Charitable Giving Saw Modest Growth in 2012, Report Finds

While overall giving to nonprofit organizations grew only 2 percent in 2012, online giving rose 11 percent over the same twelve-month period, a new report from nonprofit software company Blackbaud finds.

The company's Charitable Giving Report (18 pages, PDF) found that small nonprofits — those raising less than $1 million a year — saw fundraising revenue increase some 7.3 percent on a year-over-year basis, while large organizations — those raising $10 million or more annually — saw an increase of only 0.3 percent. Midsize organizations, those with fundraising revenue between $1 million and $10 million annually, saw an increase of 2.7 percent.

In terms of online activity, the report found that midsize organizations saw their revenue increase some 14.3 percent on a year-over-year basis, small nonprofits saw an increase of 11.8 percent, and large groups saw an increase of 7.2 percent. For the second year in a row, education organizations registered the best growth in online giving, experiencing a year-over-year increase of 17.9 percent, followed by nonprofits in the public and society-benefit sector (17.1 percent) and human service organizations (15.7 percent). The latter benefited from a bump in donations after Superstorm Sandy made landfall in the Northeast on October 29. According to Blackbaud, if it weren't for giving for Sandy relief and recovery efforts, giving in 2012 would have shown no growth compared to 2011.

"[In 2012, we] continued to [see] signs of a slow recovery for overall fundraising," said Steve MacLaughlin, the report's co-author and director of Blackbaud's Idea Lab. "Online fundraising's return to significant growth rates is an encouraging sign, although online giving still makes up less than 10 percent of overall giving. Looking ahead, overall giving is not likely to increase significantly until there is sustained growth in new donors, nonprofits rebuild their multiyear donor base, and overall donor retention improves."

"Charitable Giving to Nonprofits Was Nearly Flat in 2012." Blackbaud Press Release 02/04/2013.