Posted , by Lauren Fenn, Consultant. Topic: Giving USA.

Giving USA Foundation recently released Giving USA 2013, the 58th consecutive edition and the longest running comprehensive study on philanthropy in America. The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, researches and writes Giving USA. As one of 40 members of the Giving Institute, and with our president as vice-chair of the Giving USA Foundation, The Curtis Group team anxiously anticipates the arrival of this annual report each June.
Here is a snapshot of giving in 2012, as reported by Giving USA this year:

• Americans donated an estimated $316.23 billion, which is the third straight year of gains and a modest increase of 3.5% over last year’s total.

• As we have seen year after year, individual and family giving continues to be the leading contributor to nonprofits. Individuals, bequests, and family foundations combined account for 86% of giving in our country.

• Of 2012 gift recipients, the Arts, Culture, and Humanities, Education (with higher education making up the majority of the increase) and Environment/Animals sectors were among those that experienced the most significant growth. This may be an indicator that donors are beginning to return to their personal giving priorities, when during the peak of the recession they were giving more to basic human needs.

Giving USA is not just a research study; we see the data as a tool that should inform a nonprofit’s fundraising strategy. The tips we offer below are designed to help management and their boards apply the study’s findings to day-to-day development operations.

• Leadership is very important; who is on your board is critical to your nonprofit’s fundraising success.

• A strong case for supporting your nonprofit will help ensure all staff, board, and volunteers are telling the same story.

• The focus of all fundraising must remain on individuals; they continue to give the vast majority of philanthropic dollars in our country.

• Corporate giving, which showed the largest increase in 2012, is more strategically driven than ever; corporations view their giving as an investment.

• As foundation assets continue to improve post-Recession, foundations should be cultivated like an individual donor.

• Government funding continues to decline; nonprofits should continue to diversify their funding sources.

• Campaigns by nonprofits continue to increase.

To learn more Giving USA statistics and how specific nonprofit sectors fared or to view the free highlights report, click here.

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