Monday, June 14, 2010

Giving USA 2010 Report– No Surprises and My Assessments per Social Media and Corporate Giving

The Giving USA 2010 Report was released last week and it doesn’t have any surprises. Many smaller studies conducted throughout 2009 found similar results. But it is the largest and most statistically intense report on this subject so it is considered the “Bible” for Giving data in the United States. The report is develped at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University – a major nonprofit research and educational center.

You can read and download the Executive summary here

You can order the full report and presentation charts here
Here are some highlights:
Total charitable giving fell 3.6 percent in 2009 to an estimated $303.75 billion. This is the steepest decline in current dollar terms since Giving USA began its annual reports in 1956.

Remarkably, Individual giving only fell .4% and corporate giving actually increased 5.5% but charitable bequests and foundation giving had large declines to make this overall picture.

Giving to international causes, human services, health, environment and animal welfare organizations increased.

Giving to foundations, public sector benefit organizations (ex. United Way, Jewish federations), education and the arts organizations decreased.

That’s the objective data. Giving USA also has Topical Digests on subcategories which will provide more in-depth analysis about trends and what all this means.

My Assessments
I can’t help noticing that the categories that are increasing are for the most part those that are making use of social media and new ways of building relationships with donors rather than those who are relying on doing things the way they always have. They should take a look at what happened to the newspaper industry and wake up about updating their approach to donors.

Although I was surprised and happy to see that corporate donations are on the rise, I do have some concerns about corporate giving. Corporations are getting smarter and more strategic about their giving and forming partnerships with large national organizations. There is a move away from small, locally based nonprofits through giving such as matching gift funds.

Small organizations should not get too excited about the increase in corporate giving - I don’t think they will see it in their numbers. Rather than looking to large corporations small organizations should be looking to partner with local businesses – using the same model as large nonprofits but on a smaller scale.

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