Smart Thinking

Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy was released to the public a few weeks ago by the Giving USA Foundation. Like every year since 1956, the report summarizes and reports on the sources and destinations of charitable giving in the United States. The Giving USA 2013 report issued on June 18th provides data on gifts made in 2012, collected and aggregated from millions of households, corporations, estates, and foundations.

The good news is that overall charitable giving rose for the third consecutive year, totaling an estimated $316.23 billion. The report analysis suggests that the single biggest stimulus to the increase was an $8.67 billion increase in gifts from individual donors.

While there is plenty of data and detail in the full report to satisfy the hungriest of accountants and economists, there are also some pretty helpful statistics for anyone who just needs to analyze their development effort and plan for the future. In this case, focusing on the highlights of the report can provide some very helpful benchmarks for your organization.

Here are a few of the highlights and some questions to get you thinking about your own organization:

  1. Total 2012 US charitable contributions increased by 3.5% over 2011.
    -  How does total giving to your organization compare from 2011 to 2012?
    -  Did you see an increase? If so, was it more or less than the national increase?
    -  Can you explain the difference and use that in your planning?
  2. Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy was released to the public a few weeks ago by the Giving USA Foundation. Like every year since 1956, the report summarizes and reports on the sources and destinations of charitable giving in the United States. The Giving USA 2013 report issued on June 18th provides data on gifts made in 2012, collected and aggregated from millions of households, corporations, estates, and foundations.

    The good news is that overall charitable giving rose for the third consecutive year, totaling an estimated $316.23 billion. The report analysis suggests that the single biggest stimulus to the increase was an $8.67 billion increase in gifts from individual donors.

    While there is plenty of data and detail in the full report to satisfy the hungriest of accountants and economists, there are also some pretty helpful statistics for anyone who just needs to analyze their development effort and plan for the future. In this case, focusing on the highlights of the report can provide some very helpful benchmarks for your organization.

    Here are a few of the highlights and some questions to get you thinking about your own organization:

    1. Total 2012 US charitable contributions increased by 3.5% over 2011.
      -  How does total giving to your organization compare from 2011 to 2012?
      -  Did you see an increase? If so, was it more or less than the national increase?
      -  Can you explain the difference and use that in your planning?
    2. The breakdown by giver type shows that individuals gave 72% of the total gifts, while Foundations gave 15%, estates provided 7%, and corporations donated 6%.
      -  What percentage of your 2012 charitable income came from your individual donors?
      -  Do gifts from corporations total more or less than 6% of your 2012 total? Why?
      -  Compare your individual giving from 2011 to that of 2012. Does it look similar to the national 3.9% increase in gifts from individuals? If not, should it?
    3. Giving to nearly all types of recipient groups increased, with larger gains among groups serving the Arts, Culture, & Humanities.
      -  Did your particular sector show an increase? To find out, get a free copy of the Giving USA 2013 Report highlights on the Giving USA website.

    Even if you don’t usually consider the Gross Domestic Product when developing your budget or development goals each year, take a glance at the Giving USA report to see if you can put it to work for your organization. Use it to help analyze your performance, plan for next year, and train your board about the ups and downs of charitable giving in the United States.

    Won’t you look smart!

    -  What percentage of your 2012 charitable income came from your individual donors?
    -  Do gifts from corporations total more or less than 6% of your 2012 total? Why?
    -  Compare your individual giving from 2011 to that of 2012. Does it look similar to the national 3.9% increase in gifts from individuals? If not, should it?

  3. Giving to nearly all types of recipient groups increased, with larger gains among groups serving the Arts, Culture, & Humanities.
    -  Did your particular sector show an increase? To find out, get a free copy of the Giving USA 2013 Report highlights on the Giving USA website.

Even if you don’t usually consider the Gross Domestic Product when developing your budget or development goals each year, take a glance at the Giving USA report to see if you can put it to work for your organization. Use it to help analyze your performance, plan for next year, and train your board about the ups and downs of charitable giving in the United States.

Won’t you look smart!