Recovery in charitable giving might occur faster than it did in prior economic downturns, according to a new report from Giving USA Foundation and the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. In their latest “Giving USA Spotlight” issued this week, researchers note three factors that could make the difference:
– Income is higher per capita than in previous downturns
– More people have completed college; people with degrees give more
– More households support secular causes than in the past
The report notes that foundation grant-making may take longer than individual giving to return to pre-recession levels. But thanks to the recent creation of new foundations and the trend of the very wealthy to endow foundations through estate planning, foundation giving could increase more quickly than it did after the 1973-75 recession.
Giving USA researchers also cited a study released this year by Barclay’s Bank, which said that wealthy donors view philanthropy as a vital part of who they are and intend to keep giving at significant levels. In fact, 77 percent of these high-net-worth individuals said they would not decrease their level of giving.
Even though it may take two to three years for giving to return to the record levels of 2007, remember that in any year, no matter what the economy, some nonprofits see a rise in giving. As a member of the Giving Institute, founding organization of Giving USA Foundation, we offer the following counsel:
– Look at your fundraising activities and shift dollars from those with a low return to those with a higher return.
– Lay the groundwork for a planned giving program and start having conversations with long-time donors.
– Start or continue to communicate your organization’s story to raise your awareness.
– If you typically rely on events or direct mail to raise money, consider exploring a major-gifts program.
– Stay in touch with your most reliable donors and thank them for their continued support.