Charitable giving on the rise in U.S.

Published March 23, 2012

Charitable giving in the U.S. for 2011 was up 3.4% over previous years, according to one index. Photo: Genotar

While it may have no bearing on trends seen in charitable giving to religious institutions, it appears that overall, charitable giving in the U.S. is headed back up to pre-recession levels.

According to The Blackbaud Index of Charitable Giving, which provides monthly giving trends based on statistics from a database of participating groups, there was a 3.4% increase in 2011 from previous years. The 12 months’ revenue from 1,281 nonprofit groups totalled $U.S. 2.5 billion, said the leading provider of fundraising software, such as the Razor’s Edge.

The rise is not uniform across all nonprofit sectors, however, said Chuck Longfield, chief scientist and creator of The Blackbaud Index, which collects statistics from eight sectors, such as arts, culture and humanities, education, healthcare and the environment. Religious groups are currently excluded from the Blackbaud Index of Online Giving, said Longfield, “as we don’t believe the data set we have for this group is representative at this time.”

Although fundraising remains challenged, he added in his report, “hopefully the worst is behind us and nonprofits will continue to see positive growth in 2012.”

The report also noted that online giving grew 13% in 2011, mostly in the form of large gifts. Some 87% of organizations received at least one online gift of $1,000 or more, said Steve MacLaughlin, co-author of Blackbaud’s report and director of internet solutions. 


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