Last week Giving USA released their annual giving report with excellent news: Charitable Giving in the U.S. was more than $400 billion in 2017 for the first time, ever. That’s a 5% increase over 2016.
Why? Economy is strong and the stock market is performing well — for now.
What we don’t know is what the implications will be for the charitable sector from the new tax bill. And we won’t until this time next year.
Before we get to the question: what are you doing with your portion of $410 billion? Let’s take a look at some of the key findings from the report:
- No surprise, the largest sector of giving (79%) still comes from individuals + bequests. And I don’t just mean people named Bill & Melinda, Oprah or Warren. I mean people like you and me.
- Corporations and foundations combined gave 21%. Allocating your time according to where the money comes from WILL help you raise more.
- Eight of nine major charitable subsectors saw increased contributions in 2017.
So that brings me to the question: What are you doing with your portion of $410 billion?
It’s not the time to be complacent if you’ve seen increases in average donor gift or number of new donors.
Now is the time to learn more about the generous people who’ve given you money, especially your new donors.
Take time, now, to know who your supporters are and communicate with them about how their gift is making an impact.
When I work closely with a development team I always ask the board and the staff: How many of you know the names and gift size of your top 25 donors? I’m often disappointed to learn no one does. In order to cause people to give again, we must know who they are AND share meaningful messages they want to hear about the impact of their gift.
3 Key Actions to Take
1. Calculate your retention and acquisition rate and keep an eye on it all year-long. Research shows that the average nonprofit in the U.S. loses 77% of donors after their 1st gift.
2. Make a quick thank you call to first-time donors. When this is done by a non-staffer (board member or volunteer) within 48 hours of giving, Penelope Burk tells us (and Chuck Longfield confirmed) you can increase gift size by up to 39% and extend giving at least 2 years.
3. Share mission moment stories about one person AND your funding gap update regularly – all year long. Telling the story of one vs. many will help you increase your individual donor fundraising.
To learn more about 2017 giving download Giving USA free highlights.