GIVING USA, Philanthropy in Review

Source: Giving USA 2016 (Highlights)

Published by The Giving Institute, in cooperation with

Lilly Family School of Philanthropy

Thank you

A special thanks to everyone who came out last Friday to hear Len Moisan’s presentation on the results of Giving USA 2016.  Also, thanks to the Center for Nonprofit Excellence for coordinating the event and Metro United Way for being such gracious hosts.

We trust that you found the data informative and applicable to your own development operations.  We also hope that you are already finding ways to implement some of the strategies we discussed to enhance your fundraising efforts.

A Few Statistics

With 2015 being the most generous year ever that presents much optimism and opportunity for local nonprofits.  Americans gave $373.25 billion to charitable causes last year and that was an increase of over 4% compared to 2014.  The top five sectors that continue to receive the largest share of total giving are:

  • Religion (32%)
  • Education (15%)
  • Human Services (12%)
  • Foundations (11%)
  • Health (8%)

Specifically, all four categories of giving experienced growth.  Those include:

  • Giving by Foundations: +6.5%
  • Giving by Corporations:  +3.9%
  • Giving by Individuals: +3.8%
  • Giving by Bequest: +2.1%

More than likely your nonprofit has received support from several of these sources.  However, some categories maybe more than others, so how can you maximize your support from as many of these sources as possible? The following are a few of the key strategies we discussed.

Strategies to Consider

  1. Put a renewed emphasis on individual giving
  • When conducting capital or annual campaigns, organizations tend to neglect giving from individuals.
  • On average, individuals give 88% of the total giving each year.
  • Of the total amount given, 71% came in direct gifts from individuals.  However, individuals also are the ones who make bequests and nearly half of the gifts from foundations came from family foundations, again, controlled by individuals.
  • The most effective form of solicitation is still face-to-face visits.  In fact, 70% of the time a peer visits a peer in a face-to-face solicitation the answer is “yes”.  However, it is still important to have a full program that includes social media, direct mail, special events and more.

More to Come

This is the first in a series of blogs that will continue to present strategies that you can apply to your own fundraising efforts. The next blog will focus on Starting to Think About Some Foundations as Individuals. 

Remember, The Covenant Group is here to help you create and implement strategies to grow your fundraising. We have worked with hundreds of nonprofits to accomplish their strategic planning, capital campaign and fundraising goals.  Our associates have raised over $1 billion in our 20-year company history.  Contact us to put our experience to work for you.