Money & Business

Charitable Giving Continued to Climb in 2014

By / Feb 5, 2015

Charitable donations increased for the third consecutive year, and small organizations performed particularly well, according to Blackbaud’s annual report tracking nonprofit fundraising trends.

Looking for a way to restore a little faith in humanity? Consider this: 2014 saw a 2.1 percent rise in charitable giving, according to data from nearly 5,000 nonprofits compiled by Blackbaud for its annual Charitable Giving Report [PDF].

That figure—and the $16.2 billion in total donations last year—is impressive, especially considering that, unlike the previous two years, 2014 didn’t have a single high-profile event that drove an increase in donations. (The report doesn’t dismiss the ALS Association’s Ice Bucket Challenge, but it didn’t have nearly the same fundraising impact as natural disasters and other events in previous years.)

“2014 may represent the new normal in giving,” Steve MacLaughlin, director of analytics for Blackbaud, wrote in the report. “An accelerating economy fueled the stock market to new highs in 2014, and fears of changes to the charitable deduction never materialized. Nonprofits must continue to focus on both donor acquisition and retention to drive sustainable growth in fundraising.”

Broken down by sector, eight of the 10 categories of nonprofits as defined by the National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities saw an increase in donations. The only two that didn’t: healthcare and international affairs.

blackbaud chart

Source: Blackbaud 2014 Charitable Giving Report (click to enlarge)

Blackbaud’s analysis found that the growth in online giving year over year (8.9 percent) continued to outpace overall growth and represented 6.7 percent of all donations in 2014. Blackbaud attributes a good deal of that success to #GivingTuesday, which saw a 36 percent increase in online donations and a 15 percent increase in the number of nonprofits to receive a donation.

“Donors are shifting online, and this continues to be a growth opportunity for nonprofits, especially considering that this growth is on top of 13.5 percent year-over-year online giving growth in 2013,” MacLaughlin wrote.

The report also had good news for small organizations, defined as nonprofits with total annual fundraising of less than $1 million. Those groups saw the greatest increase in overall fundraising and online fundraising in 2014, growing 5.8 percent and 10.6 percent respectively. Donations to medium organizations ($1 million to $10 million) grew 1.3 percent overall and 9.7 percent online. And giving to large organizations ($10 million or more) grew 1.4 percent overall and 8 percent online.

“These agile organizations are embracing new approaches and modern technologies to fuel their growth,” MacLaughlin said of smaller nonprofits. “They may have more limited resources, but their sustained growth rates over several years are a promising sign.”

Rob Stott

Rob Stott is a contributing editor for Associations Now. More »

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