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Giving USA 2022: It's (still) all about individuals

The 2022 Giving USA report has been released - and there's some interesting tidbits inside.

The big headline is that giving is down by about 3% nationally. This has, predictably, launched a lot of headlines about the decline in generosity and the pending doom of the philanthropic sector. Dogs and cats, living together - the usual. 😨😨😨😨😨

But ... there's still more than $499 billion in donations. And the report doesn't capture all the other ways giving manifests - or all the other ways social enterprises are addressing societal needs. 💲 🎁 ⛑ ❤️

Beyond the click bait and the headlines, there is some good analysis out there. I've been reading some great insight from folks like Jason Lewis, Jennifer Harris and Tim Sarrantonio ... and I think the report is another example of the tension that fundraising is under.

  • We know we need to build relationships - but we also need to hit annual fundraising goals. ➡ 😟 ⬅

  • We know that the gift isn't the apex or the ultimate goal of the donor relationship - but we use dollars raised as the key metric. ➡ 😟 ⬅

  • We know that donors are looking for engagement and community but our fundraising operations are still transactional or retail-focused. ➡ 😟 ⬅

Despite the conflict and contradictions in the report, it can be:

  • A great learning opportunity for nonprofit teams (including board members).

  • A way to emphasize (and prove) the impact of individual giving (85% of all giving comes from individuals).

  • Continued evidence that Frank Hall was right when he told me that "Dead people give away more money than live corporations"

Ultimately, I think the report gives us a chance to re-examine how we cultivate, steward, and show up for our donors. Are we building an authentic and cause-based community?

How about you? What did you glean from the report?

Do you want to talk about your fundraising program - and how you can do more for (and with) your donors? Set up a call!

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