Giving is Up!
I've been having more and more conversations with nonprofits who are starting to think about capital campaigns. I've had enough of these conversations recently, that it feels like something is shifting in the sector. -That perhaps the sector has sufficiently recovered from the recession for it to turn its attention to raising big money and seizing big opportunities again.
Does it feel that way to you, too?
My itty bitty data set* wasn't enough for me to say with confidence that things are shifting throughout the industry, so I looked it up. The Giving Institute recently released their 2016 Giving USA Annual Report. And guess what it says? The report reports (sorry, I had to) that giving is on the rise!
Total estimated charitable giving went up 2.7% in 2016 to $390.5 billion dollars. Individual giving rose $10.3 billion, to an all-time high. Giving by bequest was the only category that didn't increase. (It dropped by an estimated 9%.) As the report explains, however, "bequest giving tends to fluctuate year to year, primarily due to very large gifts made in some years and not in others. It is typical for bequest giving to be significantly impacted in one year by a handful of large gifts." (Giving USA 2016 Annual Report, p. 130) In other words, don't read too much into that statistic.
Here's what this means for you: You might be tempted to think it's a bad time to embark on a capital campaign because everyone else is doing it and the competition for donor dollars would be too stiff. But keep in mind that giving is going up -- for all of us. And if donors are ready, once again, to give big money to worthy causes, then that means they're ready to give big money to YOUR worthy cause. $390.5 billion dollars is A LOT of money. There is more than enough for everyone.
And that's good news!
*I'm curious, dear reader. Has your organization started talking about a future capital campaign? Have your donors given any indication to you that they're looking for opportunities to make a significant donation in the near future?
PS: Here are the highlights of the Giving USA 2016 Annual Report.