Posted , by Abbie Hacker, Consultant. Topic: Fundraising, Fundraising by Sector, Giving USA, Philanthropy Research & Events.

National Giving Report Reveals Large Increase

in Charitable Giving in 2021

The Blackbaud Institute recently released its “Charitable Giving Report” for 2021. According to this study, charitable giving to nonprofits in the US grew by 9% in 2021. After a challenging and volatile 2020, the Blackbaud report finds that “the growth in giving exceeded nearly every-one’s expectations.” Even when nonprofits continued to be confronted with an increased need, the challenges of virtual fundraising and the ongoing physical and emotional strain caused by the pandemic, nonprofits of all sizes benefited from increased support.

When compared to other years following a major event, 2021 stood out all the more. Typically, following a major event, charitable giving reverts to previously regular giving levels; however in 2021, giving grew more than it has in a decade.

According to Steve MacLaughlin, vice president, product management, Blackbaud and senior advisor, Blackbaud Institute, “Charities of all sizes were rewarded for their resilience and donors were more generous than ever in 2021.”

What other nonprofit fundraising and giving trends did Blackbaud report?

  • By subsector: Environmental organizations grew by 19.3% in 2021, followed by Arts and Culture nonprofits with an increase of 15.2%. In total, five of the subsectors experienced double-digit giving growth in 2021 compared to 2020.
  • By nonprofit size: Fundraising by large organizations, with total annual fundraising of more than $10 million, was up 9.0%. Medium-sized organizations, with total annual fundraising between $1 million and $10 million, had an increase of 8.5% on a year-over-year basis. Small nonprofits, with total annual fundraising less than $1 million, experienced a 9.2% increase in fundraising results compared to 2020.
  • By average gift amount: Gift amounts reached new highs across the nonprofit sector at $813 per donation.
  • By average donor age: Over the last six years, the average age has increased from 62 to 65. According to the report, “this is an indication that the mature donor cohort has demonstrated their reliability when it comes to giving back. However, this is also an indication that nonprofits have not yet fully tapped into the charitable behavior of younger generations.”

What should you do with this information?

  • Compare it to your results: Look at year-over-year comparisons. Pay attention to changes in the data that might signal bigger organizational or sector shifts. Check out our article on metrics that matter. Consider and compare national data to organizational data when setting goals and creating strategy.
  • Stay tuned for the results of Giving USA: In June 2022, the Giving USA Foundation will release the longest running and most comprehensive analysis of charitable giving. Our team is intimately involved in the publication and dissemination of this information. Be sure to stay tuned for our webinars and speaking events to learn how the economic, and social landscape impacted charitable giving in our country last year.
  • Invest in fundraising: The data confirms what we see over and over in our work; Americans are generous. They also want to invest in success, giving to an organization that is important to them personally AND well-run and mission-focused. Are you communicating your success with current and potential donors? Are you engaging, stewarding and thanking your donors? Could you help coach your board to be better ambassadors? We have a series of articles, videos and webinars that can help you think through these questions and more.

We have seen this time and again as our country is confronted by hardship, the nonprofit sector is incredible at pivoting, adapting and delivering in the face of struggle. AND Americans are all the more generous in the face of crisis.

The Blackbaud report is based on giving data from 8,635 nonprofit organizations, totaling $46.5 billion in fundraising revenue. It is based on recorded giving in each organization’s fundraising system, reported fundraising in IRS Form 990 and matching completed through the National Center for Charitable Statistics

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