Reports Reveal Giving Trends That Can Improve Remaining 2022 Fundraising Efforts

Data from the Giving USA 2022 report and a recent survey from OneCause offer a glimpse at trends among givers that can help organizations fundraise more effectively.

As we head into the last quarter of the year, many associations are starting to consider their year-end fundraising strategies, as that’s the time when most donations are given.

Two recent reports on giving offer clues as to what donors are thinking and the best ways for organizations to connect with them. The first, Giving USA 2022: The Annual Report on Philanthropy, looks at giving trends in the past year. It’s data on 2021 givers can be suggestive of what might happen in the remainder of 2022.

“In 2021, Americans continued giving more generously than before the pandemic,” Laura McDonald, chair of Giving USA Foundation, said in press release. “However, the growth in giving did not keep pace with inflation, causing challenges for many nonprofits. In 2021, many donors returned to their favored causes, with many of the sectors that struggled in 2020 making a recovery in 2021.”

The Giving USA report also notes that the stock market recovery coincided with the wealthiest Americans making some big gifts. Donations of megagifts, defined as gifts of $450 million or more, hit $15 billion in 2021. Given this trend of more extravagant donations during times of economic gains, a decline in markets may signal a decline in large giving.

In addition, Giving USA found giving to foundations rose by 9.3 percent and giving to public-society-benefit organizations increased by 23.5 percent in 2021.

Trust and Connection Matter

A second report from OneCause, The Giving Experience Study, examines social donors—those who “participate in auction events, peer-to-peer fundraising, occasions/challenges, and giving/awareness days.” The survey found that what social donors crave most are trust, connection, and immediacy.

“While ease, mission, and impact remain key drivers of social giving, trust, personal connection, and immediacy emerged as key motivators for the first time in 2022,” the report stated. “Social donors are looking to nonprofits for reassurance that donations are being put to good use and that organizations are acting with integrity.”

Trust and connection were also highlighted when people ranked the reasons why they gave. The highest ranked reasons included: I trust the organization to do the right thing/use the money wisely (59 percent); I care about the person who asked me to donate (58 percent); It was easy to do (58 percent); I was able to make the donation immediately (58 percent); and I care about the mission of the organization (57 percent).

For associations, this study reinforces the importance of tapping into networks and connections. For example, OneCause found that 54 percent of social donors heard about the giving opportunity from a friend, family member, or colleague; compared to only 24 percent hearing about it from an advertisement, and 23 percent hearing about it from direct outreach from the organization.

The report included a few other key findings about social donors:

In-person preferred. No surprise here: Social donors are social. “In-person events are perceived as higher quality than virtual events, and attendees are more likely to want to participate again next year,” the report said. According to the report, 50 percent are very comfortable with in-person fundraising events, 35 percent are somewhat comfortable, and 15 percent are not comfortable or unsure of comfort level. The report suggests it’s important for organizations to still offer virtual options.

Donors are more diverse. Social donors surveyed in this research were fairly diverse (i.e., 59 percent white, 19 percent Black, 17 percent Hispanic, and 4 percent Asian-American/Pacific Islander). All groups had a significant share say they’d donated more money in 2022. Black and Hispanic donors had the highest share saying they’d donated more money in 2022, at 53 percent and 47 percent, respectively. This suggests its important to reach out to diverse donors as part of fundraising efforts.

Stewardship still matters. The report added that stewardship—the practice of staying in touch with donors and updating them about how the organization uses contributions—is critical. “Feeling like a donation makes a difference continues to be the number-one reason that social donors across all generations decide to give again,” the report stated. “Social donors say organizations who demonstrate impact well: show who is helped, give concrete and specific examples of where money is going, are transparent, and regularly communicate results.”

What types of donor trends is your organization seeing as the year progresses? Share in the comments.

(SvetaZi/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Rasheeda Childress

By Rasheeda Childress

Rasheeda Childress is a former editor at Associations Now. MORE

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