report” has found an increase in giving.

As with any compilation of data there were winners and losers during 2019. Animal Welfare giving increased 11.6 percent while International Affairs declined by nearly the same amount, 11.5 percent. Environmental groups had the second largest bump at 9.2 percent while Arts and Entertainment declined slightly more than that at a 9.4 percent dip. Rounding out the categories are Faith-Based and Human Services, both at 2-percent increases, Higher Education giving increased by 1.7 percent and Healthcare at just 0.6 percent.

The three-year trend shows Arts and Culture to be the only category declining in that particular database. Animal Welfare remains the big winner across three years at 15 percent. International Affairs, which took the biggest hit last year, ranks second for increase across the three years at 9 percent.

The average age of donors remained steady at 63. Retaining those donors was another story. There was a first off-line retention rate of just 27 percent and the multi-year rate was barely half at 57 percent.

The average donation in that database was $617 with the median amount hitting $2,500 and the average online gift coming in at $148. A number that should get the attention of fundraisers is that the median donation for gifts of $1,000 or less was just $20.

Another interesting number is that online giving is not keeping up with online retail, according to the data from Blackbaud, when compared with data from the U.S. Department of Commerce. The percentage of total fundraising from online giving in 2019 was 8.7 percent. The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that e-commerce sales in the third quarter of 2019 accounted for 11.2 percent of total sales. According to analysts at Blackbaud, this gap is now widening after several years of parallel tracking, perhaps because most major gifts still do not come via online giving.

Fundraising by large organizations, with annual total fundraising more than $10 million, was down 0.7 percent. Medium-sized organizations, with annual total fundraising between $1 million and $10 million, had an increase of 3.2 percent on a year-over-year basis. Small nonprofits, with annual total fundraising of less than $1 million, experienced a 2.2-percent increase in fundraising results compared to 2018. 

For more on the new data, go to https://institute.blackbaud.com/